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Professor Per Enge is recipient of 2018 Institute of Navigation Kershner Award

Stanford Aero-Astro Professor, Per Enge, selected to receive the 2018 Kershner Award at the 2018 PLANS Conference. The award was accepted by Dr. Todd Walter on his behalf
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The IEEE/ION Position Location and Navigation Symposium (PLANS) is a biennial technical conference that occurs in the spring of even numbered years. The conference mission is to provide a forum to share the latest advances in navigation technology.

This conference is jointly sponsored by the Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society (AESS), and the Institute of Navigation (ION). The AESS is sponsored by the IEEE, which is the world's largest professional engineering organization. The ION is the world's premier professional organization for the advancement of positioning, navigation and timing.

One of the awards presented at each PLANS conference is the Kershner Award for outstanding achievement and contribution to the technology of navigation and position equipment, systems or practices. Stanford Aero Astro Professor Per Enge, Director of SCPNT, was selected to receive the 2018 Kershner Award. Sadly, Per Enge passed away on April 22, 20118, the day before the 2018 PLANS Conference began. Thus, on April 26, 2018, at the end of the PLANS conference, Stanford Aero Astro Professor, Todd Walter, accepted the 2018 Kershner Award on behalf of Per Enge.

Photo of Dr. Todd Walter, Michael Braasch and Gary McGraw
Stanford Aero Astro professor, Dr. Todd Walter (center) accepts the 2018 Kershner Award on behalf of SCPNT Director, Dr. Per Enge, at the 2018 IEEE/ION Position Location and Navigation Symposium (PLANS) in Monterey, California. Flanking Dr. Walter on the left is Michael Braasch, IEEE/AESS liaison to PLANS, and on the right is Gary McGraw, PLANS Program Chair.

Text of Dr. Walter's Kershner Award acceptance speech

Per Enge very much wanted to be here with all of you today. IEEE and the ION are two organizations that were very special to him, and PLANS was one of his favorite conferences.  He was deeply honored to learn that he was to be recognized by this community with the Kershner award.  Unfortunately, as many of you already know, he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and ultimately succumbed to this terrible disease this past weekend.

The Kershner award recognizes those who have contributed most significantly to this modern era of electronic navigation.  I think this description and this award fits Per perfectly.

He began his navigation career working on Loran-C and along the way became instrumental in the development of the maritime DGPS beacon system, the local and wide area augmentation systems, as well as spearheading efforts to leverage multiple frequencies and multiple constellations through advanced RAIM.  Most recently, he was focused on cyber-security for these systems.  However, even more important than his technical contributions, were his contributions to our community through education, advising, and mentorship.  He leaves behind a strong legacy of students, co-workers, and colleagues who have been inspired by his genuine joy in being able to work in such an exciting field as satellite navigation.

I was extremely fortunate to be hired by Brad Parkinson at the same time that he was able to bring Per to Stanford.  I started working for Per on developing the precursor to WAAS.  This was undoubtedly one of the most exciting periods of my career.  It is impossible to imagine a better person to work for than Per.  Not only did he foster excellence in our research, but he also emphasized the importance of having fun with what you do and with the people with whom you work.  Life balance was an important lesson that he taught.  I feel truly blessed to have had Per as my boss, my mentor and my friend.

Per was the consummate people person.  He knew everyone in the navigation community.  I never went anywhere without people asking me: “Hey do you know Per?” They would then tell me what a wonderful person he was and ask me to say hello.  Whenever I needed to find Per among the thousands of people attending our conferences, I learned that my best strategy was to stop and listen.  Many of you will remember that Per had a very distinctive and utterly unreserved laugh.  When he was among his many friends, he was usually sharing a joke.  Sure enough, I never had to wait very long before I would hear his distinctive laugh, and be able to locate him and join in with his contagious laughter.  This was his own unique brand of a navigational guidance system.

I have a request for those of you who have been inspired by Per over the course of your careers.  I ask that you look around you today, especially towards the next generation of navigation researchers. I ask that, like Per, you talk to and especially that you listen to this younger generation.  Per was the ultimate educator and the ultimate mentor.  He has provided guidance to so many of you here today.  I ask that you continue his mission to instill a sense of excitement in this wonderful field of ours.  And that you in turn be inspired by the energy of those who are new to our community and who are not necessarily bound by what is already well established.  In this way we will keep his legacy alive.  Thank you again to the ION and the IEEE for recognizing Per with this very prestigious award.

Download a PDF copy of Dr. Walter's acceptance speech 

About the Kershner Award

In 1986, the PLANS Executive Committee established an award for outstanding achievement. The purpose was to recognize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the technology of navigation and position equipment, systems or practices.

The award has been named for Dr. Richard Kershner who led the development of Transit, the world's first navigation satellite system.  Dr. Kershner directed the development and launch of some of the world's first satellites, developed user equipment for both submarines and surface ships, and founded the science of satellite Doppler geodesy to improve knowledge of the earth's gravity field.  The result was a navigation satellite system, which served the U.S. Navy and tens of thousands of civil users worldwide. His technical contributions and his leadership of this program are examples of the highest standards of personal and professional performance the Kershner award emulates.

The presentation of the Kershner Award has become a PLANS tradition at our biennial event.  It has permitted the IEEE to recognize those who have contributed significantly to this modern era of electronic navigation.

This year's Kershner recipient is Dr. Per Enge: For his continued contributions in the field of radio-navigation, from Loran-C through GNSS, including its many augmentations, as well as for the guidance of students.