Excellence in Service

The Excellence in Service Award is given to AC members who perform a service that is of high value to the AC or board process. Up to five awards are made each year. Criteria for selection include:

  • The service resulted in an action that improved the economic or community health of Alaska or a region, or the sustainability of Alaska's resources.
  • The service was unique, innovative, and commendable in the face of diverse opinions, and difficult or unusual circumstances.
  • The service demonstrated leadership in conducting AC functions.

Examples include strong recruitment of new AC members, re-establishing a dormant AC, exemplary work across diverse user groups or the public, and working towards consensus on divisive issues.

Nominations for Excellence in Service certificates may come from Department of Fish & Game staff, Game and Fisheries board members, and other AC members. Members of the public who would like to nominate an AC member can work through ADF&G staff, AC members, or board members. Nominations are accepted each fall, and awards are presented during the winter-spring meeting cycle.

Current Winners

Year Name Advisory Committee About
2018 Don Quarberg Delta AC Don Quarberg is a long-time member (since 1990) of the Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee (AC), serving in various capacities including chair for 10 years. Mr. Quarberg spent many hours of his personal time preparing for AC meetings, reviewing discussion materials, encouraging other members to review the discussion materials, mentoring new AC members, and identifying pertinent information for the AC to consider. Along with his work on the AC, Don was instrumental in getting initial legislation established that created the Delta Junction Bison Range (DJBR). While working for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, he contributed his agricultural expertise to ADF&G to help guide the forage management on the DJBR. His recommendations are still being used today. Additionally, Don was a member of a working group in Delta that helped create the Bison Range Youth Hunt Management Area, one of the first moose youth hunts in the state. Mr. Quarberg also served one term on the Big Game Commercial Services Board.
2018 Barbara Carlson Stony-Holitna AC Barb Carlson serves as the Stony-Holitna AC representative to the Board of Fisheries for fisheries issues. As a representative of a small population in the headwaters of the Kuskokwim River, Ms. Carlson’s ability to navigate difficult social and political issues in a manner that supports and respects all users is outstanding. From 2015 through 2017, Ms. Carlson worked with the Board of Fisheries as a panel member and at board meetings, helping to design regulatory solutions to assist in remedying Chinook salmon management. Barbara is an excellent example of an AC leader in action. Through difficult negotiations, she never sheds her smile and kind demeanor, and always works towards the betterment of all along the river in an effort to find long-lasting equitable solutions.
2018 James Charles Lower Kuskokwim AC James Charles has spent the majority of his life serving to promote the responsible use of fish and game resources in the Lower Kuskokwim region and statewide. As current chair, his service on the Lower Kuskokwim Fish and Game Advisory Committee spans over 40 years. Mr. Charles’ service to the AC is outstanding and includes running meetings, testifying at countless board meetings, and helping to negotiate difficult allocation issues. His work on the AC scratches the surface of his contributions. Mr. Charles is a long-time member of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and the YK Delta Regional Advisory Council (RAC) member. He provides frequent fisheries reports across the Delta through KYUK radio, offers his insights at youth science camps, and serves as a guiding light for all in his region.
2018 Raymond Oney Coastal Lower Yukon AC Raymond Oney serves as a long-time, Alakanuk representative on the Coastal Lower Yukon Advisory Committee, currently as chair. Mr. Oney also serves on the federal YK Delta RAC and was appointed in 2016 to serve as a Lower River U.S. Advisor for the Yukon River Panel. Mr. Oney’s leadership with the AC is captured by his encouragement to all members to voice their concerns on issues while operating in a manner that is respectful, calm, and thoughtful. Raymond serves as a steward for the health of salmon resources and all the people who rely on them.
2018 Tim McDonough Upper Lynn Canal AC Tim McDonough serves on the Upper Lynn Canal AC currently as chair. In this capacity, Mr. McDonough provides an example for all members on the importance of their work. He conducts AC meetings in a manner respectful of all with attention to order and efficiency. He consistently keeps members of the AC and public apprised of pertinent issues. His meeting preparation includes attention to public notice requirements, recruiting ADF&G staff to discuss issues, and preparing necessary material for members. Tim’s preparation and knowledge of the resource issues is critical in helping the AC provide informed decisions to promote the sustainability of our fish and wildlife resources.

