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
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.

Past Winners

Year Name Advisory Committee About
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."
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.