In Memoriam

Every once in a while, someone changes your life in a profound way.
Brian Bernhard?is one of those people.
Brian was my favorite professor at university and taught me more than project management. Brian has been a friend since I graduated. We have had many coffee chats together. ?Travis Anderson is a guest writer for pmStudent. He sat in many of Brian’s classes with me and shared many of those conversations over coffee.
A few years ago, I wrote a post of gratitude for those who had a major influence on me. My family is right below?Brian on the list.
Brian Bernhard, P.E. ? Professor-for being my favorite professor in project management and for introducing me to Critical Chain project management; and for sharing his wisdom, enthusiasm and encouragement in teaching in a way which encourages independent thought and innovation
Brian died August 8, 2009. I found out today, and I am reeling.
This post is my way to honor his memory and work through the emotions and loss that I am feeling right now.
Brian A. Bernhard, P.E.
Brian was a man of contagious energy and spirit. I was inspired by his optimism and ability to see what the best in people. Brian was a great friend and mentor to us all.
The Amazing Teacher
Brian was a great professor. He taught us how to think critically and guided us through a process that encouraged self-discovery. Many of my classmates could be heard grumbling, “Why doesn’t he just give us the right direction?” Similarly frustrated expressions of frustration at not being able to figure it out themselves.
I was initially frustrated by his approach but I began to understand the basics of what he was doing halfway through my first course. Even though others didn’t appreciate his method, they definitely absorbed more knowledge through his methods.
I rant from time to time about the importance of understanding project management concepts and why they are important before getting too involved in the tactical business. ?Brain was the one that instilled this in me. He was also the one who helped me to do my first project network, including forward and backwards passes, etc. ?All done by hand in this age software tools. I can now pick up any PM tool quickly because of the way he helped me to understand the concepts behind it.
He taught me everything in that way and I am a better project manager because of it. I can say that Brian had a profound influence on my management of people and projects.
Brian, I have always held you in high regard and learned a lot from you beyond project management. I learned a lot from you about how to make a life of meaning, how to connect with others and how to provide servant leadership.
You will be missed.