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Honorary degree citation - Lionel P. Hurtubise

By: Louise Quesnel, June 2001

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Lionel P. Hurtubise, chairman and former president and chief executive officer of Ericsson Canada Inc., a pioneer and leader who has helped build Canada's information technology industry.

Lionel Hurtubise is a champion of the information age who has worked nearly half a century in mobile radiophone, cellular and wireless technologies. A native Montrealer, he studied science at Loyola College and economics at McGill University.

Mr. Hurtubise began his career in 1953 at the age of 19 with the Canadian Marconi Company, becoming regional manager of its Kaar Electronics Division in Palo Alto, California, 15 years later.

In 1970, he returned to Montreal as vice-president and general manager of International Systcoms Ltd., at the time one of the world's largest manufacturers of mobile radio telephones. He overhauled the company's product line through the introduction of state-of-the-art technology, and was appointed president of Systcoms in 1977. Over the next decade, he lifted the company's radio communications division to a cutting-edge position in the Canadian mobile radio telephone field, gaining more than 90 per cent market share, with exports to some 40 countries worldwide.

During this time, Mr. Hurtubise was also instrumental in the development of other major international manufacturers of telecommunications equipment, including Westech Systems Ltd., a joint venture with Alberta Government Telephones, which led to the development of Canada's first cellular mobile telephone system. He was also founding president of the Ontario Centre for Microelectronics, a provincial crown corporation established to help manufacturers compete in world markets through the design and application of integrated circuit technology.

In 1986, Mr. Hurtubise became president and CEO of Ericsson Canada Inc. He was appointed chairman in 1994. Under his stewardship, Ericsson Canada has developed a winning collaborative, solution-driven culture. The company has grown more than a hundredfold, from approximately 15 engineers in 1986 to more than 1,600 engineers today. Most employees are located at its research and development headquarters on Decarie Blvd. in Montreal, 90 per cent of whom are specialists in engineering and computer science.

Ericsson Canada has a worldwide mandate for the production of a switching system that is exported to over 35 countries, and recently received another global mandate to develop new wireless communications solutions. The company boasts an employee turnover rate of "virtually zero."

Over the course of his career, Mr. Hurtubise built strategic relationships between Canadian universities and the telecommunications industry. He has shown a continued commitment to promoting education, research and development, and the transfer of technology. He has helped make Canada's information technology industry internationally competitive and respected.

Mr. Hurtubise is past chairman of the Computer Research Institute of Montreal (CRTM), and past chairman of the board of the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education (CANARTE), la Société hiriovatech Grand Montréal, Micronet and l'Institut national des télécommunications. He is a former vice-chairman and member of the executive committee of the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association of Canada (EEMAC).

Mr. Hurtubise continues to hold a number of positions in national and regional institutions dedicated to high technology. He chairs the Quebec chapter of the Canadian Advanced Technology Association (CATA), and is a member of the board of directors for the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Since 1997, he has been Honorary Swedish Consul for the Greater Montreal area.

Mr. Hurtubise's distinguished career exemplifies the qualities of exceptional management and leadership in our information age: vision, wisdom, an intimate understanding of his field, and dedication to constant learning. He is a quintessential Montrealer whose vision has charted a new course for our city, placing Montreal among world-class headquarters for information technology research and development, and manufacturing.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and an honour to present to you Lionel P. Hurtubise, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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