As premier 100 alumni, we have come to build great relationships and respect for one another among the very best CIOs in the world. So when it was time to convene again for the 8th annual Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference in Palm Springs, CA., we had to pause for a moment and show our respects to a fallen friend, Bob Schwartz - CIO of Panasonic, who left us at the very young age of 55. Bob was a true friend, a mentor to many, a leader in the industry, a larger than life persona. And many of us that knew him celebrated life and professional successes together. But it was the little things on the golf course that brought incredible joy to Bob. We could still see him light up his cigar after a perfect shot for a birdie on the green in hole 17th at the Palms Golf Course at the Dessert Palms JW Marriot, one of his favorite holes ever. And he would say looking at Ron Milton....who is better than us Ron? Who?
So walking quietly and holding a poster picture of Bob towards the green on 17th, Ron Milton, Frank Enfanto, Matt Sweeney, Leo Leger, Dale Franz, Thornton May, Gregg Pinsky, Bill Laberis, Julia King, Don Tennant, Enzo Micali, Chris Johnson, Greg Smith, Matt Duffy, John Amato, Larry Thomas, Peter Wise, Derek Hulitzky and your truly followed a bagpiper to perform a ball ceremony, share a few words and to toast to our friend with his favorite scotch.
Full of emotion but with a confident tone of jubilation for Bob's legacy, we all performed a beautiful ball ceremony. One ball dropped near the cup for Bob and the rest of the balls simultaniously trown in the water that surrounds that beautiful hole. Right afterwards, Ron and Frank said very emotional and profound words that were fitting of Bob's larger that life style. And to end it, we toasted to our friend as we listened to the notes of amazing grace masterfully performed by our bagpiper.
So long Bob. We shall see each other again!
I went looking for Bob Schwartz on line...it had been a while since I'd heard from him. I ran IT for Panasonic Avionics and regularly visited Bob and his team at Panasonic North America. He was the genuine article...a real kick in the pants who always told it straight and always had the chops to back him up. I'm terribly saddended by this news - and even though it's been a year, I just want to tip my hat to Bob here as well. I can still hear him doing his damn fine Sinatra imitation surrounded by friends in Secaucus. Cheers Bob...you're still missed.
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