Ivan Fellegi, former chief statistician for Canada, is one of the recipients of this year’s Public Service Awards for Excellence. Fellegi held the top statistician job in Canada for 23 of his 60 years in public service, fiercely guarding his agency’s independence from government influence.

Kathryn May tells us more about Fellegi in this report from iPolitics:

Fellegi, 83, is regarded as one of the key builders of Statistics Canada, which also marks its 100th anniversary this year. It opened as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics in 1918 with 100 employees in downtown Ottawa.

As a youth, Fellegi aspired to be a poet in his native Hungary, but decided to study mathematics before fleeing to Canada where he landed a job at StatCan in 1957 as a chief methodologist. He became the agency’s chief statistician in 1985 and formally retired in 2008 – as the longest serving deputy minister in government but not the longest serving chief statistician. The first Dominion statistician, Robert H. Coats, held the job for 25 years. Fellegi still drops by StatCan a few times a week to meet with employees who may want his advice or consult with him.

Fellegi has received a long list of awards for his work from around the world, including six honorary doctorate degrees and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.