I’ve had the great fortune to have Dean work for me the past couple years at Apple.
I’ve spent a lot of time with Dean, one of the few people in my life I would see almost every day. Regularly in the morning he would pop into my office, a smile on his face, and have a quick update on the latest problem. He was always in a good mood, ready to tackle the next challenge.
It was easy to be around Dean, whether it was working through the latest work crisis, or just sitting there between meetings comparing our back pain and the debating latest stretching exercise or treatment idea.
The things that stood out about Dean were his loyalty, his dedication, effectiveness, passion, great teamwork, his caring and selflessness, his friendship, and his dedication to his family.
Dean was very effective in his role, leading the operations new product program management team for Apple’s laptop and airport products. He participated in the introduction of over 30 new products in his 6 years at Apple.
Dean was a loyal Apple employee, always doing what it took to get things done. Dean loved working at Apple, the people at Apple, and of course the products he helped create.
He was dedicated to his work. He often worked all day, got home and then spent the evening on various conference calls with China to ramp the latest new product.
He had a real passion for his work, he was excited about the new products he worked on. No matter what obstacles we had, Dean would plow ahead with a smile on his face, helping motivate the rest of team.
Thursday mornings we have our New Products review meeting, our weekly executive update. You could tell when the time was getting close, as you would see Dean buzzing around the office, cube to cube, making sure the latest updates were in his team’s presentation. When he got more excited, he would take bigger and bigger steps, until it was almost impossible to keep up with him.
Dean really cared about the other Apple employees around him, and especially his team. He has led and developed quite a few great apple employees. Dean always believed in the person first. When they were ready, he helped place several of his senior people in jobs in other organizations, because that was what was right for their career development, not what was easiest for him personally.
The thing I admired most about Dean was his ability to balance his work and his family life. Whether it was his kids sporting events, scout camping trips, or one of his many family vacations, he prioritized the time with his family, and he made it work.
You could always tell the great pride Dean in his family. Jordan playing softball, learning how to drive. The pride he took in Grant’s new passion playing football, or following in his footsteps in scouts. Or some of his crazy vacation adventures. His talked a lot about his grand plan to rent an RV and drive his family through Yellowstone, and he followed through and did it. I think my family would have mutinied, but they did it. A memory to last a lifetime. Not sure those moose pictures with the kids was such a great idea though…
My oldest daughter, Abby, is 16, the same as Jordan. Abby plays water polo for her high school team. One day last week I had a 6:00 meeting scheduled, so this meant I would miss her game. There is always another game, right? I thought to myself, what would Dean do? He would figure out a way to make it to the game. So I canceled the meeting and went to her game.
So that is how Dean is going to live on inside me. The commitment to take the quality time to be with my family. Thank you Dean for this gift you have given me. Showing me through the example of how he lived his life, how to be a great husband and father, and truly be there for your family.
Dean you have been a great friend to me. I will never forget you. Thank you for being such a wonderful example to all of us.