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Honorary degree citation - Robert A. Walsh

By: Martin D. Pugh, November 2009

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Robert Walsh, innovative engineer, inventor and entrepreneur.

Crime shows have captured the imagination of millions of people, offering viewers a sneak peek of life inside a forensic lab. Robert Walsh is the man who helped create one of the most critical innovations used every day on those shows and in real life. His Integrated Ballistic Identification System or IBIS has changed the way crimes committed with firearms are investigated and solved in over 48 countries. In short, his pioneering work has helped make the world a safer place.

Mr. Walsh didn’t start out in the criminal justice sector. He’s an engineer by trade. After graduating from Loyola College in 1963, he went on to study mechanical engineering at McGill.

He founded Walsh Process Control in 1969 to specialize in the application of automation and process control technologies to increase profitability in manufacturing.

In 1991, he took a leap of faith. His started a pilot research project to automate the process of matching spent bullets and cartridge cases to the weapon from which it was fired. His efforts paid off.

A year later, he started a new company, Forensic Technology, to focus on his newly development passion, crime-solving technology. The Montreal-based enterprise quickly established itself as a world leader thanks to its IBIS network, which is used to identify digital fingerprints of bullets or cartridges in crime labs worldwide. Forensic Technology has helped authorities trace over 100,000 gun-related crimes by allowing the sharing of information between labs, between cities, and even countries.

Membre de l’Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, M. Walsh apporte à l’entreprise son expertise technique ainsi que 44 années d’expérience en gestion. En plus de son siège social à Montréal, Forensic Technology possède des bureaux aux États-Unis, en Irlande, en Afrique du Sud et en Thaïlande et emploie une équipe de professionnels en génie, en criminalistique et en application de la loi.

Forensic Technology met constamment à niveau ses processus pour tenir compte des technologies de pointe. Sous la direction dynamique de M. Walsh, l’entreprise n’a cessé de prendre de l’expansion au cours des 17 dernières années, tout comme le domaine des enquêtes criminalistiques.

Among many awards, Mr. Walsh was honoured by Ernst & Young in 2002 with the Québec Entrepreneur of the Year Award and became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Forensic Technology won the 2002 Mercuriades Award for technical innovation, research and development and was named one of Canada’s best 50 managed companies by Deloitte and Touche and CIBC for two years running. The following year, the company was awarded the Canada Export Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Export Award.

Mr. Robert Walsh is a prime example of the creativity, innovation and excellence of Canadian engineering and entrepreneurship. In fact, he is an example to us all. We can all learn from his hard work, his dedication, and his willingness to risk everything for something he believes in.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Robert Walsh so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

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