Canadian innovator Tom Jenkins new honorary colonel of 409 Squadron

News Article / May 9, 2017

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By Jeff Gaye

Canadian innovator P. Thomas (Tom) Jenkins, OC, CD is the new honorary colonel of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, located at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. Honorary Colonel Jenkins assumed the appointment from outgoing Honorary Colonel Stan Schwartz at a ceremony on April 7, 2017.

Honorary Colonel Jenkins is an author and a pioneer in information technology with applications in business, government and education; he has served the Government of Canada as chair of reports on innovation, procurement, and research and development; and he is the tenth Chancellor of the University of Waterloo.

He is the Chair of the Board at OpenText Corporation, Canada’s largest software company, Chair of the National Research Council of Canada and Chair of the Ontario Global 100. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to education and innovation in Canada. 

“He’s an excellent fit for 409 Squadron,” said Lieutenant-Colonel William Radiff, commanding officer of 409 Squadron. “He has time in the military, through the ranks and as an officer, so he understands our experience from that perspective.”

From a leadership perspective,” the Lieutenant-Colonel continued, “he has so much experience in business and politics. He has a wealth of information, he’s very savvy “He travels extensively, he has a broad network and broad experience around the globe. This will be helpful in his role advising me.”

Honorary Colonel Jenkins has spent some time in uniform as an air cadet, as an Air Reserve non-commissioned officer and officer, and as a cadet instructor. He served as the honorary lieutenant-colonel and honorary colonel of the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada Infantry Regiment, located in Cambridge, Ontario, from 2009 to 2015.

He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Honorary Colonel Jenkins has pioneered technologies that are used to manage digital information.  He is the author or co-author of Internet books eGovernment or out of Government and Enterprise Information Management. With His Excellency David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Honorary Colonel Jenkins co-wrote the book Ingenious, a history of innovation in Canada, which was published simultaneously in French and English.

Lieutenant-Colonel Radiff said Honorary Colonel Jenkins is excited with his new appointment.

“He really wants to be the honorary colonel of a fighter squadron,” he said. “His first beer was in Club 41[the junior ranks mess at Cold Lake] when he was a private, so he’s happy to come home to those Cold Lake roots.”

Honorary Colonel Jenkins and his family live in Canmore, Alberta.

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