Honored ECpE alumnus passes away

*Article was originally published in the Houston Chronicle

Lee Ott, 73, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, the 1st of June 2016. He was born the 13th of October 1942, in Kinross, Iowa, to Joseph and Mary Ott.

Lee grew up on farms in rural Iowa, spending most of his life on a farm in Webster, Iowa. He attended elementary and junior high school in Webster, and graduated from English Valley High School in North English, Iowa, in 1960 where he was very active in all sports. He then attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, earned a B.S. Electrical Engineering 1964, M.S. Electrical Engineering 1968, and Ph.D. Electrical Engineering with, Mathematics and Statistics Minors 1971.

Lee met the love of his life, Kay Williams in high school when they were both 15 years old. They dated 5 years, before being married on May 25, 1963. They very recently celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary May 25, 2016. Lee and Kay had one son Jeffrey Alan Ott, who was born in Ames, Iowa, on April 23, 1968, wife Dr. Kristen Starnes-Ott, and a very special grandson Jace Jeffrey Ott, age 10, who was so beloved and “the apple of Grandpa Lee’s eye.” The two of them were soul-mates and spent hours and hours together, playing golf, games, building models, watching TV and movies, and sharing their mutual love of sports (soccer, flag football, Little League and now Elite Baseball), with Grandpa Lee attending almost every baseball game as well as attending as many practices as he could. Lee was an avid golfer for years at Walden Country Club, and recently at Sweetwater Country Club.

Lee and Kay made Houston their home in Houston in 1971, after Lee was awarded his Ph.D., he accepted a position at Western Geophysical in their Research and Development Division, where he controlled the design and specification of the conversion of avionics initial platform systems for use in positioning seismic research vessels. This entailed the development of an integrated navigation system utilizing Doppler Sonar, transit satellites, inertial platform, and radio navigation systems.

He later developed an integrated radio navigation system for the marine fleet of Geosource and was responsible for the negotiation, sales, and installation of marine navigation systems to the People’s Republic of China.

As World-Wide Marine Manager of Geosource’s Petty Ray Marine Division for Seismic acquisitions, he expanded Petty Ray’s fleet from three to seven vessels and established operations in Latin America, West Africa, and the Far East.

As General Manager of the Starfix Division of John E. Chance & Associates, he developed and managed the Starfix Division which later became OmniStar. This entailed the development and operation of a satellite based navigation system where John E. Chance & Associates established tracking sites, developed orbit tracking software, established a communication system and developed integrated user systems to offer a 2 meter real-time accuracy to its clients. Additional duties entailed the development of a world-wide Differential GPS navigation system utilizing satellites as communication links.

As Chief Scientist for Omnistar, Inc., he coordinated the development and operation of Fugro’s world-wide Differential GPS Service. As a result of the sale of Omnistar, Inc. to Trimble Navigation in May 2011 later bought by Fugro, Dr. Ott has served as Chief Scientist for Fugro Satellite Positioning Services, Inc., involving the development and operation of Fugro’s World-Wide Differential GPS Services. In recognition for his contributions to the satellite navigation systems StarFix and OmniStar, Lee received the 2011 ECpE Engineering Impact Award.

Dr. Lee Ott had a distinguished career in Satellite Positioning, Global Positioning, etc. He was affiliated with numerous professional societies and organizations and was well recognized and respected by all. He has received numerous awards and citations for his accomplishments in the field, and has authored and presented professional papers at conferences all over the world.