The top three software developers that ever worked for triOS College are shown here from left to right: Orion, Bob, and me. Unfortunately, this week we lost Bob to a courageous and difficult battle with cancer.
I’ve known and worked with Bob Gunderson since the beginning of triOS College 25 years ago, when it was called triOS Career Academy and triOS College of Information Technology. He was a talented software developer who taught our early web and software development courses before becoming the Faculty Head, and eventually the senior developer of our own internal software system (called XCAS).
Bob was the posterboy lifelong learner with an open mind and great sense of humour. Students loved being in his class, the XCAS team looked up to him as a mentor, and pretty much everyone else in the company adored his charismatic and easy-going personality. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everyone liked Bob. That’s right - everyone!
And even though Bob was incredibly tech-savvy, he never engaged in social media, hosted a personal website, or maintained an online presence of any kind. That wasn’t his style. So I’ve dedicated this post in posterity to Bob. When former students, co-workers, and friends Google his name, they’ll see this tribute that isn’t enough for someone so deserving.
Like so many people at the college, I developed a friendship with Bob beyond the workplace. We know him as an eternal optimist who loved horror movies, dogs, vintage cars, Mr. Sub, Diet Pepsi/Coke (which comprised the contents of his briefcase at work), and building tripped-out custom PCs (like me, he was a hardcore computer hardware junkie that never missed a Linus Tech Tips episode).
Bob was always there to help with anything and in any capacity… with a smile! When I was tasked with saving our video game development program back in 2011, I asked Bob if he’d be willing to attend each weekly video game faculty call so that afterwards he and I could bounce ideas off of each other. He could have easily said ‘No’ because of the time involved and his XCAS duties, but he didn’t, and it led to us fixing problems very quickly. In the 4 years I ran weekly faculty calls for video game, Bob only missed one call.
He was also up for learning any technology, no matter how daunting. When XNA game studio came out in 2006, it intruiged us both, so we spent all day Saturday until after 3:00AM Sunday playing with it, instant messaging each other back and forth online about the things we discovered and issues we had until we both mastered it. Bob and I repeated that process a few a dozen times since to learn new technologies, and it was a blast each time. Our final collaboration was the new Mobile Web Developer (MWD) program that we designed together to rapidly build industry-grade developer skills - it’s the culmination of our (combined) 50 years of teaching experience and developer expertise, and we were both incredibly proud of it. In our industry, Bob was a legend, plain and simple.
Last week we lost a cherished instructor, colleague, co-worker, and friend.
Rest in peace Bob - may your framerates be high and temperatures low :-)