Alex Hittel

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By Ernie Tessari, on the occasion of the presentation of the Professional Recognition Award to Alex Hittel

Alex is probably best known for his zeal in promoting surveying professionally, and for his dedication to pursuing advanced technology in surveying and sharing knowledge gained through such pursuits with his colleagues.

That Alex was attracted to surveying at a very young age seems evident in the records of his birth, for his birth was recorded as happening August 19, 1931 on Section 13, Township 19, Range 26, West of 3 (Near Fox Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada).

Following high school he was employed by the federal government P.F.R.A., from 1950 to 1953 under the direction of D M. Hornby, ALS, P. Eng., at Medicine Hat, Alberta. He enrolled in "Surveying and Drafting" at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art (now Southern Alberta Institute of Technology), Calgary, graduating in 1953.

On graduation, Alex accepted employment with Shell Canada Limited under the direction of R.E. Squire, P.Eng., and H.G. Falkenberg, ALS, P. Eng., at Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.

He completed requirements and obtained his Alberta Land Surveyors' Commission in 1965, and Dominion Land (now Canada Lands) Surveyors' Commission in 1972.

Since joining Shell he has held a number of challenging positions and presently heads the surveying division for Sheltech Canada, exercising direction and supervision over some fifty surveyors and survey engineers

Early in his career, Alex took a keen interest in advanced instrumentation and systems for survey measurements, positioning off shore and positioning in other non-surveyed areas. Throughout the development of Doppler Satellite Positioning in Canada, he has been instrumental in the development of computer programs and observing techniques. As technology advanced, Alex was relentless in both the pursuit of related knowledge and imparting same to members of the surveying community. Throughout his career, Alex Hittel has been an ardent promoter of organizations for the purpose of furthering professional education and enhancing the surveying profession.

Specifically, Alex has served the profession:

  • as Chairman, Surveying and Mapping Committee, Canadian Petroleum Association.
  • as Council member, Alberta Land Surveyors' Association for seven years, one of which was served as President.
  • as Chairman of several ALS committees, including University Education
  • as lecturer, on occasions too numerous to recount, for the purpose of furthering technical and professional advancement of colleagues and students of surveying.
  • by taking a major role, nationally, in the organization of courses, seminars, and similar programs for continuing education in the survey community.
  • as member of the National Research Council sub-committee on Geodesy
  • as member for the past seven years of the National Advisory Committee on Control Surveys and Mapping.
  • as author of numerous technical papers
  • as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Surveying Engineering Program at UNB
  • through an active program of research and sharing of knowledge
  • as a member of the Advisory Committee on the Surveying Engineering Program at the U of C.
  • as a well known and respected expert in his field, dedicated to sharing that expertise with the surveying community.

During his recent terms of office as Vice-President, President, and past President of the Association, the University of Calgary forwarded a letter of intent to the Department of Advanced Education and Manpower, relative to instituting a Surveying Engineering Program. That program became a reality in September 1979 due, in large part to the sincere dedication and efforts of Alex Hittel.

Attesting to Alex's exemplary professional contribution is the "Award of Merit", in recognition of his outstanding service to the oil and gas industry, conferred in 1975 by the Canadian Petroleum Association.