A Typical Day for . . . Jeff Stanhope
Jeff Stanhope (centre)
with Deputy Minister Peter Harder (right) and David Tobin (left)
at the Golden Jubilee Awards
(Editor's Note: Along with being an Industry Liaison and Spectrum Officer in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Jeff Stanhope also has the distinction of being Industry Canada's only employee located in the Yukon. Jeff was honoured in Ottawa on November 15th when he received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for his exceptional work with the community.)
My title is Industry Liaison and Spectrum Officer, or ILSO for short. Since that doesn't make any sense I changed it to SILO, which most people who work in one will understand. Actually, a silo is the farthest thing from this job! Here at Industry Canada (IC) we aim to please, but we don't ask others for the same. That's where I can help. Usually the unsuspecting client will come in, and after discussing the weather, will get right to the point with a focus that would scare a laser beam: "So, I'm interested in this thing, see, and, well, can you help me?"
Generally I cover all inquiries from the Yukon for IC projects such as IT Week, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Community Access Program. We also have many partners for regional initiatives such as the ones mentioned above, and others such as our E-biz for Small Biz program targeting rural-remote businesses. So, in terms of my overall duties, I find it's much easier to ask: What isn't my job?
Being at the fringe of the IC "realm," the locals expect me to know a little of everything we do. Generally our clients are easy to please but only after you have spent many hours with them on joint policy, planning and implementation committees of one type or another. There is no doubt that this position has an expectation upon it that requires a constant involvement at all levels.
Like I tell my kids each day, I push a lot of paper — e-paper, that is. Let's face it, e-mail rules our existence. By the way, I'm planning on visiting the United Nations to ask them to sanction an "International E-mail Free Day" so we only get the 100 or so junk messages to be deleted. I figure this can be a holiday bigger than, say, Ground Hog Day.
As for hobbies and other activities, spending time with my family comes first. If there is time left, I try to get involved in community activities, and, finally, when there is no time left, hobbies and exercise, although I'm still trying to get more time for the last part. I am married to a wonderful lady and we have two great little offspring; girls ages 8 and 12. The 12-year-old, of course, is already going on 18 or so.
You might wonder how I came to be in Whitehorse. I transferred internally with the then Department of Communications from Toronto to Whitehorse in 1992. It seemed pretty scary at first, but I have to say, after living in both small and large centres, my vote is on the small places for a good quality of life. I used to commute three hours a day on the Toronto Transit Commission and Go-Train. Now it's a 10 minute drive or bus ride.
Being a capital city, Whitehorse has all the amenities of a larger centre, such as great health care and education systems. Speaking of modern amenities, the Yukon is the most connected jurisdiction in the country with almost 95 percent of the population having access to broad band. Certainly everyone gets 200 channels on their dish, and if you're into "city things" like that, we also have a Wal-Mart, Canadian Tire, Boston Pizza, two Tim Horton's, etc. After living in a smaller place where you actually get to know the friendly people in your community, I can't see why anyone would ever go back to a large traffic-choked, smoggy city. Heck, good fishing is only minutes away.
The best part of my job has always been dealing with ordinary Canadians as part of my normal duties. Partnerships, projects, and management boards are fine to a point, but when you can actually help people achieve their goals, well, that's it for me. I guess the worst part is always trying to clean up my office or take a longer block of time off work — the constant churn of changing priorities and projects play continual havoc, and this isn't likely to change.
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