| My Profession and my major love
As part of my training in the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) was as an electronic technician with specific training on fire control systems (aircraft intercept radar and guidance control). The other areas of training was on test equipment repair, calibration, radiac equipment maintenance, and repair (alpha, beta, and gamma detectors). After training, I was sent to Summerside, PEI and had to maintain torpedoes, with only a couple weeks of On-the-Job training by a senior technician who hadn't taken the course yet. So I informed myself thru the manuals (classified secret), so while the others waited for a course, and since I didn't play cards, I had lots of time at the books. They sent a couple corporals on the course in Florida for 7 weeks and then they put on a 4 week course for us in Greenwood, NS. I aced the course since just about all the material was in the manuals. After I passed my level III Armament System Technician exam, I felt discouraged as to my future in the RCAF. If it hadn't been for my being on the rifle team and the beauty of PEI - the nearest of the base to my home in NB, I still, I was ready for something else. I asked if I could be posted to fighter squadron, but the reply was your our best torpedo man, maybe you could get a posting to Comox, BC. The following month, they asked me to go with a couple of corporals and an other technician to go to Halifax, NS for a month to train and set up a torpedo lab at Bedford Basin for the Navy (Keller's Army 1965). I enjoyed that very much since I was staying at Goresbrook, just across from the Halifax Hospital, and near St. Mary's and Dalhousie University. It was great to be able to see some of the leading research in electronics and medicine. I also got lots of photos of the Halifax area. When I got back from Halifax I put in for my release. The following week I was notified that a posting had come in for me to go to Comox, BC, but I declined, and my former room mate got the posting. So on the 2 May 65, I paid $100 and left the RCAF, went home for 4 weeks, then on to Hamilton, ON, where my sister lived.
|The following Monday after arriving at my sister's, I went to UIC (Unemployment Insurance Commission) and applied for a job - got classified as a wireman, and sent to Otis Elevators. I went in there with my resume and was interviewed for 5 minutes and the guy says "This job isn't for you!" |
I called Westinghouse and they told me they were not hiring. But just the same I took a walk to their location (5 blocks) and walked into the employment office and handed the lady my resume and she looked at it a minute, ask me to sit and wait a bit. She went away a few minutes and come back with a gent who ask me to follow him. He ask me some questions about the air forces and what I did, then offered to hire me if I'd accept $4.44/hour. I replied when do you want me to start? He replied Monday and gave me a slip of paper with his name and told me to go to the guard house on Monday morning with my lunch.
|At Canadian Westinghouse, I was shown how to wire panels and assemblies by one of the lead hand and for the next 4 weeks, that is what I did. I was given a couple day course on transistors and went back to wiring, but we finished one product and before putting me on the next they sent me assemble switchgear for a few weeks to replace an injured employee. This time when I got back to my department, I was only there a couple days before being sent to replace some guy on the refrigerator line for a day, a few day testing motors, a week in the paint shop testing paint samples and then back to my department for a month testing controller assemblies. Attended my first union meeting (UE) and came out wondering if I had made a good move by going to Westinghouse.|
I saw an ad in the newspaper for technicians at Marconi, and on the 22 March 1966, I was hired as Grade 12 E (highest level junior technician).
|I started at Canadian Marconi Company on the 25 April, they helped me find an apartment in nearby in Parc Ex, and found a truck to deliver my furniture that I'd shipped to Marconi. I started working for Fausto Verenni and he passed me on to Alain Boyer and I started working 12 hour shifts. (actually from 8 A.M. to 9 P.M. with half hour off for lunch and supper.) After a few weeks, I was moved into a new area, were Jimmy Wing was the senior. All this time I was troubleshooting and adjusting indicator assemblies. During this period, I went to DOT (Department of Transport) and got my Amateur Certificate of Proficiency and was given the call letters VE2DEA. CMC sent to a course on Doppler radar at our Darnley Road location.|
In May 67, I was offered a chance to apply for a job in the Calibration Lab. On the 6 Aug, I started in the Calibration Lab calibrating special test jigs and certifying them for use for production. This I did for the following 18 months, when I was put on signal generators. I was one of the first to use the VM-3 to check out attenuators at very low levels. When in 1970 we got the Test Equipment R&O contract for DND I was given the task of getting out the first rush job of contract, a couple of radar test sets (AN-UPM-98), Frank Rock and myself got the first out in a week and the second two weeks later by raiding parts off another set. For the next three years, I was the senior for signal generators and radar test sets.
Meanwhile, we got the TACAN contract from USAF with 11 sites from Stephenville, NFLD. To Whitehorse, Yukon to maintain, modify, and keep operational, my part was to maintain the operational spare test equipment so that the technician would have calibrated equipment to verify the performance of their site, and when they couldn't find a technician for the Sept-Iles TACAN site in 74, I went for 5 weeks.
I went into the Electrical Standard Lab in fall of 74 when the other technician went for another job in the company. There, I was called upon to do all sorts of measurements, often with no help from anyone. The then Chief Metrologist was Heinz Lengies, but he was doing a lot of proposals on prison security and building prototypes for these contracts. In the next years, until 78 I had 3 supervisors who knew a lot less then I knew and because I had a disagreement with the manager George Tomme, he put these guys as my senior for a few months each, until, it was clear that they couldn't do the job.
|In May 1978, we were awarded the Montreal Cal Center contract for DND calibration. I was given the task to pick the test equipment that we would require for our cal center from the 202 Workshop, Kingston, Trenton, and North Bay cal centers. From that list that I submitted, I was told some of the equipment we couldn't have and to chose another. Basically, they (DND) wanted to keep the best equipment and since we could not see the history of the equipment until we picked up the equipment, I ended taking more than we needed to have the spares to complete the systems. A month later, we were operational at 90%. It took a couple months to fix the remainder of the equipment. |
Within two months QETE sent us the first audit package and except for two minor errors (math) we passed.
In February 1979, I was promoted to Senior Metrologist. In 1980 we were awarded the Eastern Canada Calibration contract. This included Lahr (Germany) Halifax, Chatham, Greenwood, and Winnipeg cal centers, plus expanded the Montreal Cal Centre to include Bagotville. We set up a new lab in Dartmouth using the equipment from Chatham and Halifax in our own leased location. We hired most of the employees that were already doing the work for the other contractor. The role Greenwood was reduced to 3 men and most of the calibration was done at our facilities. As was the deal in 78, the DND reserved some equipment and we had to furnish some equipment. As in Montreal, I did the new equipment list, as well the DND loan equipment.
When it came time to set up the lab I drove a truck load of equipment and furniture to Dartmouth. I then went to Chatham and Halifax and picked up the loan equipment.
|I got a promotion to that of chief metrologist in the spring of 1985. I retired in the fall 2002 and miss the opportunity to do this very exciting job - the beauty of discovery of what effects measurement accuracy is ever ongoing experience. |