September 30, 2020

Annual Elsie Award Winners Announced


Late last week the Northern Lights Aero Foundation (NLAF) announced the winners of the annual ‘Elsie’ awards, which are given to Canadian women who have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace. Awards were made in numerous categories, some of which are highlighted below.

In the Business category, the award went to Nancy Barber, the chief operating officer of Bombardier’s Operational Industrialization, Footprint and Central Planning division.

The Education award went to Jo-Anne Tabobandung, Dean of Aviation at the First Nations Technical Institute on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The Engineering category award went to Kathryn Atamanchuk, now serving as an engineering resident at the University of Manitoba’s Price Faculty of Engineering.

The winner of the Flight Operations category went to Stacey Jackson, who flies a Boeing 737NG for WestJet and serves as an aircraft accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association.

Lieutenant Colonel Diane Baldasaro of the RCAF earned the Government category award. She currently serves as the commanding officer of 437 Squadron, which manages the fleet of CC-150 Airbus Polaris aircraft, which are dedicated to air-to-air refueling and VIP transport, among other tasks.

The Elsie award is named in honour of Vancouver-born Elsie Gregory MacGill, a woman who blazed a trail for women in aviation and, in particular, aerospace engineering. MacGill rose to become the Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry (CC&F) in 1942 and is largely credited for CC&F’s success in manufacturing over 1,450 Hawker Hurricane fighters during the war years, most of which were shipped for service in the United Kingdom, earning her the unofficial title of ‘Queen of the Hurricanes’.

The NLAF is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to encourage Canadian women to succeed in aviation and aerospace careers.

For information about these successful women and their remarkable achievements, check out the NLAF’s website. Winners in other categories can also be found there.

Image credit: Gustavo Corujo