To my father

Author: Marco C. Janssen, UTInnovation, the Netherlands

This column will be a different one from all the previous ones as on March 28, 2019 I lost my father, my beacon, my reference, my guide. The man who made me who I am. I therefore wish to dedicate this column to him.
My father was a sailor and as the chief engineer on a freighter he travelled the world for almost four decades.
He saw more of the world than many people will ever see and through his stories and the things he brought back from his travels, he triggered a fascination in me for other cultures and people and ignited my urge to travel the world.
It was because of him that I became a consultant and have been blessed with meeting so many interesting, nice and intelligent people.
Traveling the world opens your eyes and widens your perspective, and it shows you a side of the world very different from the one you see on TV.  If it wasn’t for my father I would not have been able to see that other side of the world. It has opened my eyes and broadened my horizon and has allowed me to come so far and achieve what I have achieved today.
My father was a hands-on man, he could fix almost anything and create things from nothing. Early on he would show me how to do things, whether it was changing a bicycle tire or drilling a hole, all the way how to fix complex machines or create wooden structures.

Thanks to his lessons I am now able to fix things myself and create solutions in and around the house. It is through this that I will remember him always, which is a great feeling.

My father battled Alzheimer’s disease for over a decade and thanks to the love and care of my mother he was able to live these last year’s relatively comfortably, although the disease step by step ate away his personality, his memories and his abilities. It was terrible to witness the deterioration process unfold and seeing a vibrant, happy, active man turn into a sort of vegetable.
Witnessing Alzheimer’s disease progress has put many things in a different perspective for me. More than ever I realize now that everything is relative and that we have to enjoy every minute of every day as much as we can.
I know I am kicking in an open door, but we should cherish the wonderful moments we experience with other people and focus less on the limitless stupidity that some people display. Instead, we should put our focus on the beauty and the benefits of exchanging our experiences with each other.

In today’s global economy where everything appears to be focused on quick personal gain we should take the time to enjoy the presence of the people we love and broaden our horizons by absorbing the many beautiful things other people offer us.
Exponential learning appears to be the current buzz word in the market and many people treat it as if it is the invention of the century. In reality, it is just another way to teach us what we already know. If you open your mind and listen and learn from others your knowledge will expand exponentially. This is why we organize ourselves in groups, companies and societies.

Since solving the world’s ever-growing problems requires an exponentially increasing intelligence and creativity we should start listening to each other more, instead of fighting one another and start to focus on the broader perspective of the problems we have unleashed upon this world.

I think that my father’s passing was his last lesson for me… We should care for one another, cherish the people we love and listen and learn as much as we can. Only then we will have a chance to save our planet from the destruction we are steering it towards.

Thank you, dad! Thank you for your guidance, your love and your support.

I love you!



Marco C. Janssen is the CEO of UTInnovation LLC and the Director of the Smart Grid PMO at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. He received his BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic in Arnhem, Netherlands and has worked for over 27 years in the field of Smart Grid, Protection, Control, Monitoring, Advanced Metering Infrastructures, Distribution and Substation Automation. He was a member of IEC TC57 WG 10, 17, 18, 19, the IEEE PES PSRC and CIGRE B5 and D2 WGs. He was the convenor of D2.35 and editor of the Quality Assurance Program for the Testing Subcommittee of the UCA International Users Group. He holds one patent, has authored more than 58 papers, is co-author of four Cigre Technical Brochures and two books on Smart Grids and Electrical Power Substations Engineering and is the author of the “I Think” column in the PAC World magazine.