Sylvain Laporte

President
Canadian Space Agency
Sylvain Laporte
Sector
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway

Sylvain Laporte is the President at the Canadian Space Agency.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Quebec City. As my father was in the military, we moved a lot when I was young, so I grew up in Quebec City, Barrie, ON, Edmonton, AB, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC and Lahr in Germany.

I now live in: Chelsea, Quebec, Canada

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, and a master’s degree in computer engineering from the Royal Military College in Kingston.

What I do at work

Sending astronauts to space, building an instrument to scan an asteroid, discovering and exploring new planets, developing new technologies that will find their way back to Earth and better the lives of Canadians: These are some of the themes of my daily meetings.

I feel very lucky to be able to work in the space “business.” It is an environment like no other. Collaboration is a key feature. Locally this occurs between CSA colleagues, Canadian universities and tech companies. International we work with partners like NASA, ESA or JAXA. All space missions are the result of amazing brains coming together from all walks of STEM around the globe.

At the office, I work with teams of experts from many fields. I use my background in engineering to study, understand and discuss all aspects of a project and then set the direction to make sure the best decisions are made.

My career path is

My career path was a series of experiments. I decided to study at the Royal Military College because it offered at least two hours of sports every day and the possibility of becoming an engineer. There, I was introduced to fields such as military operations, human resources, and IT. I then left the Forces and gained experiences in store merchandizing, franchise management, marketing, strategic planning, logistics, and financial investments.


I had an eclectic career start, and my curiosity and desire for knowledge led me to not be afraid of taking risks. Later on in my career, I became a change management leader. The desire to transform and modernize organizations has persuaded me to continue on this path.

I am motivated by

Meeting with young Canadians and seeing how space makes their eyes light up is what I enjoy the most about my job. Inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers is one of the Agency’s objectives. Our astronauts and employees meet with children from across the country to share their passion and spark their curiosity.

How I affect people’s lives

Space plays a crucial role in our daily lives. What would a day without Internet be like? Technologies that were first developed for space also play their part in our everyday realities. Some example are water purification, heart monitors, precision farming, navigation, robotics, solar power, sewage treatment, even shock-absorbing athletic shoes.

I feel privileged to be part of the present and future of space exploration. It is great to know that it will lead to new solutions that will better the lives of people here on Earth.

Outside of work I

I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands. Major renovations and fixing cars are two of my favourite hobbies. I am also a certified sommelier and I am currently trying to learn to play guitar.

My advice to others

My first piece of advice: Enjoy what you do and have fun!

Secondly: Collaboration is the mark of a good leader and will take you to where you want to go.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Business & Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Foreign languages
  • Math
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
  • Technology
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Always wanted to be outside
  • Liked helping people
  • Organized activities for my friends
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things
  • Engaged in activities like fishing, berry picking and hunting

Related Topics

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Canada 2067

Let’s Talk Science recognizes and thanks Sylvain Laporte for his contribution to Canada 2067.

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