Today I received an email that a friend passed away. Steve Leonard and I worked together at Computer Science Corporation (CSC) for a few years on a number of projects. I consider Steve much more than a co-worker, I also consider him a friend.
Steve was one of those guys that you either liked or you didn't. He was sometimes caustic in his approach, and sometimes his style got in the way of getting what he wanted.
Underneath that exterior was someone who truly cared not only about the work that he was doing, but also about the people that he worked with. What some people saw as abrasiveness was truly a passion to get things done. While many people tell you what you want to hear, Steve was never afraid to tell you how he saw things.
Although Steve and I were about the same age, he had been in the IT field much longer than I, and he was my technology mentor and and staff manager. Our styles and skills really complimented each others, and he pulled me on a number of projects with him.
One of the jobs of a staff manager is to advocate for their staffee during reviews. Steve was one of the few staff managers that I knew who was truly a passionate advocate for his staffees. Unlike some who didn't want to rock the boat, Steve was willing to put his own reputation and self on the line for those that he cared about.
I will miss Steve. I had heard from him a month or two ago, and we were going to try to get together when I come home his summer. The return home will be a little sadder.