Good Afternoon everyone.
My name is Aditi Rajagopal and Jim’s family has given me the honor of saying a few words as his colleague and mentee
Over the last 3.5 years, Jim has been my teammate, team lead, mentor, and friend.
In the grand scheme of Jim’s career in technology, the period of overlap between our careers has been relatively small. But over the last three and a half years, Jim has shaped the way I view technology and innovation. I think I can speak for the majority of our IBM peers and alumni here that Jim was probably the person who first introduced you to IBM’s patent program, and is probably listed as a co-inventor on your first patent. Jim currently has 198 patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office and 169 pending. Every time we’d have department meetings he’d have stacks and stacks of patent plaques , and as new hires we’d be in awe of his work. But he was always more excited to see us, his mentees, succeed in our efforts to get our ideas recognized as patents. Even when he was sick, he was the one that was on the lookout and was the first to know that me, Ryan and Bryan had our first patent filed. He was really looking forward to getting #200 granted. I think we gotta throw a big party when that one comes in.
To say that Jim inspired me is an understatement. As my team lead and mentor, he has always encouraged me to strike a balance between being detail oriented, while keeping track of the big picture. He has encouraged me to think critically - always asking why, and more importantly, “what’s the goal?” Even though we hadn’t seen each other much in the last few months, every time I encountered a tough situation, I could always hear his voice asking “what’s the goal?”
Jim always made time for us. He was always willing to grab a coffee and chat. We’d walk around campus twice a day when he worked at IBM. When he left, it was really hard. I didn’t get to see my best friend every day. I had to keep a list of things I wanted to talk to him about. I think it’s up to two pages now. And that’s probably what I’m going to miss the most.
Thanks for listening.
You can read Jim's offical obituary here, although, words can't describe the impact he has made on me, and this community