U.S. award named after former Whitby mayor Des Newman

January 7, 2017

Source: DurhamRegion.com (View original article)

Whitby This Week

WHITBY — Des Newman has yet another prestigious award with his name on it, but this time it’s not one he’s received.

The accomplished former Whitby mayor recently had an award named after him by the National Defense Industrial Association, based in the United States. The 2016 NDIA Dr. Desmond G. Newman Award for Excellence in Supply Chain Management was presented to its first recipient during the Defense Manufacturing Conference, held in Denver, Colorado from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

“I was very honoured,” says Newman of the recognition and being asked to speak at the conference, which is the country’s largest annual forum held for enhancing and leveraging the efforts of scientists, engineers, managers, technology leaders and policy-makers across the defence manufacturing industrial base.

The NDIA is a nonprofit association for the U.S. government and the defence industry that works to promote awareness and educate private and public sectors on issues related to national security. Newman has been involved with the association for more than a decade as part of his business life and previously served as chair of the supply chain committee, interacting with the Department of Defense and industry leaders in the U.S.

“I had thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with my colleagues over several years and we had really done some interesting things and important things so I got to know many of these people as friends, but I was still stunned by the suggestion (that the award be named after him) because you know, I’m a Canadian,” he says.

“I’m always conscious of the fact — when I’m in the United States — that I’m a Canadian and I don’t try to push the situation except subtly,” Newman adds.

“I keep reminding them gently that I am a Canadian and I don’t want to trespass into some of the seriously political issues in the United States that they are involved with as industries trying to serve the American defence community, but that does not mean I’m voiceless. I express my opinion and they really enjoyed that because I’m a very direct person.”

Originally from Georgetown, British Guiana, Newman earned his Canadian citizenship in 1960. He became the Town of Whitby’s youngest elected mayor in 1966 and served in that role until 1975. While in office, he advocated for the amalgamation of Whitby town and township, the creation of Durham regional government, the need for an international airport east of Toronto, a new municipal building for Whitby, and the Iroquois Park Sports Centre.

Growing up, Newman spent his summers working locally at General Motors and other plants in the area and later went on to become a leader in the Canadian coatings industry. He worked on parts for the famous Avro Arrow and Canada’s first communications satellite, Alouette. His company developed specialized coatings for use on the Space Station and provided protective coatings for the Canadarm.

As an entrepreneur, he developed international partnerships in vacuum and plasma-assisted electron-beam technologies, and his company, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, continues to expand its research and development expertise. In 2005, the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada made him an Honorary Life Member for exceptional service to the association and the industry.

For his long-standing commitment to the community, Newman received the Peter Perry Award in 2011, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology at the 2015 convocation ceremonies.

Newman describes his most recent recognition as “absolutely delightful”.

“It’s certainly a memorable event in my life,” he says.