Thanks, Rob, for the excellent obit. Like Rob, I was working at Electronics Magazine when Bob arrived as Editor in 1985. My association with Bob continued through years at CMP on EBN and the Semiconductor Business News web/print startup. Rob and I started The Semiconductor Reporter daily news website in 2002, and Bob soon became one of our most important assets with his weekly column in which he neatly digested the major industry events of the week and imprinted them with his insightful perspective born of all those years of experience and his unique understanding of what goes on beneath the surface. I got the strong impression from a number of reader comments that Bob's column was the only item they made sure to read every time it came out. One of Bob's great studies was the strategies and approaches and the people themselves in the PR community, and they could rarely put one over on him. He could knife through the BS and not only maintain the respect of those folks, but many enduring friendships among them as well.
I was able to keep semireporter.com going until 2007 (Rob moved on to IC Insights in 2003) when I crashed a motor scooter, which laid me up for a while. The site had paying subscribers, but not enough revenue to hire a full-time employee with the talents to run the daily site while my bones knitted up. So alas went the last industry publishing vehicle that Bob contributed to regularly.
I'm one of many that learned a great deal from Bob about journalism applied to the electronics industry, shaping an editorial product, and finding ways to add value to that product in the service of readers. He was a mentor and a teacher – and a no-nonsense boss who could wind you up in a hurry. It's a shame the publishing industry can no longer support the kind of organization Bob was so good at building and running. He trained so many of us so well, and what are most of us doing now?
Bob was the very first person that inspired me to write at CMP. I told him that I always loved to write poetry and stories when I was younger, and he encouraged me to try my hand at technical writing. He said he could only teach me so much - I either had it or I didn't. He started me out writing for Electronic Marketing News. He taught me well. The very first time I saw my name in print, I was hooked. I was lucky that I "had it." I was able to enjoy a wonderful career at CMP, which I will always be grateful for - Thank you Bob - You were the best!
About 25 years ago, when Electronic World News was launched, there was no online mechanism to serve global readers or collect industry news. We had to produce pages on Long Island and transmit them to newspaper printing plants in Europe and Singapore for distribution in in Asia and Europe. About 5-10 years later, EWN would have been an Internet site, but that wouldn't have been as much fun (or challenging). We had to do it the old fashioned way with many long international flights and print deadlines. That's where Bob's experience was so critical. Being a great editor, Bob also helped many of us "print" journalist make the transition to the World Wide Web in the 1990s. Every time I write something (now in market research reports) I can hear Bob's demands to make it clear and cover the important changes underway in the dynamic electronics and semiconductor industries. We all miss him for sure.
For those interested in honoring Bob's memory, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Robbinston Volunteer Fire Department or Robbinston Historical Society in lieu of flowers. I forgot to include the mailing address, if anyone is interested: P.O. Box 39, Robbinston, ME 04671. Thank you--everyone--for your memories of Bob.
I was saddened to learn of Bob's passing. I too was one of the journalists Bob hired to cover Europe for the newly established Electronic World News. A strong supporter of women before it was popular (those he mentored were called the "Henkettes"), he was also a reporter-first type of journalist. Not the strongest in science or having any technical knowledge of the electronics industry didn't trouble him in the least. "Get the story like you'd get any story," he would encourage me, noting he had extremely sharp editors, who knew the business and would help (Thanks Rich and Rob and Ron and Loring and Alex... Privately, Bob was warm and generous, an adoring husband who loved his adopted community in Maine. I was so lucky to spend some time with him and Bobbi at his beautiful home on the bay. He will be missed.
Hi Rob - many thanks for your Blog. I am very saddened to hear about the passing of Bob Henkel. Back in early to mid-2002 I "discovered" Bob's ruminations on the semiconductor industry that appeared weekly on the web. At that time I had recently retired from IBM's Microelectronics Division and was in the early throes of developing my global semi sales forecasting model and had shared with him the model's thinking on forecast results relative to what he was posting / sharing with his readers on the topic. If my memory serves me right he was also a contributor to your and Jeremy Young's website, The Semiconductor Reporter, back in 2002. In one of my e-mail exchanges with Bob he asked if I would be interested / willing to pay a subscription fee for access to a website that specialized in tracking the "comings and goings" of the semiconductor industry. I indicated that yes I would be interested provided the reporting was of high quality and included good interpretation of what the news meant. Well not long after that I was introduced to The Semiconductor Reporter website that you and Jeremy started up back then and which, I believe, Bob was influential in introducing both of you to my model, the Cowan LRA forecasting model. This turned out to be the start of our relationship and my forecasting "career" as a forecaster on your website back in August 2002. Twelve years later I am still a practitioner of forecasting global semiconductor sales (see the following URL: http://www.wesrch.com/profile-mikecowan-313); all this because of my chance interaction with Bob back in 2002.
Many THANKS Bob Henkel and especially to your memory.
Mike Cowan, independent semi industry market watcher and creator of the Cowan LRA Model for forecasting global semiconductor sales.
I first met Henkel in a hotel restaurant for breakfast in the spring on 1991. He and Rob (the author of the good obit above) were interviewing me for a job as a bureau guy in Hong Kong for EWN.
I was green and petrified of course and thought for sure I blew it. Lucky me, I got the job and it changed my life. Thanks for the opportunity Bob and Rob!
Later in NY I recall Henkel's weekly faxed newsletter to electronics executives was a very cool product. Then for awhile there was Electronic Marketing News...was that the name?
In those early days I think I was just keeping my head down and trying to stay out of Henkel's way. That said, I recall he was one of the guys publisher Girish Mhatre insisted read the first cover story for OEM Magazine. It was the most over-edited magazine story I ever worked on. It was about "digital convergence" then all the buzz and a subject of Wall Street reports. It talked about everything from super set top boxes to PDAs. Henkel's comment "This is going to be one heck of a battle royale!"
There are many fond memories of Bob when we worked together at the Electronics Group at CMP. He was an editor that had everyone's respect and admiration. He had a Midwestern work ethic and was warm and approachable. A rare combination in the rough and tumble high tech publishing world. We had great times and stories as we traveled the world together foe World Electronic News. Rob, will you ever forget that flight from Paris to Tokyo via Moscow? Lots of challenges he always met with style and grace. He and Bobbie spent years building their dream home in Maine and I'm so happy they had time to enjoy it with their family. Best wishes to Bobbie and rest in peace my friend.
As this orbit by Rob pointed out, I am one of the reporters who started out in a foreigh bureau (Tokyo) for EE Times when Henkel was the editorial director at CMP -- which later became UBM. I stil remember one summer day when I was first invited to visit Manhasset, NY (where CMP was headquatered). Henkel personally showed me around the offices and introdueced me to many people working there. He didn't have to, but he gave his time to his reporters, and enjoyed getting engaged in debates with them. So did us reporters!