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."
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.