The 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada
Backgrounder - The Outstanding Achievement Award
The Government of Canada introduced the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1966. Considered to be the most prestigious award in the Public Service, this award is presented to senior public servants who have distinguished themselves by a sustained commitment to excellence, with an emphasis on modernizing service delivery, building the Public Service as a vibrant national institution geared to future needs, or enhancing Canadian interests in the global market. A total of 82 awards have been conferred since the program's inception, including this year's recipients.
The Selection Committee for the Outstanding Achievement Award consists of distinguished Canadians appointed by the Prime Minister and covers a broad cross-section of individuals with diverse interests and backgrounds from outside the Public Service. The committee reviews the nominations and makes its recommendations directly to the Prime Minister. To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be professionals at the executive, deputy head or equivalent levels, including Governor-in-Council appointees, and occupying a full time position in the Public Service at the time of nomination.
Recipients of the 2008 Outstanding Achievement Award
Margaret Bloodworth, Privy Council Office
Leadership, dedication, sound judgement and integrity are highly desirable qualities in a national security advisor; they are also consistently reflected in testimonials to Mrs. Margaret Bloodworth's character and career by her colleagues and peers.
Mrs. Bloodworth entered the Public Service in 1972 as a compensation officer with Canada Post while continuing to study law at the University of Ottawa. She earned her law degree in 1977. After being called to the Bar in 1979, she became Counsel with the former Canadian Transport Commission (CTC). Over the following two decades, she applied her competence, skills and leadership ability to an expanding set of responsibilities, becoming General Counsel at the CTC, Director General for the Dispute Resolution Branch at the National Transportation Agency and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council, among other roles. She went to Transport Canada in 1996 as the Associate Deputy Minister and became its Deputy Minister in 1997.
Canada was fortunate to have someone of Mrs. Bloodworth's capabilities in that position during the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001. This crisis created an unprecedented air-transport emergency that required the immediate rerouting of flights bound for the U.S. This was followed by a complete overhaul of the Canadian air-transport and marine security systems to counter the increased threat. Her leadership has ensured that these systems are now second to none.
Mrs. Bloodworth continued to contribute to national security once she became Deputy Minister of National Defence in 2002. She advanced key security policy files and pursued a closer and more comprehensive defence and security relationship with the United States. Later, as Deputy Minister for Public Safety, she spearheaded Canada's first National Security Policy, the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, the Government Operations Centre and the National Emergency Response System. These successes can be attributed to Mrs. Bloodworth's ability to create trust among security organizations with very different mandates and cultures that necessarily guard information closely.
At the same time as she was responsible for bringing together both new and old agencies to create this new portfolio, she was successful in retaining the full functioning of each in order to respond to the immediate security need, a tribute to her organizational capabilities. These and other qualities, along with her experience, made Mrs. Bloodworth valued and respected as the Associate Secretary to Cabinet and National Security Advisor, the positions she held prior to her retirement.
As Associate Secretary, Mrs. Margaret Bloodworth had a leading role in efforts to modernize and renew the Public Service. She tirelessly promoted important renewal goals, such as streamlining human resources operations and ensuring a skilled and sustainable workforce, by providing direction and sharing innovations at meetings with employees and managers from each department all across the country.
Mrs. Bloodworth's remarkable career and her role as a mentor have made her an inspiration to countless public servants, helping them to more fully reach their potential.
Dr. Steve MacLean, Canadian Space Agency
The Canadian Space Agency's new President combines the roles of scientist, leader, and adventurer.
In 1983, armed with a Ph.D. in physics from York University and advanced academic qualifications in laser physics, Dr. Steve MacLean became a member of the first Canadian Astronaut Corps. Throughout his career, he has promoted Canada's space program on the Canadian and international stage, especially among youth.
His career as an astronaut has taken him into space twice and on both occasions showcased Canadian technology that he helped to pioneer. In 1992, as Payload Specialist on the STS-52 space shuttle mission, he evaluated Canada's Space Vision System. This computer-based camera system was essential for manipulating payloads and assembling the International Space Station (ISS). Neptec, the Canadian company that developed the system, credits Dr. MacLean as instrumental in its development.
