Carolyn P. McDonald, President and CEO, and Director of Seminars
Carolyn McDonald founded NavtechGPS (then called Navigation Technology Seminars, Inc.) with Keith McDonald (retired, 2010) in 1984. They saw a need for technical training for the then newly developing global positioning system market. Carolyn’s management skills and Keith’s comprehensive knowledge of GPS technology were a perfect match for the GPS technical seminar business they built from a basement operation, which started with a few courses taught by Keith and other GPS experts, to the thriving multifaceted business it is today.
Carolyn’s creativity, vision, goal-oriented drive and determination enabled her to see opportunities and act on ideas that most others would shy away from. Carolyn’s ability to come up with new ideas and follow them through to completion resulted in a very successful business model for providing much needed GPS/GNSS training to engineers and technical professionals. Since 1984, NavtechGPS has trained thousands of GPS/GNSS professionals both domestically and internationally at public venues and on-site for commercial, research, and government organizations. NavtechGPS has become synonymous with high quality, effective GPS/GNSS technical training.
In the late 1980s, seeing a natural fit, Carolyn started the NavtechGPS book division, probably creating the first and largest retail GPS/GNSS book collection of its kind.
In the 1990s, as the GPS industry grew, Carolyn recognized the potential for selling GPS equipment and started the NavtechGPS product division led by Franck Boynton. According to Carolyn, "We saw a niche for providing our customers with GPS equipment options from many manufacturers, extensive GPS technical training, and a superb library of technical texts to choose from. We could advise our customers on the equipment that would best suit their projects and offer all these choices in one place." The product division now represents over 30 manufacturers, adding more all the time, and offers customers deep technical understanding, practical expertise and over 25 years of experience in GPS/GNSS and precise positioning technology to deliver innovative solutions for military, commercial and research COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) integration projects.
In the early days of The Institute of Navigation, as an ION member, Carolyn worked with Brad Parkinson, Allison Brown and Rudy Kalafus to create the first Satellite Division conference (1987). Carolyn was Chair of Meetings for the ION from about 1990 through 1997 and helped with conference planning, site selection and marketing.
From 1987 through 2010, NavtechGPS, under Carolyn’s direction, provided all of the pre-conference GPS technical tutorials for the ION Satellite Division conferences.
In January 2016 Carolyn McDonald was honored by The Institute of Navigation as the 2015 recipient of the Norman P. Hays Award
, for the development and production of over thirty years of engineering tutorials in the field of satellite navigation, timing and inertial navigation; and for development and sustained support of the ION's conference programs.
Carolyn is clearly a proven leader with seemingly limitless energy, vision, creativity and drive. She is especially good at reading and motivating people and is a master at understanding the individual talents of her employees and maximizing their strengths. Over the years, she has leveraged this insight to build a pool of talent and a thriving small woman-owned business.
Carolyn has a degree from the Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia.
Carolyn loves to travel, play the piano, sing and garden, and proudly accepts her role as ringmaster and "instigator" of the NavtechGPS-hosted Open Mic Night for more than 15 years running at the ION GNSS fall conferences.