The local channel industry has paid tribute to ICT Networks CEO Rob Kingma, who passed away last week.
“Farewell, Rob Kingma,” ICT Networks’ part owner and director Mitch Barr wrote in a statement. “It is with deep sadness that I write to let you know that Rob Kingma, CEO for ICT Networks for the last 11 years, passed away last week, suddenly and unexpectedly. Rob will be greatly missed by everyone who was lucky enough to have known him.
“I will cherish his friendship; the good times we shared; the business we worked on together and of course, the most down to earth guy you’ll ever meet. Rob was a man of such integrity and with a heart of gold; a great man whose life and legacy will never be forgotten."
“Rob took ICT Networks from a start-up to become one of the most respected and fastest growing networking companies in Australia. We all gained so much from having him lead and mentor us over the years, and Rob was proud of the team he had built and developed to grow the business,” he added.
In the immediate future, Barr will assume Kingma’s role in his capacity as managing director for ICT Networks until a new CEO is appointed.
Barr said that the ICT Networks team will continue to provide its customers with the “highest level of service” and thanked them for their ongoing support and understanding during a difficult time.
“Finally, we send our love and support to his family, friends and all of those impacted by the tragic loss of this incredible man,” he said.
Kingma is survived by his loving wife Caroline, and daughters Hayley and Nicole — as well as two grandchildren.
ICT Networks appointed Kingma as its first managing director in late 2009. Kingma came to the role already with more than two decades’ experience in the local ICT industry.
Kingma, who was born in 1961 at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital, joined Optus as corporate sales general manager in 1992 after holding a number of positions for the likes of Xerox, Link Telecommunications and BellSouth.
In 2001, he founded Lightworx Consulting to provide independent consulting to organisations struggling to maximise returns from their sales and marketing investments.
Prior to joining ICT Networks, he was a consultant and senior manager at Ernst and Young.
“Last week we lost one of the best; suddenly and unexpectedly,” ICT Networks marketing manager Amanda Howcroft said in a LinkedIn post. “Rob, you have been my boss, my mentor and like family to me for 10 years. I will cherish the friendship we had, the good times we shared, the business we worked on together and of course the genuine and fantastic guy that is Rob Kingma.
“You were a man of resolute moral standing, immense integrity and a person who loved his business and his people.
“You took our company from a start-up to become one of the most respected and fastest growing IT companies in Australia...Last month you donated $50K to December’s ‘Special Children’s Christmas Party’ just because we had a good year, and in your words, ‘Hey, it’s for the kids. I can’t wait to see them smile.’”
“I’m beyond blessed to have had you take me under your wing all these years ago. We have all gained so much from having you lead and mentor us all these years and as we step into this new era we are proud to be doing so in your honour,” she added.
Westcon-Comstor Australia managing director Phil Cameron said that he was saddened today when he heard the news.
“Rob was a true gentleman and of highest values. A straight talker and very genuine. He will be surely missed by our industry,” Cameron said.
Meanwhile, Darrin Iatrou, A/NZ area partner director at Juniper, one of ICT Networks’ most important vendor partners, expressed his sincerest condolences to Kingma’s wife and his family.
“Rob and the ICT Networks team have been a Juniper partner for 11 years becoming an Elite partner late 2012,” Iatrou said. “As their leader, Rob was the driving force behind their success from the very early days right through until now. Rob has set the course for his team and I have every confidence his legacy will continue to grow.
“On a personal note, I am truly saddened by the passing of Rob. I always enjoyed our discussions; some quite colourful but many full of laughter and enjoyment. I will cherish the friendship we shared, and the business that we worked on together. Above all however, I will cherish and miss the genuine person that is Robert Kingma.
“Rob stood tall, head and shoulders above many because of his resolute moral compass, which guided him and his team in their approach to business. While Rob loved his work, he loved his people even more. A fantastic person to have known, spent time alongside, and with great admiration watched him build a fantastic business. You will be missed, Robert Kingma,” he added.
ICT Networks has stressed that, although Kingma is gone, his legacy in the company will live on.
“We have all gained so much from having him lead and mentor us all these years, and as we step into this new era we are proud to be doing it in his honour. We are fortunate that Rob has geared his team to carry out his legacy and continue to provide the highest level of service you rely on us for,” a spokesperson for the company said.