He continued to partner with Neptec to perfect a specialized laser-imaging system which, mounted on Canadarm2, allowed real-time scanning of damage to insulating tiles. This was an essential function to enhance the safety of space missions, especially vital after the tragic loss of Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003. In 2006, Dr. MacLean returned to space as Mission Specialist to operate the system himself. He became the first Canadian astronaut to operate Canadarm2 and the second Canadian astronaut to walk in space.
Vision of another kind drove Dr. MacLean's work on the ground. As Chief Science Advisor for the International Space Station and Director General of the Canadian Astronaut Program, Dr. MacLean tirelessly promoted his vision of Canadians leading the world in space technology. One of his colleagues remarked that Dr. MacLean "made me feel that I was part of something bigger than myself, something important, something worthwhile."
In 2007, Dr. MacLean became Chief Astronaut of the Canadian Astronaut Corps. He brought his expansive vision and power to inspire to his role as a public ambassador for the Canadian Space Program, helping to build coalitions between Canada's space-flight community and those of other countries.
Dr. MacLean has also used his considerable experience to train and prepare Canada's current astronauts. In fact, the Canadian Library Association has praised his direct and personal involvement as its spokesperson for inspiring youth across Canada to reach for their dreams.
Dr. Steve MacLean's willingness to look to the future will serve him well in his new role as President of the Canadian Space Agency. One of his key tasks will be the creation of a long-term plan for Canadian space exploration.
Dr. Ian C.P. Smith, National Research Council of Canada
The career of Dr. Ian C. P. Smith, which spans more than four decades, demonstrates the opportunity that the Public Service offers its researchers to improve people's lives and promote Canada's place in the world. He is recognized internationally as a leader in his field.
Dr. Smith completed a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry at Cambridge University in England and a postdoctoral year in biophysical research at Stanford University in the United States before joining the Public Service in 1967. His first job was as an assistant research officer with the Division of Biological Sciences at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). He's worked at the NRC ever since.
The primary focus of Dr. Smith's research has been developing methods to detect, monitor and treat diseases. For example, he played a central role in the development of a moveable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that allows surgeons to do imaging before, during and after surgery—making surgical procedures less invasive for patients. His current research involves early detection of cancer; he and his colleagues have found an affordable non-invasive screening technique for colon cancer.
In 1987, Dr. Smith became the Director General of the Institute for Biological Sciences Ottawa, formally making the transition to administration which, as many scientists discover, requires a very different set of skills. Dr. Smith's vision and dedication prepared him well for the task of being an administrator, and in 1992, he became the first Director General of the newly established NRC Institute for Biodiagnostics in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Institute has benefited greatly from his leadership. It is now an internationally recognized leader in spectroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging and diagnostic tools.
Under the leadership of Dr. Smith, the Institute has also become known for promoting the commercialization of technology. It has generated seven spinoff companies, including IMRIS, a highly successful provider of advanced medical-imaging devices.
Dr. Smith's approach of collaboration through partnerships with research, clinical, academic and industrial organizations across Canada and around the world has led to many technological advances. For instance, the Institute worked with the Ross Tilley Burn Centre in Toronto to develop a device that helps surgeons determine the depth of burn injuries, which results in the most appropriate treatment.
Dr. Smith's engagement in the scientific community inspires his colleagues and counterparts. He continues to add to an astonishing number of publications — now at more than 400. He participates in a variety of science-related university programs, companies, networks and not-for-profit organizations. These include the Senate and Board of Governors of the University of Manitoba, the Manitoba Health Research Council and the Manitoba Premier's Economic Advisory Council.
This involvement increases collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas, and has drawn attention to Canadian scientific leadership locally, nationally and internationally. In fact, Dr. Ian C.P. Smith's work in providing medical education to radiologists in Romania earned him the Order of the Star of Romania in 2001. More broadly, the partnerships he has established draw students and senior researchers from around the world to the Institute, continuing the process of transferring Canadian innovation and knowledge wherever it can be of use.
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