BILL REICH passed away late last month. He was not the CEO of his company, or the founder. He didn't hold any patents, and his name was not synonymous with a mixer, or decoder, or modulation format. But he was one of the truly decent people in the microwave industry and probably did more for his company, Narda Microwave-East (an L3 Communications Co.), than even many of his colleagues realize.
Bill was a regular at industry trade shows, including the IEEE MTT-S. He was a superb representative for Narda, well versed on the company's product lines (across several microwave divisions) and skilled at getting exposure for the newest products. His easy manner and conspiratorial tone would persuade a technical editor to smuggle those Narda data sheets quietly away from the show floor where they could be used for an exclusive report or product feature.
Bill earned exposure for his company without abusing his relationships with the press. When he pulled an editor aside to unveil details about a new product line, that editor could count on this being newsworthy and not another "me-too" product. Bill's story suggestions to this magazine have led to reports on such things as the industry's first full line of coaxial millimeter-wave components, ground-breaking broadband E-and H-field radiation probes and monitors, and the industry's first selective radiation meter to name a few, while establishing excellent contacts with some of Narda's most talented engineering people, including Ed Aslin, John Mruz, Bob Johnson, and Richard Strickland.
If a single word could be associated with Bill, it was "honesty." He was often painfully blunt, bordering on insulting. But if you sought an opinion from Bill, you could count on it being real and being truly how he felt. And his opinion was not without weight, since his views were based on a wide range of sources and inputs from around the industry.
Bill was a natural teacher, although his lessons were often harsh. With few exceptions not a fan of magazine advertising people, Bill once showed a less-than-prepared sales representative for this magazine the door with the advice to "read the Narda catalog before scheduling another appointment with him." To that salesperson's credit, they did study the catalog before attempting (and securing) another appointment with Bill.
Bill leaves behind a loving family and many friends. But he also leaves us with one final lesson: be true to oneself. He was a throwback to a time when one's word was bindingBill meant what he said and said what he meant. In an age when too many " politically correct" people string words together like steps through a minefield, Bill Reich will be sorely missed.