James Kenneth Pulfer, D.Sc., May 30, 1984
James Kenneth Pulfer

I have the honor to present James Kenneth (Ken) Pulfer, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Master of Science, Senior Vice President of the National Research Council of Canada and a very distinguished engineer and Canadian.

Mr. Pulfer was born in Winnipeg. He received his education at the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a gold medal, followed by a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1955.

Upon graduation, he joined the National Research Council, Radio and Electrical Division as research officer. During his early career years he had been involved in a number of research and development projects linked with national defense in microwaves, radar, antennas and solid state electronics. He later extended his interest to the field of man-machine communications.

In 1972, he became an active chief of the Computation Centre at the National Research Council with an overall responsibility for all aspects of scientific computing, from investigations of efficiency and performance of large time sharing machines, to contributions to long term NRC policies in the scientific computing field.

Between 1973 and 1975, Mr. Pulfer was seconded to the Treasury Board Secretariate as program analyst, becoming responsible for the resource budgets of the Department of Communications, the Canadian Telecommunications Corporation, the Government Telecommunications Agency and for the Treasury Board interface with Telesat Corporation.

In 1975 Mr. Pulfer returned to NRC as Director of the Electrical Engineering Division. In that capacity he developed objectives and priorities to reorient the divisional efforts towards the solution of long term problems of national concern with particular emphasis on transfer of technology from laboratory to industry.

In 1979 he became Executive Director of interlaboratory programs. He developed and implemented plans to complete the network of laboratories across the country with the objective to develop national competence in science and technology.

In 1981, Mr. Pulfer became Vice President of Laboratories. Under his leadership plans were developed for the establishment of the Institute of Manufacturing Technology in Winnipeg, the Biotechnology Institutes in Montreal and Saskatoon, and the proposed Institute for Microscience.

In 1983, Mr. Pulfer was appointed Senior Vice President of NRC.

Besides his engineering interests, Ken is also a linguist, not only does he speak fluent English and French, but also Russian, Portugese, Spanish, Chinese, and at the moment, is studying Hungarian in anticipation of a trip to Hungary. He is generally noted for his ability to learn fast.

"One summer he decided to teach himself how to play the violin. He learned so quickly and so well that his neighbours asked if the violin music they were hearing was from a radio station or recorded music."

Mr. Pulfer is the author of numerous technical publications and many major reports addressing mostly National policies relating to Industrial strategies.

He is married to Rolande, a French Canadian from Ontario. Their daughter, Suzanne, is a graduate in Arts who majored in Maths and Computer Science. Their son, Charlie, graduated in Commerce, while the youngest, Jim, is following his father's career, and is an undergraduate in Engineering.

Madam Chancellor, it is an honor and a privilege for me to ask, in the name of the Senate, that you confer upon James Kenneth Pulfer, the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.