Dr. Desmond G. Newman

Whitby, ON,

AIAC Honorary Life Member


Desmond George Newman


Birthdate: 1931

Birth Place:  British Guiana

Desmond George Newman was born in 1931 on a sugar plantation in British Guiana, educated at St. Stanislaus College in Georgetown by Jesuit Priests, and at University College in Kingston Jamaica in Science.   In 1955, he emigrated to Canada, was married at St Gregory’s Church in Oshawa, bought a home in Whitby, and began his industrial life as a Chemist with Shell Oil in their Control and Development Labs in Toronto.

One year later, he was invited to join Cametoid Limited, a subsidiary of the Dowty Aerospace Group of Companies in Ajax, Ontario, as Chief Chemist, with the mandate to develop a DND-approved Special Process Facility to meet the needs of the parent company and the aerospace industry in Canada.

In 1956, before Mr. Newman’s arrival, Cametoid had one chemical process…… the anodizing of aluminum.   It was being used to process landing gear for DeHavilland’s STOL aircraft and to anodize aluminum tubes for GE vacuum cleaners.   The company was also asked to do some work on components for the Avro Arrow and its superb engine the Iroquois, before that catastrophic day in 1958 when that remarkable program was cancelled.

In 1959, Mr. Newman was appointed Quality Manager, and in 1961 General Manager of Cametoid.   It was in that year, 1961, that Cametoid was recognized as a Special Process Facility (SPF) by the Department of National Defence.

As a result, when Canada launched its first Space Satellite, Alouette, its fixed antennae had been gold plated by Cametoid on request from the Defence Research Board.

Cametoid also produced the coatings on the first Canadarm developed by NRC and produced by SPAR along with the series of Canadian ANIK satellites.

When Mr. Newman was appointed General Manager of Cametoid he and his wife Marjorie became Canadian citizens, and in 1964 he was elected to the Board of Directors of Cametoid and became its Vice President.

On April 1, 1967, on the complete re-organization of the Dowty operations in Canada, Mr. Newman bought Cametoid from Dowty and became its President.

On becoming President of Cametoid, Mr Newman also became a member of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and served as Chairman of the Productivity Committee, Chairman of the Technology Committee and Chairman of the Small Business Committee, before being elected to the Board in 1980, where he served as Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer for several years before becoming Vice Chairman of the Board in 1990.

After the purchase of Cametoid, and because of its DND SPF certification, Cametoid became involved in all of the major A&D programs available:

  • Garrett’s Temperature Control Systems
  • Sperry Gyroscope Microprocessors
  • Leigh Instruments NAMA Torpedo Program
  • Westclox’s Timing Devices
  • Beckmann’s Instrumentation
  • Irvin’s Parachute Release Devices
  • CGE’ Engine and Nuclear Components
  • Magna Electronics Weapon Systems, and
  • BATA Engineering on the XM1 Tank.


In all of these programs, Cametoid used some 20 chemical and electrochemical processes.   Predominant among them were cadmium and chromium electroplating, the work-horses of manufacturing in those days.   However, those materials are carcinogenic and were on the EPA’s Hit List of the 17 most toxic materials which the EPA wanted removed from all manufacturing operations in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Fortunately, in 1980, Canada bought 130 F-18 fighter planes from McDonnell Douglas in St Louis MI for about $3 billion.  The AIAC Board then decided to visit St. Louis for two days to meet with McDonnell executives to see how much of the work on this major contract would be undertaken in Canada.

After the initial briefing, Mr. Newman, as the only processor in the group, was invited by the Project Manager, Dr. Gene Fanin to view some new process technology which McDonnell Douglas had developed in conjunction with the EPA and the US Navy for its defence aircraft.

But what Mr. Newman saw that day was not based on chemistry but on physics.   The process involved the deposition of Aluminum in a dry environment in a vacuum chamber, and it had the potential to solve two fundamental problems that had plagued the industry for decades.   The first of those problems was the embrittlement of high strength steel used in undercarriages, due to poor electroplating practice which lead to collapse and catastrophic failure.   The second was the opportunity to replace a carcinogenic material like cadmium with an environmentally neutral material like aluminum.

Mr. Newman immediately understood the impact such technology would have on the coatings industry, because this would be a fundamentally different way of depositing coatings.

The technology, which depends on a dry, environmentally neutral, change-of-state reaction in the Ion Vapour Deposition (IVD) of aluminum is called “Ivadizing”. It was needed to produce the IVD coatings of aluminum required on the F-18 aircraft.  Mr. Newman saw the importance of the technology to the Industry at large, and on his return to Canada, with partial support from the DIPP program, arranged for the purchase of two complete systems, bringing them to his Canadian operation in Whitby for production and research.

