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."
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.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.