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2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Eva O’Hanley, Electromechanical Technology program, 1986

e_ohanlleyEva O’Hanley is an example for young women to look up to in the field of science and technology in P.E.I. She grew up on the Island in a large family, where the children were encouraged to pursue their dreams. It took Eva a few years to decide what her dream was. After graduating from Bluefield High School and attending UPEI, she worked for a few years at the now-closed Sacred Heart Home. She was a young mother when she made the decision to enrol in the Electro-mechanical Technology program at Holland College. It was a bold move at a time when not many women were pursuing careers in science or technology. In fact, Eva was the first woman to enter the program. She graduated from Holland College in 1986 and worked for a year with Microtech, a computer and microfilm service company in Charlottetown. She also worked as a part-time assistant instructor at Holland College. In 1987, Eva was given the opportunity to work for CBC radio in P.E.I. The skills she acquired at Holland College meshed well with the CBC’s needs.Eva was a female in a male-dominated industry. The ability to problem solve and work independently was a great asset. Many of her co-workers still watch with amazement as this small woman handles the massive equipment needed for remote broadcasts or recording musicians in studio. Her days are filled with not only the technical part of her job, but also booking guests, bringing in feeds for stories from across Canada, recording interviews, and in the studio, directing shows live to air.Eva enjoys the interaction with the community that her job affords her and the opportunity to meet amazing people, from prime ministers to musical legends, to ordinary Islanders doing extraordinary things. Every day is different and requires different skills. They say behind every great woman….there’s a great man. Eva could not have pursued her dream without the love, support, and encouragement of her husband Dan.Eva has also kept busy in the community, coaching soccer and basketball for many years as her young family grew. She also volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society. The CBC has changed greatly in the time Eva has worked there and her job has changed as well. She now is part of a two-person team that puts together the afternoon show for Prince Edward Island. It’s hard but rewarding work.

Eva O’Hanley’s success serves as an incentive to other alumni; her pride in her work and her success truly show that there is no job too big for a woman.

Jeff Poirier, Accounting Technology program, 1993

j_porierJeff has been employed by Vector Aerospace since graduating from the Holland College Accounting Technology program in 1993. When Jeff joined Vector Aerospace in 1993, his enthusiasm and interest in learning and developing with the growing company were tremendous assets, which over the years became the foundation for a long-term relationship that allows Jeff to easily be identified as one of the most senior leaders within the organization.Jeff began his career with Vector Aerospace working in the Accounting department for three years before spending two years in Purchasing. His knowledge and expertise in accounting and purchasing led him into his first leadership role, as Material Control Supervisor, in May 1997. After just a few years, having quickly grasped the industry and technical knowledge required to thrive in a very demanding and diverse industry, Jeff was given the opportunity to expand his skills into the area of customer service.In 2000, Jeff was identified as the most suitable individual to take on a start-up customer service manager role for one of Vector’s newly introduced product lines. Within a year, he assumed the position of group leader for the customer service team. The coming years proved to be both exciting and demanding, as Jeff’s area of responsibility continued to expand to meet operational requirements during Vector’s period of phenomenal growth. In May 2006, Jeff was promoted to the Director of Customer Service, combining all customer service departments into one department. During 2007, Vector’s production planning teams were moved within the customer service group, allowing the voice of the customer to drive production priorities.Today, Jeff is the vice president of Customer Service and Technical Services, where he oversees a talented group of engineers, customer service managers, and related administrative/technical teams in P.E.I. Jeff also has responsibility for the direction and oversight of Vector’s Service Centre Network, with facilities in Calgary, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Nairobi, Kenya. In addition, he is responsible for financial accountability of over $200 million in revenues, and manages approximately 680 engines per year while at the same time remaining committed to building and maintaining strong relationships with new and current customers.

Outside of Vector, Jeff is an active member of many local community groups, including the Festival of Small Halls. He is an active executive board member of the Aerospace Association of PEI, a member of the Atlantic Alliance of Aerospace & Defense Association, and recently Jeff accepted a committee position with the Sustainment Working Group for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter efforts by Industry Canada. As a result, Jeff contributes to enhancing awareness and future growth of the aerospace industry locally, regionally, and internationally. Jeff resides in Grand River with his wife, Michelle. His hobbies include golf and watching his famed Montreal Canadiens.

Mayor Basil Stewart, Police Science program, 1971

b_stewartBasil Stewart, son of Helen and the late Raymond Stewart, grew up on a farm in Glengarry, P.E.I. In 1971, he graduated from the inaugural class of the Police Science Cadet program at the Atlantic Police Academy and then joined the Summerside Police Department. Basil worked in all three sections of the department: traffic, general police work, and investigation. He is committed to lifelong learning, and during his time with the police department, he received additional training from Holland College, the Canadian Police College, and the RCMP.In 1984, Basil retired from the police department to pursue other interests, and on November 26, 1985 he was elected mayor of Summerside. Mayor Stewart’s distinguished leadership was first seen from a national perspective when he led the forces in the fight to regain some economic capacity following the announcement of the closure of CFB Summerside. His leadership ensured that the Slemon Park Corporation developed into the major aerospace and training center that it is today.For over 25 years, Basil has been the leader of the progressive city council that has overseen the redevelopment of the majority of the city’s infrastructure, including City Hall, the police station, the development of Credit Union Place, a wind farm and other major projects. In 1989 Mayor Stewart was chosen as Summerside Citizen of the Year.In addition to being the mayor of Summerside, Basil is also on many committees. He presently serves as the vice-chair of Atlantic Mayors Congress and is a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary International. He was the former president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, a member of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities, and sat on the National Board of Directors to Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure. In the past, he served as chair of the Atlantic Caucus in 1998 and chair of the National Economic Development Committee from 1998-2000. Basil also served as a national vice-chair of the Experience Canada Board and Canada 125, and is a founding member of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. Basil lives in Summerside with his wife Gail Inman-Stewart. He has two children, Mary-Jane and Major, and six grandchildren.

On November 1st of this year, Basil was elected for the 9th straight term as mayor of the City of Summerside, where he continues his efforts to make the City of Summerside a better place to live, work, and raise a family. He is committed to enhancing the economic development of the city.

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