Mar 6, 2010

Farewell, Jerry... We'll miss you.

We learned this week of the passing of an old friend, Jerry Holland. Perhaps I should say the unforgettable Jerry Holland. If your path and his had ever crossed, you would remember him. He was bigger than life.

I think I first met Jerry in late 1990. He had come to work for Camber Corporation and opened an office in Crystal City, a huge office complex in Arlington, Virginia. Jerry had presented a business concept to our CEO, Walter Batson, and Walter had hired Jerry on the spot. Jerry had an extensive and successful career in the Army, the last several years of which had involved the acquisition process. He knew the military acquisition process. His idea was to sell support services to program offices that are trying to wend their ways through the countless obstacles and roadblocks that slow down or kill them. He was very successful and soon had one of the largest, most successful Camber divisions.

On several occasions, I flew to Washington to provide support to Jerry's projects and programs. Jerry was a born leader. He exuded a well-founded confidence. A sign over the door to his office stated, "Do something! Lead, follow, or get out of the way." And he meant it. Jerry arrived at the office at or before 5:00 AM. By the time most of us arrive at work, Jerry had done a half-day's work! He was dynamic, concerned about everyone and everything under his management, and a great businessman. His integrity was beyond question. If Jerry made a commitment, it was gold-plated. Because of that, his clients loved him. They came back for further services at a very high rate.
Jerry was also a great judge of people. His bride, Av, was evidence of that! But in the business world, he picked great workers and leaders who became some of Camber's finest. Our president, Joe Alexander, was an early Jerry Holland protégé.

Jerry was a dedicated family man. More than once Margo and I visited Joe and Av (and their beloved St. Bernards!). We could feel the warm friendliness of their home. And Jerry spoke of his family in the most tender, caring terms.

It will take a while for Jerry's departure to sink in. He served on Camber's Board of Directors for many years after he retired, so I got to see him just about every quarter. It's a shame that we don't appreciate each other a little more while we can. Jerry, I will miss you. You have suffered your last. Enjoy the Glory.

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