Hall of Innovators

The Hall of Innovators shines a light on the inspiring Yukoners who have built a brighter Yukon with their Innovations. Join us to celebrate and recognize Yukoners who are improving and effecting positive change through innovation and transformation.

Thank you for your impactful contributions to the Yukon. Keep an eye out for the announcement of next year’s Hall of Innovators Awards nominations.

2023 Awards Recipients


Lifetime Achievement Award

Rich Thompson is a model innovator for two key reasons. He pushes the limits of innovation in his businesses every day… And he is passionate about creating environments and ecosystems where others can also innovate. We are excited to present him with the 2023 Hall of Innovators Lifetime Achievement Award for believing in the Yukon as a place worth investing in long before most others did!

Go here to read our profile of Rich Thompson.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Over the years, Yukon Brewing has supported – and continues to support – countless events and causes. Its company values are “People Matter… Pioneering… Community… Authenticity… and Keep it fun! Alan and Bob each raised their respective families in the Yukon with their partners, and still make the territory home. We are thrilled to present them with the 2023 Hall of Innovators Lifetime Achievement Award.

Go here to read our profile of Bob Baxter and Alan Hansen.


Notable Innovators Award

Anne Middler moved to the Yukon in 2001 and has lived in Selkirk, Carcross/Tagish, Ta’an Kwäch’än, and Kwanlin Dün First Nation territories. She recognized and visualized a kicksled as a vehicle for social change – an elegant winter recreation and active transportation tool of pure joy. She saw the need and potential for a Kicksled Revolution in the Yukon. The goals of this movement were to reduce transportation-related GHG emissions, change our relationship with time and the land, and improve physical and mental health in the cold dark months of Yukon winters.

Go here to read our profile of Anne Middler.


Notable Innovators Award

“Incredibly forward-thinking… a community builder and supporter… …a force for good.” These are just a few descriptors of Joelle Hogan that were included in her nomination. Even if you don’t know Joella, you almost certainly have seen her products by the Yukon Soaps Company. We’re pleased to present her with the 2023 Hall of Innovators Notable Innovators Awards for employing local youth, using local plants in her formulations, showcasing Na-cho Nyak Dun beadwork and plant knowledge, and sprinkling in the Northern Tutchone language wherever she can.

Go here to read our profile of Joella Hogan.


Youth/Emerging Leaders Notable Innovators Award

This year’s recipient of the 2023 Hall of Innovators Youth/Emerging Leaders Notable Innovators Award is a group of students who are kind, innovative, groundbreaking leaders. Since its creation, the Porter Creek Secondary School Gender Sexuality Alliance has been relentless in its determination to support change and increase 2SLGBTQIA+ safety and support in the Territory, particularly for young people. The result of their advocacy is the enhanced safety of all Yukon students, particularly 2SLGBTQIA+ students, as well as their friends, families, teachers, administrators, and the community at large.

Go here to read our profile of the PCSS – GSA.

Past Hall of Innovators Award Recipients



Lifetime Achievement Award

We are honoured to present Bob Sharp with the very well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award. Between his work developing innovative approaches to teaching through experiential learning, mentoring young educators, and continuing his transformative work in his retirement by creating cold-climate greenhouses and supporting Yukonstruct’s Makespace, Bob’s efforts have inspired generations of Yukoners.

Go here to read our profile of Bob Sharp


Lifetime Achievement Award

As a member of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, Jackie Olson has chosen to spend most of her life in Dawson City. However, the impact of her work and her innovative spirit has reached much farther. We are happy to present her with the Lifetime Achievement Award for championing economic and community development and her transformative reimagining of age-old Yukon practices as an inspired new way of creating art.

Go here to read our profile of Jackie Olson


Notable Innovators Award

We are thrilled to present Angela Drainville with the Notable Innovators Award. Theatre can be a transformative experience, for the audience and for those on stage and behind the scenes. That is what Angela Drainville and @yukontheatreforyoungpeople have done for Yukon youth. Thanks to her vision, there’s a brighter future for the Yukon’s young performers. Not only is she the driving force of this vision, but her innovative approach with this youth-driven organization generates a self-sustaining legacy of youth who become the leaders and mentors for the future.

Go here to read our profile of Angela Drainville


Notable Innovators Award

It is our pleasure to present the Notable Innovators Award to Shadelle Chambers. The submission nominating Shadelle for this award referred to her as exactly who the Elders meant when they wrote the historic document Together Today For Our Children Tomorrow. Through her innovative spirit, she not only is upending colonial systems that never should have been but is also rebuilding in their place. Her career is a master class in challenging the status quo, in leading with integrity, and listening with intent.

