Friday, June 22, 2018

New UrtheCast CEO Don Osborne Belongs to a "Secret Society"

          By Henry Stewart

Going into what is expected to be a "lively" annual general meeting currently scheduled for Monday June 25th, Vancouver, BC based UrthCast has announced that Ex-MDA president Donald F. Osborne has been appointed as its new CEO.

He probably doesn't belong to the illuminati, although the one eyed portrait is certainly evocative. But new CEO Osborne is one of dozens of ex-Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) employees who have left to join UrtheCast over the last several years. Photo c/o Rob Kruyt/ Business in Vancouver.

Osborne, who until November 2017 headed up the MDA information systems group subsidiary of Colorado based Maxar Technologies, isn't the only ex-MDA employee hired by UrtheCast over the last few years. A quick search through LinkedIn, the employment and business-oriented website, where many UrthCast employees store their online resumes, will uncover dozens of others.

They include EVP of operations Peter Duggan (an ex-MDA program director), CTO George Tyc (until 2012, the ex-technical director of small-sats at MDA), principal engineer Joe Steyn (who held the same title at MDA until 2016), director of software engineering Chris Rampersad (who worked at MDA until 2013) and many, many more.

Even UrtheCast co-founder Wade Larson worked at MDA as VP of business development until 2012.

As outlined in the  October 12th, 2017 post, "Osborne Steps Down at Canadian MDA as it Responds to Questions About its US Based "Maxar" Future," Osborne's resignation came as a bit of a surprise to his MDA colleagues.

No doubt, and as outlined in the June 1st, 2018 post, "UrtheCast Receives a Vote of Confidence from American Investors," Osborne's first days at his new job will include a few new surprises.

Osborne's appointment was made public earlier in the week, as per the June 19th 2018 UrtheCast press release, "UrtheCast Corp. Appoints Donald F. Osborne as Chief Executive Officer."


Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer. 


  1. Speaking as a member of that "secret society", it's not really secret at all. The group you're referring to is "space engineers and managers in Canada". Of which there are not all that many. Nor are there that many good space-engineering and -management jobs to be had (which is why some of our number have left for space jobs in other countries). And very few companies in Canada at which we can practice our trade. When one of us leaves a job in one of those companies (e.g., Maxar), we have very few choices about where to seek new employment, if we want to stay in the space business in Canada. At any given time, some companies are static in size, some are laying-off and some are hiring; you tend to see people moving to whoever is hiring (apparently UrtheCast, in the past few years). That is made easier when some of your colleagues from a previous employer are already at a new company, as they're the ones you'll reach out to if you're looking to make a move, to see what sort of hiring the new company might be doing.

    Not very complicated, really. And it happens much the same way in many other specialized professions. You use your network when managing your career development; that's one of the main reasons that "networking" is a thing.

  2. It is inappropriate and invasive to trawl LinkedIn for the individual names of UrtheCast employees. You can certainly make the point that UrtheCast has a lot of ex-MDA staff (there are many more you didn't name) but it is sleazy for a pseudonymous writer to name individuals in this way. Please consider removing anyone who isn't a C-level executive (hence arguably a public figure) from this article.

    1. We appreciate your comment, Ms. Anonymous, but stand by our story...


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