He’s a quiet leader, but the world is hearing about him.

DJ Lafrance, the Aviation Technical Project Manager for STARS, was named the Mechanic of the Year for 2017 with the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), a worldwide organization with about 300 members.

“I’m really humbled and honoured, and I really appreciate all the work that people have done on my behalf to nominate me for this award,” said Lafrance.

He was recognized for a wide range of behind-the-scenes work that involved education, training, and equipment preparedness.

“He was chosen for this award not only for his safety and training initiatives within the program,” said AAMS membership director Elena Sierra, “but how he has promoted safety and modification and training outside of STARS as well.

“Folks forget sometimes that AAMS is not just a U.S.-based association. We are worldwide, so it’s great to have a Canadian win this award.”

STARS Base Director Corinne Edwards was one of the people working on his nomination. She said one of Lafrance’s greatest strengths is how well he builds relationships with partner agencies and is able to distill information in its simplest form.

“It’s not just about turning the wrenches and doing the screws,” she said. “He really has an ability to ensure understanding and compliance with all of the aviation and safety regulations, and really be that go-to guy who can break down all the technical terms and help us understand why we need to do what we need to do to keep things safe. He really makes it make sense for people.”

For Lafrance, it’s just part of enjoying his work.

“The great thing about STARS is, it’s about the mission.” he said. “You’re contributing to helping other people. It feels good to be part of that.”

He was quick to credit the rest of the STARS crew.

“I’m so grateful for AAMS to give me this award, and it’s really for the whole organization, because it’s just a culture that we’re really growing here. I’m really proud of that.”