Go here to read our profile of Shadelle Chambers


Youth/Emerging Leaders Notable Innovators Award

Right here in the Yukon, an innovative group is approaching climate action in a new and innovative way. We are proud to present the Youth Innovator Award to the Yukon First Nation Climate Action Fellowship. The fellows, through their work and plan, are breaking ground to develop solutions for the biggest challenge of our time. They are showing us the path towards improving the lives of northerners, now and into the future.

Go here to read our profile of the Yukon First Nation Climate Action Fellowship



Lifetime Achievement Award

At 93 years old, this is Rolf Hougen’s fourth-lifetime achievement award honouring his decades of tireless commitment to the Yukon he calls home.

Ever since he started managing the Hougen family store at the age of 19, Rolf has always seen the investing potential of the Yukon. He grew the family store into a major department store that expanded into today’s Hougen Group of Companies, holding real estate and business ventures throughout Yukon.

Go here to read our profile of Rolf Hougen


Notable Innovators Award

An innovator and a builder at heart, Greg’s main goal is creating and growing a new economy for Dawson and he has the uncanny ability to bring a clear blueprint of what is needed to achieve it. His proven reputation as someone who finishes what he starts while putting his community first cements his place as one of the Notable Innovators this year.

Go here to read our profile of Greg.


Notable Innovators Award

Harold Johnson and Meta Williams turned the traditional Southern Tutchone camp Harold built from scratch into an educational site.

In May 1995, Kwäday Dän Kenji (“Long Ago People’s Place”) welcomed the public to its grounds. For more than 20 years, Harold and Meta have helped people gain a deeper appreciation for the First Nations way of life.

Go here to read our profile of Harold and Meta


Notable Innovators Award

In 1998, Beverley Gray opened Canada’s most northern herb shop, Aroma Borealis, it filled a gap in the Yukon’s natural health and herb markets with a wide range of locally harvested herbal health products that she skillfully formulated including teas, salves and skin creams–created and manufactured in-house. She then scaled up the business with an online storefront, which was uncommon in her industry at the time. Beverley’s continuous early-adopter mindset makes her one of this year’s Notable Innovators.

Go here to read our profile of Beverley


Youth Innovator Award

Shadunjen van Kampen’s historic achievement sets her apart as the Youth Innovator this year. Her trailblazing perseverance in the face of mounting odds will serve as an inspiration for First Nations and Yukon women of future generations.

The Youth Innovator Award is presented by The Western Arctic Youth Collective.

Go here to read our profile of Shadunjen.

Check out this beautiful video featuring 2021
Hall of Innovator Lifetime Achievement recipient,
Rolf Hougen.



Lifetime Achievement Award

Gord Duncan received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in building Total North Communications and for doing so in a way that inspired enthusiasm for innovation in his team and the broader community. Dan Johnson, current President of Total North Communications, and Gord’s son, Brandon Duncan, accepted the award and spoke about Gord’s contributions.

Read more here.


Notable Innovators Award

Ben Powers of Solvest, Carl Burgess, and Tarek Bos – Jabbar, of sister company ColdAcre Food Systems, received a Notable Innovators Award for the incredible work they are doing to bring renewable solar energy to the North, and to address the issue of food security, expanding local options, growing fresh food year-round, and providing all-season growing systems for northerners.

Read more here.


Notable Innovators Award

Gina Nagano received a Notable Innovators Award for her inspiring work in implementing Community Safety Officer Programs and crime prevention projects through environmental design in many First Nation communities across the Yukon.

Read more on the blog


Notable Innovators Award

Sean Secord, Co-Chair, accepted a Notable Innovators Award on behalf of Ride for Dad Yukon for being a national leader in the crusade to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer.

Read more on the blog


Notable Innovators Award

Sydney Oland received a Notable Innovators Award for her work in establishing Yukon Provisions.

Sydney took her experience and knowledge gained from building the first chocolate factory north of 60 and used it to develop and open a complete commercial kitchen and food manufacturing facility that provides other small food startups an opportunity to grow in an affordable space with access to support and expertise.

Read more here.

Check out this short video to hear from the 2020 Hall of Innovator Award recipients, and to check out the Hall of Innovators Installation at NorthLight Innovation.

The Hall of Innovators is brought to you in partnership with the Government of Yukon.