Colin Holland, a longtime electronics-industry journalist who also played a leading role in organizing the technical programs of several high-profile conferences, died on Thursday in a London hospice after a year-long battle with cancer.
Holland's 35-year career in the business-to-business press was capped with his stint at EE Times publisher UBM Tech, which he joined full time in 2008. His initial responsibilities revolved around Embedded and the DesignLines. In 2011, Holland became content director for the ARM TechCon conference. Early last year, DesignCon and the DESIGN West and East conferences were added to his charter. Holland had told colleagues he considered his work on those events to be the most exciting post he'd ever held.
"In his most recent role as Content Director for our events, Colin had an extraordinary impact on our portfolio of conferences," said Kathy Astromoff, CEO of UBM Tech, Electronics. "His ability to intuit what engineers need to know was unmatched. More importantly, his many friends and colleagues at UBM – some of whom go back 30 years with Colin – will sorely miss his energy and ironic humor." Colin Holland at ARM TechCon in October, 2011, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Holland was one of a generation of British-born business-to-business journalists who built upon science educations to facilitate communications between industry and engineering professionals about the technology and business of electronics. His wide-ranging experience included stints at the UK publications Electronic Technology, Electronic Engineering, What's New In Electronics (WNIE), and Electronics Times.
As print gave way to the Web in the early 2000s, he served as online editor-in-chief for Embedded Systems Engineering and editor of Embedded Systems Europe.
Holland came back into the UBM orbit in 2006 when he was tapped for a freelance assignment to help start up EE Times Europe.
"I knew Colin for a long time as we worked on competing print publications in the UK where I quickly learned to respect his integrity and reporting style," said UBM Tech CEO Paul Miller. "I was delighted to have the chance to work with him on the same team when we launched EE Times in Europe and found that we had a great deal in common.
"We quickly became more than boss and employee and would spend much of our time together sharing our mutual passion for English lower league soccer," Miller said. "For me, Colin’s support for Charlton Athletic said a lot about him as a person. Loyal, supporting his soccer team and his work team with a passion and commitment that went beyond the call of duty, he did not put on, nor suffer, airs and graces and no matter how tough the going got, Colin was always there cheering on the team and bringing a sense of authenticity, reality – and a little levity – to situations that would have crushed many of us. Colin was just a great guy; honest, funny and caring."
Such a shock, so sad. The industry has lost a real legend. Every call, every meeting I ever had with Colin ended in talking about the football. As a lifelong Cardiff fan I'd been suffering in the same lowly divisions almost as long as Colin had with his beloved Charlton. So we shared all the pain, shared all the frustrations, but always fell about laughing. Glad and proud to have known you Colin. I'll raise a glass in your honour at the next home game. Am byth a beunydd.
I knew him from the UBM-Technical webinars. I appreciated his competences in area of the embedded systems and his personality very high. I was very touched and sad as I heard that he had been died. I wish his family and workmates my cordial condolence.
Sad news. I met Colin only once at an embedded event in England. I was new to the industry, but Colin treated me like a member of the team. He was completely engaging and personable, with some good stories to match. Rest in peace, Colin.
So, so sad to hear this. I can't say I knew Colin well but at events he seemed to know everyone and know them well. I am in awe of people who have that ability and Colin had it in spades. The ESC/TechCon world will be a little less fun without him around.
I kept in touch with Collin regularly and he was very helpful in helping us with launching products of a startup I was running. He was open to ideas and was always soliciting inputs from the industry at large on directions embedded design line.
He will be missed. A wonderful person who always had a smile for you, showed interest in what you were doing. Farewell.
Our prayers and wishes are with Collin's family on this sad event.
Standing way above the Thames shortly after Miller Freeman defected to the Dark Side, Colin said "I can see my house from here, but it takes me an hour to get in since we moved from Woolwich. Still, I can see The Valley as well so it can't be all bad". Didn't Charlton do him proud at the weekend. As a Palace supporter, Colin and I always had something to talk about because no matter how hard you tried to get him to concentrate on the product that you really wanted him to enthuse over, he would always want to analyse the last time the teams met. And that's what endeared me to him. I was never hot on the technical side, but Colin was patient, always found a common ground which created a smile, a joke and almost certainly a beer afterwards. From one bearded, bespectacled scribe to another, "Goodbye old friend, you made your mark".