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Tom Batts

Started in 1974 - Retired in 2007

 
 

The retirement of my good friend and colleague: Tom Batts 

By Dennis Lanthier

 

I’ve worked with Tom Batts for almost 33 years now. When somebody spends 33 years in a career, I think it’s important to take a few minutes and go through how that person’s career unfolded, talk about their contributions and achievements.

 

Tom’s Career

Tom’s career in the Public Service really started on July 16, 1952 — the day he was born. He was born with a “Public Service spoon” in his mouth. Tom’s father, Jack, worked for Transport Canada for 37 years. When Tom and his older brother Terry were young boys, Tom’s dad would take them down to Transport Canada’s vehicle garage at 325 Granville to show them around. Tom was always fascinated by the Radio Reg’s interference cars, and especially the equipment inside. He really wanted to twiddle all the knobs he saw on the equipment. Little did he know that this dream would eventually come true.

 

After going to the University of British Columbia for a few years, he abandoned the idea of getting a degree in Chemistry. Rather, in September 1972, Tom decided to take Electrical and Electronics Technology at BCIT.

 

During a campus recruitment event in February 1974, Tom was impressed with the laid-back attitude of the interviewers from the Department of Communications, and not particularly impressed with the interviewers from his dad’s Department, Transport Canada. He did not hesitate to accept the DOC’s job offer as a recruit Radio Inspector in the newly created Vancouver District Office. 

 

Tom’s first day at work was June 4, 1974. He got plunked down right next to me. I immediately made it clear that I had seniority on this guy — albeit by only one day. That day was also day one for a guy named Bruce Drake. I still remember that in the beginning, both of us were given RIM Manuals to read – how exciting!

 

By 1979, Tom was a fully trained and qualified Radio Inspector. He had already acted several times for our Interference Supervisor. When a job was posted for an EL-6 Engineering Technologist in our Regional Engineering Branch, Tom won the competition, and beat me hands down. He left the District Office in November 1979, and joined the “Big Leagues”, i.e., the Regional Office.

 

Right away, Tom was put to work on a major Regional Engineering project — the Anik B field trials. This project made a significant contribution to proving that satellite signals in the 12 GHz Ku band could be used to deliver good quality television signals. This trial eventually led to today’s Direct-to-Home broadcast satellite television services.

For several years, we worked side-by-side in the Regional Engineering Group. While I did microwave licensing primarily, Tom did a smattering of microwave and earth station licensing, along with some Broadcast work.

 

By the mid-1980's, Tom became the Region’s representative on the national New Equipment Working Group (NEWG).

 

Then in February 2001, Wayne Choi, Director of Spectrum and Telecom and District Director of the Lower Mainland District Office, asked Tom to become the Manager of Spectrum Quality and Control in the Lower Mainland District Office. His patience, compassion, and people skills were all put to the test during his five years in that position.

Wayne Choi (left) presented Tom Batts (right) with his service award.

Some of Tom’s achievements include being part of a National Group Award — for conducting field trials on Digital Radio Broadcasting — or DRB. He also served as the Regional Coordinator for the Operations Sector’s People’s Choice Awards from 2001 until 2006. In 2002, Tom himself was nominated for a People’s Choice Award. 

 

In 2005, Tom decided to go on Pre-retirement transition leave. This meant that he worked only three days a week and committed to retire within two years. It’s hard to believe that his two years are almost up.

Perhaps Tom’s most significant legacy will be our ISOC systems, which Tom has been involved with since their infancy. That dream as a child has pretty much come true: he’s been able to twiddle a lot of knobs and push a lot of buttons over the years. However, he regrets that he won’t be around to twiddle the really, really cool knobs and buttons of our ISOC systems, once they become fully deployed as planned. 

 

And so here we are, almost 33 years after that day in June 1974 when Tom walked into the Office and we became colleagues and the best of friends. 

 

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