Colin Robert Holland was born in Weymouth, England on July 22, 1953. He attended The Hardye School in Dorchester and went on to Plymouth Polytechnic where he graduated in 1976 with a B.Sc. in Physical Sciences.
Even before he became a journalist, Holland had gained experience as an organizer serving his college in the southwest of England in a paid position where we was responsible for a student newspaper, arranged publicity and helped organize pop music acts to entertain the students. He did this for a year after his own graduation in 1976.
In 1977, when he moved to London to join Electronic Technology, the publication of the Society of Electronic & Radio Technicians, as an assistant editor, he was putting those skills to work. Still only in his mid-20s Holland was editing the monthly members' magazine as well as helping organize technical conferences on microprocessor testing, on writing technical documentation, on consumer electronics and other topics. The breadth and unstinting nature of his involvement was something that would mark his career.
Holland handing out a coveted Best in Show Award at ARM TechCon 2011.
In 1982, after a brief period as production editor on The Accountant magazine, Holland joined the publishing house of Morgan Grampian in Woolwich, southeast London, as production editor for a U.K. monthly technical magazine called Electronic Engineering under its editor-in-chief Ron Neale.
These were the glory years of controlled circulation publishing with monthly issues often in excess of 200 pages and put together by a staff of just three or four editors with secretarial support. Neale recalls that Holland was organized, diligent and multi-talented. Holland was the one team member who could turn his hand to any and all aspects of what was a complex process of turning typewritten copy into a perfect-bound magazine that was distributed to electronic engineers across the U.K.
It was at this time that Holland applied his passion for sports to supporting Charlton Athletic Football Club, his local soccer team. Holland never had the physique of an athlete but he came from a sporting family. His father had played soccer as goalkeeper for Weymouth and for the county of Dorset as an amateur and was also a wicketkeeper at cricket. Holland loved most sports and was no fair-weather fan. As a season-ticket holder he would support Charlton at almost every game throughout the season from August to May. Alternate weekends were often marked by marathon rail trips across England to away games and soccer was a source of much of his social life. At times he combined his work skills with his hobby, editing a fan's magazine (fanzine) called Valiants Viewpoint.
Over 18 years – as Morgan Grampian evolved to become Miller Freeman – Holland helped launch the U.K. "product book" What's New In Electronics (WNIE), then served as products and distribution editor on the weekly U.K. newspaper Electronics Times before taking on the editorship of WNIE in March 1997, a task he performed for three years.
But times were changing. Miller Freeman moved from Woolwich where Holland had established himself in an apartment on Shooters Hill and so he took the opportunity to try his hand as a free-lance. During the period 2001 to 2008 he undertook numerous assignments as well as being the online editor for Embedded Systems Engineering and editor of Embedded Systems Europe.
In 2006 Holland, while still working on a freelance basis, was called upon to help launch EE Times Europe in print and online and he again thrived as an organizational and production lynchpin, this time for what was a pan-European editorial team that was linked by email and online chat-rooms. Many of the operational systems that launched the publication were devised by Holland during the frequent visits he made to the publication's base in Brussels, Belgium, during the startup phase.
The EE Times Europe experience and his editorial direction of Embedded Systems Europe ultimately evolved into his full-time position at UBM Tech, culminating in his conference-program leadership.
"When we were struggling to fill a leadership role for our Design West conference in late 2011," UBM Tech CEO Miller said. "Colin simply stepped up and saved the day. He took to traveling the 6000 miles to San Francisco in true Colin style. He was concerned at the expense so he booked 'Fly Drive' vacation packages spurning the higher priced hotels for local motels and, boy, did he deliver! Despite the workload, every time Colin came to San Francisco he would bring British candy for the team and always leave me a magazine or book on soccer when he left. I’ve been in this industry for over 25 years and I would put Colin at the very top in terms of people I have known and worked with – I will simply miss him very much. He was truly a class act."
Notwithstanding his heavy technical bent, Holland was also known as a sociable person. Karen Field, UBM Tech senior vice president, content for electronics, said he had: "an enthusiasm, engagement, and humor that were evident to everyone he came in contact with."
Holland is survived by brothers Tony and Brian and their families, as well as extensive network of friends and contacts made through work and his love of sport.
