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[802.3_DIALOG] Hugh Barrass - a friend and colleague - missed but not forgotten

I had the pleasure of knowing Hugh for more than a dozen years.  We both exist in this strange world where friendships live through email, phone calls and approximately bimonthly meetings.  But whether it was sharing breakfast in Beijing, a coffee in Dulles Airport, or debating alternatively for and against each other’s proposals in a Task Force,  I can’t recall an instance when I wasn’t glad to see him.   I knew, when I saw him bounding into a room, down a hallway, or raising a glass, Hugh would bring with him passion, humor and integrity.

Just days ago, I was looking forward to working again with Hugh, as we were hearing the start of his thoughts on energy efficiency for server interconnects in 40GBASE-T.  As is often the case,  on some of the details we didn’t see eye-to-eye, but on the principle and objective we were aligned, and I was glad for his commitment and leadership.   I was anticipating follow on conversations as we filled out the architecture to make a more sustainable Ethernet, but now, will have to grope in the dark to paint the vision by ourselves.   I know from Joel’s thoughts, that others share this sentiment.  Hugh understood energy efficiency and sustainability at a system level, beyond the piece parts that often get us all wound up, and helped us see the forest when we would get lost in the trees.


When I awoke up this morning, I thought of how we were still here, and he was only in memory.  I reflected on how today and the following days, things would be different; how I and others would no longer get the benefit of his insights on issues he was so passionate about, nor would we get the equally valuable benefit of his humor injected at the right point, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously.  But, in that spirit, we must recommit ourselves to, after pausing and remembering, carry on.


Hugh didn’t shirk from poking anyone when they needed it, and took ribbing in return with the same spirit.  I will miss that, even more than as his ability to project a vision, or, sometimes, equally, to unravel one, and I look forward to raising a glass and telling a story or a joke to his memory when we see each other again in July.


George Zimmerman

Principal, CME Consulting

Experts in Advanced PHYsical Communications Technology