From Forrest’s Memorial

It is incredible to see the number of people Forrest touched. There are simply no words to describe this.

I had the unique opportunity to work for Forrest at Apple and Google. He is one of the best bosses, I have had – caring and thoughtful.

Here are two memories of Forrest that personifies him – one from his Apple days and one from Google.

A few years back shortly after his twins were born, he was planning a trip to Hawaii. We had recently completed an extremely challenging manufacturing ramp for one of the Apple products and, he certainly deserved a break! While a few of us were walking down the sidewalk near IL6, Forrest casually mentioned about how he was taking the whole family and the baby sitters along for the vacation. We paused for a second and tried to clarify – did you just say sitters? Like in ..more than one? With out any hesitation, he confirmed what he just said and went on to say “They too work hard ..and they deserve a break as well.” He made sure that the baby sitters would enjoy the vacation just as much as he would and went out of his way to make sure they are part of the family vacation.
He was totally selfless in that he genuinely cared about everyone and put himself in other’s shoes. He was a relationship person and valued that far more than any legal or business transaction. He was a warm guy with a big heart and found immense joy in making others happy.

The second story is about his decision making style. At Google, he was relaxed and saw a completely different side of Forrest. He was lively, expressed his opinions strongly and made decisions fearlessly with conviction. His only major complaint was his commute. Commuting to Google added another 30-40 minutes to his daily routine each way. That was the time he couldn’t spend with the family or work. We spoke at length on a Friday afternoon about his options from carpooling to electric cars to tattoo ideas for girls. It felt like my advice was falling on deaf ears as he was coming up with excuses for both those options. The carpooling limited his freedom and he was concerned with the range of the pure electric vehicles.

Now, we all know Forrest, he is a very practical guy, yet impatient to fix the issue. The weekend went by and I ran in to him at work early on Monday morning. He smiled…asked about my weekend (as he always does), and later said, I bought a Volt. He already fixed the problem that we spoke the prior Friday. He went on to explain that he went to the dealer and said he wanted a Volt, made a quick decision on it. Before he left, asked the dealer – “Is it OK if I never plugged it in?” The dealer looked at him very quizzically and answered – “Yes, but, if you really don’t want to plug it in, then why are you buying a plug in – we have plenty of cars that run on gas”. Forrest smiled and told him, ”I just need a car that will let me use the carpool lane”

Although, lately we did see him plugging in his car.

One of the greatness of Forrest was his simplicity. It extended to the way he made decisions. He had an incredible gift to cut through clutter and look at the world in a very simple way. People generally try to keep all the variables and solve for the best solution, but Forrest always picked one key variable and solved the problem around it and as he always says – “Let’s try not to boil the ocean”

He always came up with fairly simple and elegant solutions – very candid in his opinion, yet reasonable in his judgement and caring with his interactions.

The bonds he has created with all of us will remain as memories.

We unite in an attempt comfort his loved ones, and the lives of the people he touched. Though no amount of words will do justice.

While we will continue to struggle to make sense of his demise, we will miss him dearly remembering these stories and will forever be thankful for what he taught us about family, friendship, caring, humor and practicality.

Rest in Peace, Forrest!

– Mahesh Krishnaswamy

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Forrest

I’ve known Forrest for 15 years, starting back when he got hired in at Sun Microsystems. It was kind of an odd fit at first, a car guy at a computer company. I always enjoyed Forrest’s stories about workingin the car industry.

We ended up together on the same staff running Server Operations, and then later we worked together closely why he ran the Server ops group and I had the Server HW engineering group.

He moved to Apple in 2005, and he finally convinced me to follow him there a few years later.

Working with Forrest at Apple I had an opportunity to get to know Forrest a lot better, usually stuck in some factory in China together. Or on the phone if we were not in the same place. When Forrest was in Cupertino we would call him with we called his “bedtime story”, usually from some bar or restaurant in China in the middle of the night, and give him an update of what happened during the day. Then follow up the next morning for a download the other way. If I could count the hours I have spent on the phone with Forrest….

At Apple some times things were very difficult. I believe you learn a great deal about a person when times are tough. At times like these Forrest was at his best. He was a true leader, calmly addressing the situation, no matter how difficult. He always maintained a sense of humor, a sense of perspective

Apple for Forrest was a like a double edged sword. He loved the work, loved the products, but struggled with the toll it took traveling and time away from his family. He frequently talked about his family, it was the center of his life. He was very understanding of everyone else’s family situation, making sure that all his people had the time they needed for their families.

Forrest was in his element whenever the latest technical emergency arose. He was incredibly disciplined, he would gather the right team together, and slowly plow through the details while everyone else was impatiently hopping around wanting to do something immediate. Forrest would follow his process, come up with a plan, and go execute it. He did this more times than I can count.

