Family Vision Centre: Helping the North See Clearly
Family Vision Centre is a privately owned company based in Yellowknife. The company was built and continues to run based on the vision of founder Paul Tanner. Paul moved to the North as a child in 1968. He began his career in the ophthalmic field in 1980, as one of the first students to be selected to complete the ophthalmic technician training program through the Stanton Territorial Hospital.
After achieving the designation of Ophthalmic Technician in 1982, he spent the following eleven years working and travelling in the North as a staff technician for Stanton’s Department of Ophthalmology. It was during these years of traveling and working throughout Nunavut and the Northwest Territories that he envisioned a company that was completely northern owned and operated, solely serving the Territories.
In the fall of 1993, Paul resigned from his position with Stanton and opened the first clinic in the North dedicated to contact lens fitting. While running the newly opened contact lens clinic, Paul completed the optician's course with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. In 1995, he expanded the company to include the provision of all manner of eyewear, as well as a full service lens finishing laboratory.
In 1998, the company was relocated to its current location on Range Lake Road, and renamed Family Vision Centre. Early in the spring, the company was awarded the optical service contracts for the Mackenzie and Inuvik regions of Northwest Territories. Through the store and Paul's travel contracts, we were able to enhance and develop skills from the optical perspective.
In 2003, Paul once again expanded and was able to take over the services for the Kitikmeot region until 2004.
In 2006, after ten years of traveling and education, Sheri Dunne took over the role of financial officer in all aspects of the organization. As of October 1, 2014 she is full owner of the company, overseeing every aspect of operations.
Today we strive to maintain the legacy Paul Tanner worked so hard to build. He had a vision for a northern company, built for and dedicated to serving the North and we continually work to provide the excellent customer service Paul would have provided himself. As such, we have taken his company and created the largest supplier of optical goods and services North of Grand Prairie, Alberta, with over 18,000 current clients spread across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Meet Our Team
Currently our team consists of five local staff members who have all received their training here in the North. It is our mandate to ensure that all our staff receives the highest standard of training to better provide exceptional customer service. We believe that it is each and every staff member’s responsibility to educate our clients on all aspects of their eyewear choices, guaranteeing that each client receives the best possible product for their individual needs. To this end, we have quarterly training, so we can incorporate the newest technologies and procedures in anticipation of changing client needs.
Sheri Dunne: Certified Ophthalmic Dispenser, President
Sheri began her career in the optical industry in 1996. Over the last eighteen years she has worked her way up from optician’s assistant to president. Through her love of the north and all it has to offer, she has developed a level of respect amongst her employees, with clients and with the employees of the respective Health Boards we partner with. Having amassed a wealth of experience through almost two decades of working and traveling, she now dedicates her time to running the company and ensuring her employees benefit from her vast knowledge.
Jamie McQueen: Certified Ophthalmic Dispenser, Office Manager, Contact Lens Fitter
Jamie, born in Yellowknife, has been a member of the Family Vision Centre team since 2008. She became the number one traveler and was eventually trained as our primary contact lens fitter. Today she is responsible for management of daily operations at Family Vision Centre, as well as contact lens appointments. Jamie’s attention to detail and proactive nature results in excellent quality service in a timely manner.
Matthew Gordon: Certified Ophthalmic Dispenser, Travelling Optician, Contact Lens Fitter
Matthew, originally from Ontario, has travelled to many parts of the world. Living and travelling throughout the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, he is now a proud resident of Yellowknife. As an optician and contact lens fitter, one of the most rewarding parts of his job is helping clients achieve their best possible vision— making their world crystal clear.
Devon Stewart: Certified Ophthalmic Dispenser, Lab Manager
Devon has been our lab manager since 2012. She came to us after moving from Nova Scotia and has since become one of our best assets. She runs the lab in a meticulous manner, ensuring the highest quality from not only herself, but all of the employees she oversees in the lab. She has also been willing to work on the floor when necessary, as well as jumping in to travel when needed.
Janel O’Connor: Certified Ophthalmic Dispenser, Travelling Optician
Janel, a recent Yellowknife resident, has been working as an optician for the last 6 years on both coasts of Canada. Originally from Nova Scotia, she has also explored the west coast of British Columbia where she studied to be a Dispensing Optician at Douglas College. Dabbling in all parts of the process- helping clients, working in the lab and repairing eyewear, she is passionate about her job and loves travelling to all of the communities.