The result of the purchase of the Ivadizing technology turned the Cametoid operation from one which was based on chemistry to one which was now based on physics, but in doing so, it became a more environmentally acceptable operation.

In 1985, using the new technology as a base, Mr. Newman set up an R&D facility to expand its use and to address some of the industry needs which could not be met otherwise.   Then, with the assistance of Dr. George Dobrowolski, the Director of Physics at NRC, Cametoid undertook some remarkable work, in collaboration with the DND Resaerch Facility at Val Cartier, Quebec.  First, on simple multi-layer optical coatings and then on more advanced single-line and multi-line optical filters, leading to Rugate filters and other complex optical coatings needed for Night Vision Equipment.

Next came the attempt to dope aluminum with Rare Earth materials like Yttrium, Hafnium, Lanthalum and Cerium and diffusing them to form complex aluminides for which Cametoid received its first US and Canadian patents.

Then with the help of Dr. Bill Wallace, from NRC’s Institute of Aerospace Research, Cametoid won a competitive million-dollar contract from the Canadian Space Agency under their STEAR program, to fulfill a NASA requirement for the Space Station, which involved the development of silicate coatings on Kapton for the protection of the Space Station from atomic oxygen and UV in the LEO Orbit.

Next came the characterization of Cametoid’s compositionally-graded Thermal Barrier coatings in the development of Erosion-Resistant Coatings and Thermal Barrier Coatings for aircraft engines and ground turbines for Pratt & Whitney Canada.

In 1988, Des Newman turned his attention to the US Defense market and bought a subsidiary of Chromalloy Gas Turbines in Manchester, Connecticut USA, naming the new company Cametoid Technologies Inc, because the company had the same Vacuum Technology which the Canadian company had acquired in 1981 from McAir.   The Cametoid Group was then able to provide world-class coatings to the Aerospace and Defence industry, in both Canada and the US.

On the acquisition of the Connecticut plant in 1988, Mr. Newman was invited to join the National Defense Industries Association in Washington DC and became Chairman of the DoD Supply Chain Management Committee for seven years, after which the NDIA decided to create an Annual Award for the US Defense industry and named it the Dr. Desmond G. Newman Supply Chain Management Award.    The first recipient was a senior Boeing official in 2016 and the next recipient was from Honeywell Aerospace in 2017.

When DIPP was terminated in 1996, Cametoid’s on-going R&D projects came from the US.  Most notably, was a contract from Piccatiny Arsenals in New Jersey to replace chromium coatings with thick coatings of tantalum in the bores of a series of guns which were being damaged by the explosive energy from a new issue of ammunition.

In 2000, CIDA invited Mr. Newman to go to Ukraine over a four-year period to visit their Universities and Technical Institutes in search of advanced materials and coatings technology under its STCU program. After an exhaustive search, Mr. Newman selected the Paton Institute in Kiev with whom to sign an Agreement to acquire a Paton Electron Beam Physical Vapour Deposition (EB.PVD) Coater for research and development of Thermal Barrier and Erosion Resistant Coatings for Pratt & Whitney Canada.   Included in the Agreement was the requirement for Paton to demonstrate through its internationally acclaimed Executive Director Dr. Boris Movchan that the EB.PVD technology would have present and future relevance to the aerospace and general manufacturing sectors.

It is interesting to note, that one year later, after the purchase of the Paton EB.PVD Coater by Cametoid, GE Aerospace acquired an identical unit from the Paton Institute.

In 2005, Mr. Newman was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada for exceptional service to the Association and the Industry.

Along with his business activity, Mr. Newman was the Mayor of Whitby for ten years and National President of the Canadian Federation of Mayors.   In 1972, he lead a Municipal Delegation of 85 Mayors from across Canada to the historic First National Tri-Level Conference on the Role of Local Government in Canada, with Ministerial Delegations from the Federal Government and all ten Provinces with Senator Carl Goldenberg of Montreal acting as Sessions Chairman.

In his community, Mr. Newman was the Founding Chairman of the Durham Region Manufacturers Association, Chairman of the Industrial Accident Prevention Association for Central Ontario, the Founding Chairman of the Dennis O’Connor Catholic High School, a member of the Founding Committees for the Whitby General Hospital, and the Station Gallery, as well as President of the Rotary Club of Whitby.

In recognition of his service, Mr. Newman has been awarded the Freedom of the Town of Whitby, which is an honour rarely given.  He was similarly honoured by the City of Winnipeg and the City of Longueil.   He was also awarded the Chamber of Commerce Peter Perry Award, Canada’s Centennial Medal, and  the Queen’s 50th and 60th Anniversary Medals, and in 2015 the University of Ontario Institute of Technology conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree DLL.

Dr. Newman and his wife Marjorie live in Whitby.  They have three daughters, and five grandchildren.