Alumni spotlight

Pat Fenton, BSc (Eng)'81

Pat Fenton

Improving GPS precision globally

Pat Fenton graduated in 1981 and joined Shelltech Canada in Calgary, a company that designed and operated high-tech survey and mapping equipment. In 1985 Pat joined a group of 6 other engineers within the company to build precision GPS receivers. In 1989 NovAtel Inc. acquired the companies GPS group and Pat moved with the acquisition as their Chief Engineer. Over the next 25 years, Pat led NovAtel’s GPS engineering division and produced over 7 generations of precision GPS products while building the company to over 400 employees worldwide.

Pay more attention to your profs and fellow students. Their career paths will, most likely, overlap yours.

Pat Fenton


What is your favourite memory from your time at UCalgary?

Taking part in back country skiing trips through Campus Rec. (now called UCalgary Outdoor Centre).

What was your favourite campus hang-out spot?

Engineering student home room.

What advice would you give your student self, knowing what you do now?

Pay more attention to your profs and fellow students.  Their career paths will, most likely, overlap yours.

How did your engineering degree help you get to where you are today?

My entire career was based on professional engineering. It would not have happened without this degree.

How has your career path evolved and changed since your graduation?

First several years were focused, as was my degree, in pure Survey Engineering (now called Geomatics Engineering).

Then I moved more into Electrical Engineering and Signal Processing (next 25 years)

The first decade of my career was 80% technical – 20% management.

The middle decade was 50/50 technical/management.

The last decade was more 25/75 technical/management split.

I “retired” from my executive role at NovAtel (effective Dec 31/2017),

Currently consulting part time on pure technical matters.