Great men in my life.
In my first post on this site (Will work for Tools!), I mentioned how my Grandfather had inspired me to become an Engineer. Today, I write in sadness about the loss of three men, all this year, and the profound effects each of them had on my life and my engineering career. Please allow me to honor each of these men in the order in which I came to know them.
Ron Borrelli, December 1, 1933 to November 3, 2007. Ron, a Co-founder of Zehntel, a manufacturer of automatic test systems (later acquired by Teradyne), was one of the first men who made me feel as if I could make a difference to a company. Prior to meeting Ron, work was one of the things that I did to earn a check. Ron changed that for me, by making everyone that worked for him feel as if the work that they did, really did matter to the success of the company. But Ron did even more than that for me. He gave me a chance to lead people and projects. On several occasions he gave me a blank sheet of paper and asked me to gave him something 'new'. Working with him, and the great staff that he had gathered, I was allowed and encouraged to 'think outside of the box' to build something unique.
Meeting Ron for the first time, I was in awe of the man. He seemed bigger than life. Only after getting to know him better, did I realize that he was a real family man (he loved to keep pictures of his family near him) and a great friend. Ron was a rock, he took on challenges head on (in life and in work). Ron was also a compassionate and understanding person, helping me through tough times in both my personal and professional live.
Nabil Garas, August 15, 1942 to March 7, 2007. Nabil was one of the warmest and kindest souls that I had ever had the opportunity to work with. I met Nabil while working at Varian Instruments. Nabil's background was in Chemistry, but he knew how to work with, and get the best out of Engineers. Nabil was in charge of system test and integration of features and bug fixes for Varian's line of Workstation software. I ran into Nabil during one of the lowest periods of my life (recovery from my first marriage and a string of bad jobs). Nabil was able to help me find my way through life and work, encouraging me to grow in ways that I was unaware that I needed. I really looked forward to our talks and would seek him out in both good times and in times of need.
William (Bill) Young, October 31, 1921 to January 8, 2007. Bill gave me one of the greatest gifts of my life, my wife. About ten years after my first marriage ended, I met my new wife Kathy. She took me home to meet her parents shortly before our wedding. Her folks were getting on in age and did not travel well, so we thought that it was better for us to visit them prior to our wedding. What great and accepting people. I was made to feel a part of the family instantly. Bill, a retired Engineer, was a kind, gentle and modest man, who thought deeply and spoke softly. We spent many hours discussing ideas and inventions (some silly and some deep). In picking a name for my new venture, it was Bill I thought of most. Now Young Embedded Systems, LLC. is in business as a tribute to him, a way to carry on the family name (at least in spirit).
It's strange how life brings important people into, and out of, your life so freely. You never know how much time you will get to spend with the people that touch you deeply. I know that I am a better person today, for the experience of knowing these men. I can only hope that I will touch others in that way, so as to have made them also better people.
Always looking for ways to improve, both personally and professionally.
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