Past Winners

Year Name Advisory Committee About
2017 Percy Ballot Northern Seward Peninsula AC As chair of the Northern Seward Peninsula AC, Percy Ballot remains an active and engaged AC member and leader in his region. Percy runs organized and efficient meetings, engages thoroughly, and works in support of other ACs in the Arctic region. Percy helped create the Celebration of Life event in his home of Buckland, an event that honors Inupiaq culture while incorporating fish and game best management practices.
2017 Raymond Stoney Lower Kobuk AC Raymond Stoney has served the Lower Kobuk AC since 1991. Raymond has been a leader in the region, bringing ACs from Upper Kobuk, Kotzebue, and Noatak/Kivalina together to speak as one voice for Unit 23 efforts. In particular, Raymond was a leader in establishing the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, receiving a Bureau of Land Management National 4C Award. The C's stand for consultation, cooperation, communication, and conservation.
2017 Ray Collins McGrath AC Ray Collins has served as chair on the McGrath AC since its inception in 1976. He remains the leader behind the McGrath AC and serves as a voice for the Upper Kuskokwim River. In that time, Ray was a force behind several initiatives including the Upper Kuskokwim Controlled Use Area (an effort that mitigated user conflicts between boat and aircraft hunters), an intensive management program that significantly increased the number of moose, and the establishment of a winter sheep hunt in Unit 19C. Not only does Ray work with the state's management system, he is also on the Kuskokwim Salmon Working Group, the Western Interior Federal Subsistence RAC, and the McGrath area intensive management committee.
2017 Virgil Umphenour Fairbanks AC Virgil Umphenour is a dedicated and tireless supporter for fish and game interests in his region. Virgil has served on the Fairbanks Advisory Committee since 2004 follow a lengthy term on the Board of Fisheries. Virgil's contributions include work on the Yukon salmon treaty, contributions to younger Alaskans, and efforts in the federal arena.
2017 David Osterback Sand Point AC David Osterback has been on the Sand Point AC since its inception. David is noted for his ability to mediate difficult issues among the three commercial gear types (set, drift, and seine) in the area, offering a humble and modest demeanor which has led to his successful representation of the advisory committee's recommendations before the Board.
2016 The GASH Advisory Committee GASH AC With dedication, perseverance, and leadership, the GASH AC transformed a vision of re-introducing wood bison into a reality. The AC was critical to bringing together tribal, state and federal entities to ensure the bison's release. The bison will provide an alternate meat source, stimulate local economies and provide educational opportunities.
2016 Dave Martin & Steve Vanek Central Peninsula AC Serving as chair and secretary of the AC, respectively, Mr. Martin & Mr. Vanek have volunteered vast knowledge of resources, a commitment to participation, and immeasurable time and energy advocating sound management for a combined 60+ years.
2016 Frank Kelty Unalaska/Dutch Harbor AC Through 35 years of service, Mr. Kelty has been critical to the Unalaska AC, revitalizing it in 2001 and serving as chair ever since. He has long led community participation to improve resources throughout the region and has been instrumental in support of the Pacific cod fishery and protecting salmon and halibut stocks for local users.
2016 Pete Schaeffer Kotzebue AC ADF&G biologist Jim Dau testifies that "Pete has contributed more to the AC system in Unit 23 than anyone else I've worked with since arriving here in 1988." Over the course of more than 30 years of service, many as chair, Mr. Schaeffer has been instrumental in the regulatory process throughout the region, including Unit 23 subsistence wildlife management.
2016 Jehnifer Ehmann Mat Valley AC As the Mat Valley AC chair, Ms. Ehmann has demonstrated leadership through contentious issues and advocacy for protecting resources in the Mat-Su rivers. She has also been the energy behind the AC's efforts to build local participation in fish & game issues, including promoting the AC system at local events.
2015 Alex Whiting Kotzebue Sound AC Alex Whiting has served on the Kotzebue Sound AC since 1999. He wrote language for a Board of Game generated proposal in 2014 to address an important issue to many residents of the area concerning the use of snow machines to position a hunter for taking wolves and wolverine. Alex has served as AC secretary and effectively communicates recommendations to the board and takes action when appropriate to assist his committee. Alex engages with ADF&G staff on resource issues to become better informed, and with a science background, he contributes to research ADF&G efforts.
2015 Cyrus Harris Kotzebue Sound AC Cyrus Harris has served on the Kotzebue Sound AC since 2011. Cyrus demonstrated a high level of initiative to engage local IRA in the advisory committee and board process. In 2014, he contacted every IRA in the Northwest Arctic Borough to encourage comments to the Board of Game on a proposal concerning the use of snow machines for taking wolves and wolverines, which was an important issue to the local residents. Cyrus testified on behalf of three different entities at the 2015 Board of Game in Kotzebue, professionally representing himself, the Kotzebue Sound AC, and the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group. Cyrus is always available for comments during meetings and actively engages with department staff and gives valuable insight from a local perspective.
2015 Eric Jordan Sitka AC Eric Jordan has been involved in the AC process since 1976, including 8 years as secretary, 6 years as Chair, and 6 more years as secretary (cumulative). He has been active in fisheries and conservation politics since the early 1970s. Eric facilitated several local fisheries collaborations in Sitka, including the Sitka Halibut Local Area Management Plan and the Redoubt Lake Sockeye Management Plan. The latter won the Forest Service's 2003 Rise to the Future Collaborative Aquatic Resource Stewardship award. As Chair, he was the first to move open seats to designated seats. As a result, other ACs today use designated seats to create a balance of representation for user groups. Eric also authored a primer on "How to propose a change to an Alaskan fisheries management regulation," a step-by-step guide to the process that starts with research, continues with the writing the proposal, and finishes with "be sure to check the Proposal Book for insertion and accuracy."