Tad McGeer

A Nobel laureate, a former prime minister, a Hollywood director and a Gorge resident and businessman are among 120 people honored in the New Year’s appointments to the Order of Canada by Rideau Hall, the official residence in Ottawa of the Governor General of Canada.

Governor General Julie Payette announced the names from across the country to receive the Order of Canada on Friday, Dec. 27.

The Order of Canada recognizes Canadians for their dedication to serving their communities and country. It was established in 1967. The Order of Canada (French: Ordre du Canada) is the second highest honor for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada.

The highest of the Order’s three levels is that of “companion.” There can be no more than 165 living companions at any time. This year’s companion list includes James Cameron, the Oscar-winning director of Titanic and Avatar, former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper and physicist Donna Strickland.

Individuals appointed as officers of the Order of Canada, the second highest honor, are recognized for national service or achievement. And, those inducted as members are recognized for “outstanding contributions at the local or regional level” in a specific field.

Bingen businessman and Vancouver, B.C., resident Brian Theodore (Tad) McGeer is being made a member of the order for his contributions to aeronautical engineering and for his innovative designs for unmanned aerial systems.

“I was in fact asked about a month ago whether I would accept the honor, and I would hardly be so rude as to say no, but I did suggest that I wasn’t quite up to the usual standards as set by members whom I know or know about - not least my parents,” McGeer said of the honor. “They (his parents) are among the world’s most-cited neuroscientists, so pretty obvious choices, as are other Canadian scientists whose contributions are substantial. I on the other hand been enjoying myself in my own little niche, but I suppose that recognition has value if the story raises interest in engineering as a career. The current Governor General, incidentally, is an engineer and astronaut.”

While recipients will receive their honors in Ottawa, Canada, sometime in 2020, McGeer has yet to be notified of the exact date.

“I’m told that formal ceremonies in Ottawa occur four times per year, and I suppose that I’ll be at one of those in 2020. I haven’t been to Ottawa for more than 20 years! Must take the opportunity to sell some Flexrotors,” he said.

Although McGeer is “very much Canadian,” he is more of a frequent visitor to Vancouver, Canada, (where he was born) than a resident. These days, the Princeton and Stanford graduate primarily lives in Hood River and works at his company Aerovel’s headquarters in Bingen.

McGeer founded Insitu in 1992. After selling it to Boeing, he then founded Aerovel, maker of the “flexrotor” in 2006.

“Flexrotor is now contending for US Special Forces’ Medium Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System program (which over the years has mainly used Scaneagle and Aerosonde),” he said proudly of his new unmanned aerial system.

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