We lost a beloved colleague earlier this week. I wanted to take this time and space to express our gratitude for having the great fortune to have known Brett Murphy in his too-short life and share how important he has been to us.
Brett Murphy has been a member of the Industrial Internet Consortium since Real-Time Innovations (RTI) joined within days of our launch in 2014. But not only was Brett a member, he was a trusted colleague, friend, key contributor, voice of reason and shining light to us all.
Brett epitomized the true meaning of the word collaboration. In the many opportunities we had to work with him and to see him in action at our meetings and events, he was a true team player. He was always surrounded by members who were learning from each other and at the same time developing new ideas that would raise everyone’s game. He was a spokesperson for those informal groups and a leader of our formal groups. He brought his scientific and practical mind to the strategic discussions that have shaped this consortium since its inception. We would not have achieved as much as we have thus far, without Brett.
Brett was a Stanford alum, an engineer and a marketer. A technical expert and a visionary. He was passionate and kind. He possessed a calming presence that was complemented by a quick sense of humor and a mischievous streak that merged in the most wonderful, likable way. He could provide the spark for a brainstorm or defuse the tension in the room. It’s why we found him a joy to work with and were honored to call him our friend.
In consortia culture, where contributors offer their precious free time and intellect on top of their day jobs, Brett was always willing to help. He applied his rock-solid reliability to his own brilliant ideas, as well as when called upon to lead a new initiative, so others could learn and follow.
We know the dedication he shared with us was eclipsed by his dedication to his family. We share Brett’s family’s and the RTI family’s grief and thank them for sharing Brett with us for these past 6 years. His contributions, and more importantly, his presence in our lives will never be forgotten.
Brett was my mentor, my colleague, and my friend. I first met him in 2014 at the IIC, where he quickly stood out among the early members for his impressive height and even more impressive contributions. Brett was simply brilliant. He was quick to volunteer and even faster to deliver across a wide spectrum of tasks: Co-chair, lead or contributing author, testbed initiator, and whatever and whenever others needed help. By my count, Brett contributed to eight significant IIC publications, plus many more from his OpenFog days. He was one of those rare individuals who was equally comfortable in technology and business. One of his most endearing qualities was his humble demeanor – he was quick to give praise to others, and reluctant to bask in the limelight. He had a particular talent for using humor and a no-nonsense approach to drive consensus in the working groups. And after a long day of meetings, he could almost always be counted on to lead the way to an eccentric bar for late night drinks (and even a round or two of karaoke). With that in mind, I say good-bye in quoting Irving Berlin, ‘The song has ended, but the melody lingers on.’ And what a poignant melody it is.
Lynne Canavan, co-Chair, Academic Task Group; Director of Ecosystems, RTI
Brett was a great friend and coworker for many years. Brett was one of RTI’s first employees; he started when we were still in the garage. I will always remember Brett as a dedicated, passionate, true team player. He contributed to RTI in so many ways, from building our early vision for DDS (before the standard known as NDDS) early on to helping us develop our medical, IA, and power markets lately. Brett was also a long-term close personal friend and core to RTI’s culture. We will all miss him dearly.
Brett was also our primary representative at the IIC, taking many leadership roles. He was talented in both technology and business, but his greatest talent was more interpersonal. Brett had an uncanny way of getting everyone to work together, even when emotions ran high and politics stung. That’s what made him so valuable at the IIC. In a very real way, he embodied the cooperative spirit of the IIC mission. In a political environment, Brett was always the one who could articulate why we had to work together. He bound us together like few others. Brett was a visionary, and a fierce advocate for the best solution. But, he knew that we must, after all, work together to build a future.
Brett will never see that future. None of us will. The transformations that he helped instigate will take thousands of people and decades of effort. Thank you, Brett, for being the perfect source of team spirit. We owe you a debt we can only repay by living up to your lead. We will not forget.
Stan Schneider, RTI CEO, Industrial Internet Consortium, Steering Committee Member
As with many others who know Brett, I am shocked and deeply saddened by this news.
Brett and I first met in September 2014 during an IIC member meeting in Austin where he lived. Since then I have had the fortune to collaborate with Brett over several projects within IIC and co-authored several technical papers until recently, including one just by two of us.
Working with Brett over these years, I, like many others, found very early on that Brett was a very capable and productive colleague. And he was also a very helpful and dependable partner. He could always be counted on delivering things that he promised and more. Brett was at the top of my go-to person list for work in IIC when I encountered issues needing advice and support.
Brett was a tall figure and when we both stood talking, I always needed to look up to him. What I remember seeing was a friendly face with a calm demeanor and a voice of reason and wit.
All these make him such a great guy to work with!
Last time Brett and I talked substantially was on the bus ride to the IIC member dinner in Cork, Ireland last year. During that conversation, Brett discussed his condition with me in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner and a just-need-to-deal-with-it attitude. Knowing a bit of a similar situation, I thought to myself what inner strength and hope Brett must bear within him to carry out his life and work so positively and even cheerfully under such serious difficulties.
It is hard to accept that Brett, such a lively and kind person, has just left us.
Brett, you have done a lot for IIC and for all of us.
You will be missed!
Shi-Wan Lin, CEO & Co-Founder, Thingswise, co-Chair, Technology Working Group
Brett was tall in stature, but his character was taller. He was someone everyone had to look up to, literally and figuratively. He lent everyone his ear, was equitable and had a distinct knack to pacify and unify seemingly irreconcilable content and opinions. He will be sorely missed.
Terrance Milligan, Project Manager, IIC