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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

EDA loses an Advocate: Bob Gardner will be sorely missed

April 13th, 2017 by Peggy Aycinena

Every industry needs advocates
, and Bob Gardner served with distinction in that role for many years. When he passed away this week, the industry lost both an articulate spokesman, and someone who had a deep and nuanced understanding of how the unique group of companies involved in EDA and IP come together to provide the crucial underpinnings of a global semiconductor design chain.

Gardner’s most important industry-wide contributions, of course, came during his eight years as Executive Director of the EDA Consortium. He had, however, many years of leadership and involvement in a variety of companies prior to his EDAC assignment, including roles at Verific, Signetics/Philips, AMD, Exemplar Logic, Design Acceleration, Bridges2Silicon, and ITeX.

Given that background, Gardner was able to bring decades of corporate wisdom to his role at EDAC and used it wisely to help craft the mission and work of the Consortium. During his tenure, the organization expanded its membership, became even more pro-active in promoting the common agenda for member companies, and helped to expand the visibility of EDAC across North America and into Europe and beyond.

Not surprisingly, in 2016, Gardner received the DATE Fellow Award from the Design Automation and Test in Europe Conference “in recognition of his long association with EDAC and DATE.”

It was at the Design Automation Conference, however, that Gardner made the biggest impact on behalf of EDAC. As the Consortium is an important sponsor of DAC, Bob was heavily involved in the year-round committee work that produced the conference; he was a pivotal part of the joint effort of hundreds of people that makes something as complex as DAC a reality.

Then come June, he was a ubiquitous presence at the conference itself, year-in and year-out, attending to all of the details of the Sunday night welcome reception – including providing many years of fabulous, ebullient music to those lucky enough to attend – and overseeing the Pavilion Panel each day as it grew to be a critical piece of what continues to make DAC a success.

Between his responsibilities at DAC, of course, there were endless EDAC-sponsored events and initiatives that Gardner supervised to completion year-round: Kaufman Award dinners, panels to showcase a host of different topics of interest to this unique set of technology thought leaders, and initiatives to secure better governmental attitudes to the international nature of EDA marketing and sales.

Gardner brought a serious-minded, can-do spirit to all of this and helped promote the impact and reputation of the Consortium in a manner few others could have achieved.

And, there was the music – already noted, but deserving of a second mention.

Bob Gardner was a great musician and an accomplished performer, providing a plethora of different assemblages of jazz musicians as musical backdrop to so many events associated with the Electronic Design Automation industry. He brought a special magic to those gatherings, and received far less commendation than he deserved for years of effort on that front.

Gardner was fully engaged as Executive Director of EDAC and did not need to go that extra mile by providing the music, as well, at countless events. Not to mention that setting up for a gig amidst the pressures of DAC, or any other EDAC event, was no mean feat – but Bob made it look easy.

One minute he was attending to myriad details of events involving hundreds and hundreds of attendees, and the next minute he was over in the corner with his group of musicians, enhancing the personal experience of every individual in the room – whether they knew from whence the music came or not.

That’s devotion in its highest form: Simultaneously tending to his craft as a musician, and to his leadership role in an industry that he thoroughly loved.

Thank you, Bob. You will be sorely missed by your many admirers who never forgot that even as you were running the show, you were still over there on a podium in the corner of the ballroom – from San Francisco to Anaheim, from Silicon Valley to Austin – providing the music that made our glad-handing far more fluid and fun.

You brought us so much joy, our loss is Heaven’s gain. Even now, as our hectic lives go on here below, I’m pretty sure I can hear the music from your assemblage of like-minded musicians drifting down from a corner of the ballroom of the latest Celestial meet-and-greet.

And as always, it sounds great. Thank you.


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One Response to “EDA loses an Advocate: Bob Gardner will be sorely missed”

  1. Larry Lapides says:


    Thanks for the nice words about Bob. I worked with Bob at Exemplar Logic; I was already there when Bob joined. After a year plus of butting heads about marketing and operations, Bob asked me to move into sales. My initial reaction was a very emphatic No!, but Bob asked me to consider the move as something the company needed. In the end, I made the move, and discovered shortly thereafter that I enjoyed sales. This came as a complete surprise to me, but not to Bob. And here I am, 20+ years later, still doing sales.

    Bob’s people skills were sometimes hidden, but he’s one of the key people that shaped my career.

    Thanks, Bob.

    Larry Lapides

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