The first time I met Colin, donkeys years ago, we quickly moved away from electronics to the important topic of football, and discovered we supported each others’ fiercest rivals – Charlton Athletic (Colin) and Millwall (me).
“I expect we’ll get along all right,” he laughed. Over many a beer, you bet we did. The best thing I can say is that when I attended any industry event and Colin wasn’t there I felt let down. It deprived me of football chat and banter, and watching him in the nicest possible way ask a question to catch the presenter on the hop. A brilliant technique, it always elicited a better response than aggression.
He was, I reckon, a professional journalist, one of the best in the electronics industry, and a professional football supporter. He never let football get in the way of doing a first class job. Neither did he let work hinder his football attendance. He’d think nothing of stepping off an overnight flight to Heathrow from the West Coast and heading straight to wherever Charlton were playing home or away.
You couldn’t even begin a head count of Colin’s friends in the publishing and electronics industries. We will miss the smile, the bonhomie greatly as will his family to whom I send my sincerest condolences.
Absoluted shocked by this news.
Mick's reply above sums my feelings for Colin up also. A great journalist, and an all round good guy. It was a pleasure to meet Colin at events, and catch up with the latest gossip. He always had time for a chat, a bit of banter and a beer. He will be missed by all in the industry
Colin was a true global journalist who made great contributions to our industry. I would just as easily run into him in Grenoble as Silicon Valley. I could not have a short conversation with him. We always spent an hour or so discussing the state of things as they are. Colin was never shy to push back, but always did so with his genteel British style. I'll miss him.
It's a very sad day. Having known Colin for years I will really miss him. If there was someone at a press conference or event you were always going to say 'hello' to and have a chat, it was Colin. His commitment to whatever he did – whether it involved writing, editing or Charlton, or getting N trains to a distant distributor close to where Charlton had an away game – was legendary.
Sorry to see you go Colin.
Colin Holland passing on is a loss to all who knew him, a gentleman who always had a kind word and charm but also a journalist got the heart of the story he wrote... Colin was a great supporter of afdec and attended many of the early meetings, travelling from Woolwich to The Tower Hotel in Roy Atterbury’s 1600E Cortina... “We always stopped for a kebab on the way home and he (Roy) without fail would always find a way of getting me to pay for it!” he joked, grinning widely... For me it summed up Colin’s good natured humour...
Often in the morning I'd catch up Colin, at which point he was well into his day on the other side of the pond. We'd talk, and by the end a good hour would have passed and I wouldn't have realized it. I'd always come away the better for having spoken with him: He was an inspiration on so many levels, personally and professionally. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming from the football pitch of life, after overtime, after the penalty shootout, and after some bloke in shorts blew the final whistle. He didn't care, he just wanted to play on. He was our captain, and he never let us down. I - and by extension my own family - am better for having known him. His legacy will ripple for years to come. Thank you Colin - and Cheers to you too!
As another former colleague on Electronics Times, I can only echo other's comments about Colin's kindness and generosity. As a rugby rather than a football fan, I admit that my ears still prick up at the mention of Charlton as their performance could be used as a barometer for Colin's mood on a Monday morning. He'll be missed
To me and I am sure to everyone who knew him, the news of Colin’s death is such very sad news and the great loss of someone who had so much more to give and contribute. I had the pleasure of working with Colin after I joined Electronic Engineering as editor in 1978. He was initially my Production Editor and later Products Editor and willingly carried the load that underpinned the success of Electronic Engineering at that time. I suppose if he (Colin) had to write my report card at that time, one line might have read, “Knows a lot about electronics and physics but nothing about publishing”. Colin helped to put that right before he moved on to greater success and for that I will always be indebted to him.
He became a lifelong friend and we often chatted about the great love of his life football (soccer to US readers) and the club he supported Charlton Athletic. There are many amusing football related anecdotes that come to mind- one I remember occurred when we were traveling together with the rest UK technical press core to Dallas for a press conference. Colin persuaded the American Airlines captain to radio back to London to get the 5.00pm Saturday football results and read them over the public address system for all football leagues with some rather interesting pronunciations. Happy Days. Goodbye to a really nice guy.