July 5, 2012
Dr. MacDonald has had a distinguished career in the technology community in Canada. He is currently Chairman of Day4 Energy Inc., a solar energy company which he co-founded. He was also co-founded MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), Canada’s principal space company, serving as President and CEO for 13 years and Chairman for a subsequent 16 years until his retirement from the company in 1998. Dr. MacDonald was a faculty member in engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a total of 12 years prior to the founding of MDA.
He has served, and continues to serve, on the boards of numerous technology companies. He is an advisor to Canadian, US and international governments on science, technology, trade, and industrial policies. Dr. MacDonald has also served as a member of the Science Council of Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, the British Columbia Premier’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology, the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology, and the Science Council of British Columbia. He has also sat on a number of advisory committees and boards of the US government in the field of Earth Observation from space.
Dr. MacDonald’s technical interests lie in the areas of photovoltaic energy systems, advanced digital systems engineering, remote sensing, and information processing. He led the design team for the first LANDSAT ground processing system produced by MDA and was involved in the early development of synthetic aperture radar processing.
Dr. MacDonald has been awarded eight honorary degrees, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also a Founding Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Dr. MacDonald earned his PhD from MIT in 1964, a M.Sc. from MIT in 1961, and a B.Sc. with honours from the University of British Columbia in 1959, all in Electrical Engineering. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of British Columbia.