He was great at putting structure in place. He built up the portables team from almost nothing to a world class organization in only a couple years. He set up a structure that has continued to flourish after he moved on to a new role. In his next job he did the same thing, built up and outstanding technical organization that has helped deliver many of apple products.

Forrest really cared about people that he worked with. A key to his success was his ability to form strong relationships and create great teams. Everyone always appreciated his can do attitude. He would do what it took to achieve the task at hand.

Whenever Forrest did anything, he went all the way. Whether it was how he fixed up his Porsche, his new boat, or planned a vacation with his family.

I last saw Forrest a month ago, and it really struck me how happy he was. He had life wired, he really liked his job, was spending a lot more time with his family, cruising around in his boat. I am really grateful that Forrest’s last moments were happy ones…..

Mark Turnlund

Can’t stop thinking of Forrest, Denise and the children

I have been so deeply saddened by Forrest’s sudden loss. I think of Denise and their children and burst into tears. I’ve read each and every post on the memorial site, thinking about the impact Forrest clearly had on his coworkers and business “family”. I’m awed by the parts of Forrest I didn’t know. I keep having memories of our Stepfamily group, attended by Forrest and Denise through several years. Forrest wanted to strengthen his family, and consistently showed his willingness to do so, with humor and intelligence. The persistence and faith that he showed in continuing to invest his heart in his family life is clear. My heart is with Denise, Lauren, Danielle, Lily, Rosco and Zosia. I hold you all in a warm embrace, and pray that your broken hearts be mended over the years by the love you have for each other.

The Heart of a Leader

Forrest,

You showed us how to be better engineers and a better team. It is wonderful to reflect on all the advice and direction you shared in our short time on Glass.

Your impact and focus was tremendous, but your touch for inspiring those around you is what made you an incredible leader.

My thoughts go out to your family and those who were lucky enough to experience your kindness.

Andrew Doan

Andrew Doan | Manufacturing Engineer | Google[x] | 415-254-6295

Memories for ever

Forrest,

It’s so hard and difficult to realize that you have left this world… shockingly sad…

Your last year’s Christmas boat party for the team said a lot about you: Playfulness, Passion for life, Caring and Perfectionism in everything.

I still remember the fun cocktail names you created: OK-2-X, War Room Special… and those 2 are for sure the most popular!

Life is all about memories… you will still live in our memories.
May you RIP and sincere condolences to your family,

Caroline Wang

Forrest, we will miss you

Dear Forrest,

My first direct interaction with you was during a firefighting. Five minutes into the meeting, I was completely impressed by you. I was so amazed by your ability to detangle a messy situation, going straight to the heart of the problem, and quickly directing the team to the solution. We are successfully because of people like you!

It is unfortunate not able to attend your memorial service due to travel, but I will be thinking of you, thinking of your brilliance, your warm smile, your sense of humor, and even your mischievous look after you and B. took a spin on highway 280 in your highly-molidified Porsche…

We will miss you!

Lili

Farewell, Forrest ­ and see you around

Farewell, Forrest – and see you around

I’ve known Forrest for the past couple of years….although I would have liked that, can’t say I was a close friend….but can truly say that he did have a big impact on me and I will miss him.

From the get go Forrest had this fantastic combination of being focused and at the same time friendly. Open and super straight-forward. No games, no nonsense but really personal. Serious when he needed to be but always ready for a funny comment – and always with that sparkle in his eyes. A genuinely likeable person.

I was never surprised to get a call from Forrest for input&ideas for direction of our joint activities – and it never surprised me that Forrest would always accept my calls when I needed advice or help. He seemed to have infinite patience and wanting to get the best out of the people he worked with. I for one benefitted greatly from this. I wish there could be a way of repaying him.

Last time we met he talked about his family and the decisions he had made to give even more focus to what was most important to him in life – the love of his family, his kids and his wife. It seems almost unbearable that he was not allowed more time….but what I would imagine is typical Forrest – and much to the contrary of many of us that never get to it – he followed through on his plans. He was committed and we could all learn from this.

So, farewell Forrest, and see you around. I really look forward to it.

Best

Christian

Christian Tang-Jespersen

Goodbye Forrest

Dear Forrest

You were only at x for a short time, but you made a huge impression, through your brilliance and kindness. Every Monday when I wandered into the office you were at the desk next to mine, smiling and asking me how my weekend was. We talked about our families and what our kids were doing, how you were spending less time on a plane these days, you told me to get more help when things were stressful after my second child was born. Small things, but real life. You cared so much about your family and those around you.

Your smile will live on, wherever you are now.

Obi

Goodbye Forrest

Goodbye Forrest,

Thank you for setting the bar so high for all of us at Apple, so that we could truly achieve the impossible. Your strength, support, and guidance were so helpful to so many of us, including me in my early years at Apple. We could always count on you as a great role model, teacher, and mentor. You will be missed by many.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Rest in peace Forrest.

Randy Bauman