Walter Friesen
General Manager, Transportation Systems

Walter Friesen was the Senior Vice President of Alcatel North America and General Manager of Alcatel’s Transport Automation activities in Canada, where Alcatel maintained its centre-of-excellence for urban rail technology. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1967 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and is a member of the IEEE Vehicular Technology Group, the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association.

With over thirty-five years of railway signalling experience, Mr. Friesen began his career with the Canadian National Railway where he led the development of many advanced signalling and communication system design initiatives. During the past seventeen years, he has held a number of key management positions at Alcatel Canada Inc., Transport Automation, progressing from Manager of Engineering, Director of Marketing, Director of Technology, and Chief Operating Officer to his present position. He reports directly to the Alcatel Transport Automation president headquartered in Paris, France.

Mr. Friesen continued in various management roles, including working as the Chief Project Manager for THALES Transportation Systems for the Singapore Project, bringing this multi-faceted project to a successful completion. He was a working expat living in Singapore during this time period.

In the late 1970 to early 1980s Mr. Friesen was a driving force in the promotion and development of the then Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) for the main line railways. He brought Alcatel into a consortium of four companies to prototype the ATCS on the Canadian National Railway (also a member of the consortium). Although technology of the day was inadequate to follow up with a full deployment, it was the forerunner of what is now implemented as Positive Train Control (PTC) by all North American railroads.

During his tenure, Mr. Friesen’s responsibilities and successes have included: implementing advanced technology for intermediate capacity transit systems, developing signalling and communications-based train control systems and product lines, planning for the development of future signalling and control systems, managing and directing the operations of the company, its departments and its satellite offices.

Mr. Friesen lives and worked in Toronto, Ontario.

Part of the Thales Canada Inc. Transportation group of NARHF Inductees.