Scientist, Engineer, Professor and Businessman, John S. MacDonald was born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia in 1936. Dr. MacDonald received his early education in the British Columbia school system and entered the University of British Columbia in 1954. After graduating with honours in Electrical Engineering in 1959, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a Masters Degree in 1961 and a Ph.D. in 1964.
Dr. MacDonald's early career was in academic life, first at M.I.T. and subsequently on his return to the University of British Columbia. During this period, Dr. MacDonald distinguished himself as a teacher and researcher, receiving the C.E. Tucker Teaching Award from M.I.T. Dr. MacDonald is currently Adjunct Professor of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University.
While his research and publishing career has continued until the present time, most of Dr. MacDonald's research and technical work took place in the company he helped found, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., one of Canada's most successful firms in the area of aerospace and remote sensing. Dr. MacDonald served MacDonald Dettwiler as President and Chief Executive Officer until September of 1982 and continues as Chairman of the Board.
Dr. MacDonald's professional and scientific interests lie in the areas of advanced digital systems engineering, remote sensing, image processing and machine vision; areas in which he has authored several publications. He led the design team for the first LANDSAT ground processing system produced by his company and was involved in the early development of synthetic aperture radar processing at MacDonald Dettwiler. More recently, Dr. MacDonald's technical and scientific activities have been in the areas of advanced sensor systems and the applications of remote sensing, with particular emphasis on data handling techniques, especially the use of integrated data sets as a means of increasing our ability to extract useful information from remotely sensed data.
Dr. MacDonald is also active in the public sector. To list only a few examples, he currently serves as Chairman of the Canadian Advisory Council on Remote Sensing, the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology, the Defense Industrial Preparedness Advisory Committee and on the Boards of several similar groups in his home province of British Columbia.
In the industrial sector, Dr. MacDonald served as a Director of Kodak Remote Sensing Inc., is currently Chairman of the Space Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association.
Dr. MacDonald is a registered Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute.
Truly, Dr. John S. MacDonald is one of Canada's leading engineers and scientists and, is an exemplary model of an individual who can marry science, technology and business acumen in order to contribute at the highest level both to scientific progress and to the economic development of Canada.