Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
Degree: Electronics Engineering Technology
Year of graduation: 1982
Bob Lyle’s love of technology, both on and off the job, has translated into a fulfilling career in aviation – including an international award for helping keep Canada’s skies safe. As a Technical Operations Coordinator for NAV Canada, Bob is part of a seven-person team at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport who work 24/7, every day of the year.
His relentless efforts to find the source of a potentially deadly air traffic emergency frequency interference issue garnered Bob a 2013 award from the Washington D.C.-based Air Traffic Control Association.
For the Milton, Ontario native, it was all part of following his passion. “This was something I took on out of personal interest and professional pride that goes along with doing what I love, both at home and at work,” says Bob, who was also formally recognized within NAV Canada. “It was natural for me to dive right into the problem.”
Bob has been pursuing his interest in all things technical for as long as he can remember. At the age of 15, he was the first person hired at the then-new Radio Shack store in town, helping people fix their stereos and CB radios. By the age of 16, he was the store’s Assistant Manager.
“I loved every minute of it; I was in ‘techie heaven’, at least for that age,” says Bob, who worked at the store until he graduated from Sheridan’s Electronics Engineering Technology program in 1982.
Bob’s passion for technology was evident to Transport Canada which hired him upon graduation as an electronics technologist to work on air traffic control electronic systems at the Toronto International Airport (now Pearson). Today, he is celebrating almost 32 years with NAV Canada, the company overseeing air traffic control after the government privatized the function in 1996.
For the first 20 years, Bob worked in radio and landline telecommunications, moving from a technologist to a supervisory role, taking on his current position in 2002. He works with the Toronto Air Traffic Control Centre which looks after flights over most of Ontario.
With the Area Centre handling approximately 850,000 aircraft movements a year, and Pearson accounting for about one-third of that, “we must coordinate our maintenance activities very accurately and respond to equipment problems very quickly,” says Bob. While they plan ahead as much as they can, “we’re always ready for last minute changes due to weather, traffic levels, site problems and system failures,” he adds.
After his shift helping ensure the safety of the flying public, Bob finds plenty of ways to de-stress, often by dabbling in electronics and helping friends with their technology issues. “I don’t spend a lot of time where I’m not learning something, be it intentional or by accident.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Electronics Engineering Technology program.