Dr Joe Johnson has completed two periods of service with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, firstly as an Officer-in-Charge at Casey in 1980 and in the same role but with a change in title to Station Leader at Davis in 1998.
He distinguished himself as a strong and fair leader whose exemplary personal example and ability to deal with issues quickly and decisively played a major role in maintaining acceptable standards of behaviour. This ensured that work programs were achieved and community life was harmonious and effective.
He worked tirelessly at maintaining community harmony and contributed countless hours of his personal time and effort into dealing with expeditioners individually to ensure their needs were met and that they understood the reason for decisions or actions taken.
Joe demonstrated very strong leadership skills in maintaining Antarctic Division policy on safety management and successfully completing both his expeditions without major incident. The time and effort he devoted to undertaking and completing the station safety audit at Davis in 1998 and the quality of the reports produced was above the normal requirement and represented an outstanding achievement.
He displayed exceptional liaison skills in conducting relations with the Chinese and Russian Antarctic programs at their respective stations in the Davis region, bringing great credit to Australia’s international reputation. In all dealings as a Station Leader he displayed outstanding leadership and management qualities and an equally caring attitude for the needs of expeditioners and did so in a manner that earned him their respect and confidence.
On completion of Antarctic service Dr Johnson was employed by the Antarctic Division in 1999 to work on a project team to examine the feasibility of the introduction of an air transport system to support Australia’s Antarctic program. His experience with aircraft operations at Casey and Davis stations and his detailed knowledge of logistics and the topography and weather conditions at Casey station were invaluable to the completion of the project. His skills in research and preparation of supporting documentation played a significant role in the government’s ultimate decision to endorse further work on the project.
In 2000 Dr Johnson was again employed by the Antarctic Division to work with the Assistant Director Operations on a review of the future directions for the Operations Branch. Again his specialised knowledge and skills in research and preparation of supporting documentation were invaluable in progressing the review.
Dr Johnson has made an outstanding contribution toward enhancing Australia’s Antarctic Program both as a station leader in Antarctica and as a head office employee of the Antarctic Division.