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.
Colin was a fine English gentleman, great journalist and always greeted you with a smile and a genuine interest in what you had to say. It has been my pleasure to have worked with him over much of my career. He will be sorely missed by the electronics industry, but moreso as a truly fine individual. Jim
I first met Colin well over 30 years ago when he was assistant editor at SERT, and after a rather staid press conference at the Institute of Directors we were led to an excellent pub by his friend and fellow West Country man Ian Channing. Colin and I instantly hit it off, and it was fairly obvious that he was destined for greater things. In the heady days of the 1980s, with product magazines at their peak and press events, trade shows and product launches proliferating, Colin and I bumped into each other most weeks, and although our interests were poles apart we always found something to chat about.
As someone who has no interest in football, I was at first bemused by Colin’s single-minded dedication to Charlton Athletic, but so entertaining were his anecdotes about following them round the country in the company of an assorted bunch of fans that, to this day, I can’t see or hear the name “Charlton” without immediately thinking of Colin.
Possibly less well known is that he was a dedicated fan of Loudon Wainwright III, and he managed to get away from a conference in Switzerland to see his idol at a folk club on the outskirts of Zurich!
I was so pleased to see him just before Christmas, when he made a special effort to turn up to a client's lunch. It was then that I learnt that, as he put it, “I’m living on borrowed time".
In all my dealings with Colin, he was unfailingly charming, friendly and genuinely interested in what you were saying. To my two assistants, Jean and Dawn, he was one of the easiest people to deal with, and I know they will join me in offering our deepest condolences to his family.
I first worked with Colin in 1987 until I paths went seperate ways in 2002. I am not sure that I can add much to all of the previous writers comments other than to say I am in total agreement with them all. I have many memories of times spent with Colin, on the personal side when I took my children and a few of their friends to 'Kids for a Quid Night' at CAFC Colin was so kind and not only met us all at the gate but had bought Charlton souveniers for all of the children, probably in an effort to convert them to life long supporters of his beloved football club. That was almost 20 years ago and they still remember it to this day. In the work place there are many anecdotes to recall but the one that will live with me forever was in the Docklands office. Following a desk reshuffle Colin felt that the fax machine was to near his desk and was way to noisy for him to concentrate on his writing.....he had his own solution.... that was to snip the telephone wire supplying the data to the fax machine with scissors....genius and still makes me chuckle to this day. May you rest in peace Colin. Steve
What a waste. A sad morning when I read Peter Clarke's column.
I met Colin briefly in ARM Techcon 2011, and had a cheerful conversation. As everyone said, he got a wide smile in his face, and sharp data in his mind.
This is a sad loss both personally and for our industry. Colin was one of the good guys. Great to work with, always gave you his honest opinion and never took your word out of context.
A sad for day for everyone who knew him, my thoughts are with his fsmily.
Such a sad and tragic loss.
Colin was a great bloke to work with, he was a true friend to me and my colleagues at EDA, EBP and at UBM, always sharing, patient, good humoured and helpful.
I'll miss his endless enthusiasm, joviality, generosity, kind nature, his love of a lengthy gossip and his west country burr.
A great guy and taken away from us far too soon.
Rest in peace Colin.
It was a real pleasure to have known you.