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."
In common with many others who’ve written here, I’ve known Colin for nearly 25 years, and was deeply saddened by this morning’s news. One of my earliest memories is of inviting him to the old Wembley Stadium to watch the Charity Shield (Man U v. Liverpool, I think) from a hospitality suite when I was Marketing Manager at Rohm Electronics. Colin was very gracious about my obvious ignorance of football’s finer points, and thanks to his infectious enthusiasm I enjoyed the match immensely. A couple of years later - when I started to write for Microwave Engineering Europe - I found myself as one of his colleagues at Morgan-Grampian/Miller Freeman/CMP. Much later we both worked on a freelance basis for EBP in Brussels, where he was a great source of advice on successful magazine production from a distance. More recently I’ve been talking with him regularly from the ‘other side of the fence’ in PR, which really made no difference to Colin – whatever the situation he was always happy to chat, advise, or be persuaded to attend a press conference. As many of you have said, he was invariably ready with a smile and a funny story, rarely had a bad word to say about anyone, and was a thoroughly professional editor as well as one of the nicest people I’ve known. He will be greatly missed, and is a real loss to our industry.
Goodbye Colin, truly one of a kind but also one of the best.
What a sad day. Colin was a terrific journalist and an all-around good guy. I'll miss his good humor and insights shared when running into him at conferences and events. Even more, the industry will miss his byline.
Deepest condolences to his UBM colleagues and family.
I worked with Colin , on and off, for over 25 years and a more professional and nicer guy you could not wish to have on the team. When I edited Electronics Times and a vacancy came up for a Products Editor, I could not be bothered with the usual niceties and rushed down a floor of Morgan Grampian towers and put an application form in his hands (Sorry, Ron). Boy, did I make the right decision! The electronics industry , never mind the electronics fourth estate, lost a great guy, and me a very close friend.
I will truly miss our chats ( more often than not one sided, especially when it came to football, cricket, etc) and his forever happy demeanour , and more latterly our phone calls.
Just one of many potential anecdotes-- inevitably football related. With an edition of Distribution Times to be passed by 9am the following morning, Colin , with still a feature to write at 7 pm, heaved himself up and announced he was off to see an FA cup replay at Charlton. He ignored my raised eyebrows, and, of course, the special issue did go to the printers at 9am.
Cheers, Colin, we will all miss you
Colin occupied the desk to mine on my first day as a journalist -- May 14, 1984 -- when I came in to work on Electronic Engineering in Woolwich.
He showed me the ropes.
And, off and on, he has been at a desk next to mine ever since, although it has been increasingly a virtual desk.
It is hard to accept he is not there helping to make things better; either by getting stuck in to the work, or with a suggestion, or with a joke; and usually all of the above.
A great character that is gone too soon.
This is sad news indeed. I first met Colin when I started out as a journalist. Looking back it was a wonderful time to be covering the industry with a great collection of UK journalists from several vibrant magazines. Colin was one such journalist, and a lovely bloke. Sincere condolences to his family. Roy Rubenstein.
When anyone dies with so much left to give it is sad, and leaves a hole in the life of their family and friends.
But Colin's passing will leave a hole in the industry. The amount of cheer and humour has dropped, the electronics world is a little drabber than it was.
I first met Colin at the the first press conference I attended and he has always seemed to be there: asking shrewd questions, happy to grab a pint afterwards, seeming to know everything about every technology.
He will be missed. I hope the affection & regard he is held by colleagues & the industry is some consolation to family & friends at a sad time.
This is so sad. I met Colin numerous times at work, our events or at the bar. His infectious smile and sense of humor always brought a smile to my face.
He was the lifeline of our Design Events and a dear friend. No words can do justice to this loss and he will be deeply missed.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
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