Col Robert Testa, CD
Colonel Robert Testa enrolled in the CF in Montreal, QC well over 35 years ago, and promptly attended CMR and RMC, graduating with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Nuclear).
He considers himself to be lucky to have served in all aspects of the Military Engineer Branch (unfortunately less Fire Fighting – but he did experience the charms of the “flash over simulator” - twice), and he enjoyed a very varied and multi-facetted career throughout his time in uniform. His career ranged from the joys of working with the troops as Field Tp Comd at 5 RGC, and the tradesmen/women as Prod O at CFB Lahr in the early 80s through to the last decade of his career in numerous command and senior staff positions “on the dark side” at NDHQ.
Bob particularly enjoyed his tour at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Chilliwack, BC where he taught both Tactics and Military Leadership and Management. While there he managed to influence (some might say warp) the thinking of many of the senior engineers of today. After suffering one of several life changing major accidents during his career (in this case, a broken neck while on a ski instructor course), he attended the Army Survey Course at the Royal School of Military Survey in Hermitage, England, and was smitten with the Geo bug! He was posted to the Mapping and Charting Establishment in Ottawa where he commanded two of the three Squadrons before being posted to Director Military Geomatics as SO2 Topographic Ops and subsequently, Assistant Director.
Following a nine-month tour at Mobile Command HQ in Saint Hubert, QC as SO2 Engineer Operations and Training, he attended the Belgian Command & Staff College in Brussels. There he learned to appreciate the finer aspects of “moules frites” with wine or beer for lunch. He subsequently returned to Land Forces Command HQ as SO2 Land Forces Support and Infrastructure Adjustment. There he was affectionately known as “Mr Happiness for the Army” dealing with base reductions and closures during the 1994 and 1995 Federal Budget reductions. That tour cemented his reputation for future employment on the Dark Side. He then spent one year as G3 Ops and Plans at LFCHQ before being posted as Commanding Officer MCE from 1996 to 1999.
Post command, Colonel Testa was selected as the EA to Chief of the Land Staff, during which he completed his MBA at the University of Ottawa. In July 2001, he began his series of tours “on the dark side” when he was posted to Director General Strategic Planning as the Director Defence Management, where he became known as “Father Bob” for his evangelical approach to Performance Measurement & Management.
Colonel Testa then returned to his love, the “Geo world” as Director Geospatial Intelligence. Unable to escape the pull of the “dark side” he returned to the VCDS as Director Defence Strategy Management in 2007. In 2008 he was blessed with assuming the duties of Director General Military Engineering and Chief Military Engineer for the CF, one of the best jobs of his career. In December 2009 Colonel Testa retired from the Regular Force, transferred to the Primary Reserve, and remained as Chief of Staff, Defence Force Structure Review, where he continued to work on all of the fun jobs in NDHQ that successfully removed him from everyone’s Christmas card list (SR, SOR, CF Transformation, PRECS, …) for two years. His last job in uniform as Project Director for the consolidation and move of NDHQ to the former Nortel Campus has made him a target for all those in NDHQ that live in Orleans, but it has given him the opportunity to reconnect with his engineering background once again.
Bob has accepted an Executive position with Hatch Engineering of Mississauga and will move into his second career in mid-February. He and his long suffering wife of almost 32 years, Vivian, intend to continue to play golf together and enjoy as much travel as is possible while awaiting the eventual arrival of grand-children from their two adult children David (PPCLI) and Valerie.