16865 Randy Hartmann: Passing on sage advice

IV Year receives sage advice from 1989 grad – 16865 Randy Hartmann

By: 27182 Officer Cadet (IV) Carmen Kiltz

It all begins at RMCC: a fourth-year perspective on her future in the Canadian Armed Forces

Do you ever stop and think about where you will be in the next twenty or so years, or as a grad, look back to reflect on where you were twenty or so years ago?

I know I often wonder what the future holds for me. I believe that the vast majority of the cadets at the college, when third year comes around, begin really thinking about what’s in store for them upon graduation.

As an Officer Cadet entering my fourth and final year at the college, I am spending much more time wondering what comes next. When one is unsure where the journey of military life will take you (or where you will take it!) it is a good time to speak with one of the ‘older’ members of the RMC family.


They will tell you that graduates of the Royal Military College of Canada can be found working, managing, and leading in a wide range of areas of expertise and different levels command after graduation – whether it be: as a combatant in the air, on the ground, or on or under the sea, engaged in training or operations, at home or abroad; ensuring war fighting equipment is functioning optimally and safely in our respective environments for training and operations; defining requirements and managing equipment and infrastructure resources to ensure we are a technically relevant force; interacting with industry and other nations from the tactical to strategic levels; or managing DND’s occupations and finances.

16865 Randy Hartmann shares  a few stories…

Interestingly, most RMC grads do not see themselves returning to the college as a prof, and neither did 16865, then OCdt, Randy Hartmann in 1989 when he marched off the parade square with his commission and electrical engineering degree ready to work as an Aerospace Engineering (AERE) officer.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Randy, now a Maj and Military Faculty member at RMC, and I asked him questions with a “then and now” approach to compare our RMC experiences and get a ‘glimpse’ of what I could be expecting in my career. He shared with me a viewpoint I hadn’t heard centred on investment and return on investment. The government of Canada and CF invests in us with lots of education and training at the beginning of our careers and depends on us to provide a return on that investment with wise leadership, management, guidance, education, and training of those at the beginning of their careers, and the management of the physical resources of the CF.

Randy, a Ridgeway Ontario native, recalled a few fond memories of his time ‘back in the day’ as an Officer Cadet, Frigateer and Frontenac Sqn member, at RMC which he says formed part of the investment. Randy competed as a member of the varsity Judo team and during his first West Point weekend fought a Judo match against a West Point cadet who was the North American Greco Roman Wrestling Champion … to a draw. He didn’t find out until after the match his opponents previous exploits and said sometimes you have just to adapt and do your best in the absence of information. The intel just isn’t there all the time.

He regaled the story of throwing his 3rd year electronic devices professor, 12192 Tom Lawson (later to become CDS) into Lake Ontario to “celebrate” his promotion to Major, a tradition which is no longer practiced at the RMCC but certainly brings the old and young RMC family members together in a memorable way, bridging the age gap. He also had the opportunity to do aerospace engineering training abroad in Baden Soellingen, Germany and in Cold Lake, Alberta. The training involved working on and flying in the CF-18, which at the time was still a very new aircraft to the RCAF and the goal of many aerospace engineers. Meeting and working with the ‘real pointy end’ as a university student provided a break, some motivation to persevere 3rd and 4th year electrical engineering, and glimpse at life after RMC.

Finally, he related a story of trust where when in their 4th year, he and 16422 Pat Delguidice, both avid weight lifters, were given $50 000 by the Director of Athletics, then Maj Bill Oliver, to re-equip the RMC weight room. (Actually the 50k were funds available through ‘public’ sources). Randy and Pat were proud to be recognized for their experience and asked to identify and order the weight lifting equipment which would define the RMC weight training facilities for the next decade. They were at the SAM centre on the day the equipment arrived.  Jubilant with their success only to discover that a senior member of the PERI staff, who had been away when this plan was discussed and approved was not impressed. Initially a little confusion transpired but everything was straightened out within minutes. Major Hartmann recalled that tactful communications can be tricky but pay dividends.

When speaking to the proud husband of Susan and proud father of three about his life after RMC in the Air Force in Trenton, Cold Lake, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Kingston I was simply amazed at the amount and diversity of experience and events he has taken part in. We talked about all of his different jobs over 27 years after RMC, which will be published in subsequent issues, and I found this is extremely motivating to me as an Officer Cadet. Much of his work related to using his engineering degree in Air Combat Engineering, weapons, electronic warfare, traveling the world, working with Allies, deployments to the Middle East, and domestic operations like the Winnipeg flood of 97. I’ve received at least an inkling of an idea of the vast opportunities that are in store for me, and I am excited.

Fast forward twenty or so years , the ’89 grad is now back at RMC working in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Applied Military Science, as a professor, sharing his expertise and experience with the students- helping the next generation succeed in their future journeys in the Canadian Armed Forces. What he calls his return of contributions to the system which allowed him to travel the world, work with so many people, and engage in such incredible work.

Fourth and final year, here I come, and then a chance to make my way in the world and hopefully enjoy similar experiences to those of Maj Hartmann.