2015 Hays Award

Presented to: Carolyn McDonald

Citation: 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.


Since 1984, Carolyn McDonald has played a pioneering role in the continuing education of scientists, engineers, and managers in the field of GPS satellite navigation, positioning, timing, inertial navigation and LORAN. With dedication and innate management skills, she earned the cooperation and extremely hard work of up to 28 instructors in any given year. To date she has managed over 350 international and domestic course venues with over 25,000 participants covering most technical aspects of GPS/GNSS navigation.

NavtechGPS has produced tutorials affiliated with the conferences of the ION’s Satellite Division, DSNS Europe, the International Association of Institutes of Navigation, PTTI and WGA, (now the International Loran Association.) Additionally, Ms. McDonald produced onsite courses for numerous public/private clients. From the beginning, NavtechGPS implemented stringent quality control through serious evaluation of feed-back forms that guided the improvement of instructor skills and course material quality. A NavtechGPS course is the gold standard of GNSS tutorials and is recognized for its world-class, leading-edge instructors.

Ms. McDonald was an extremely active U.S. ION volunteer from 1986-1998. In 1990, she worked to revitalize ION conferences; holding the ION Chair of Meetings position for eight years. She was one of the three founding organizers and financial contributors to the ION Satellite Division’s first ION GPS meeting, held in Colorado Springs in 1986. During her years of volunteer service, she was responsible for expanding the ION’s meeting format to multiple tracks, improved ION conference marketing, and was instrumental in the modernization of the ION National Office and the mentoring of the new ION National Office Staff. Carolyn McDonald is currently president and CEO of NavtechGPS, Inc. She received her B.A. from the Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia. She is perhaps best recognized as the gracious hostess of the NavtechGPS Open Mic Night held annually during the ION GNSS+ conference since 2002.