D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Winnipeg Tech Community’s Loss – Thoughts on Dean Clarke’s Passing

Sunday, March 9, 2014 10:07 AM

It was one of the last two weeks in February when I spoke with Dean Clarke, president of Apptius. We both happened to be at the same client site and we talked about our respective work assignments, my upcoming conference in Winnipeg, and just general life stuff. On Friday Feb 28th I looked out the project team room and saw Dean talking to one of the client’s staff, friendly and smiling like he always seemed to be. I made a note to myself to follow up with an email on some items we had discussed.

On Saturday March 1st Dean passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.

There’s many lives that Dean has touched, foremost his family, friends, employees, and colleagues. Dean was also a huge reason for the Winnipeg tech community’s success over the years, something that many people may not realize due to Dean’s modesty; he always supported, always contributed, always asked how he could help, but never did it for his own personal celebrity or recognition.

If you enjoyed going to the .NET User Group in Winnipeg over the years you have Dean in part to thank. For years Apptius has been a financial sponsor of the user group because Dean recognized the importance of community. Some companies mull over community support – the cost, the benefits, whether it makes strategic sense. But not Dean. He was always willing to help because he saw it as the right thing to do.

If you enjoyed attending any of the many Winnipeg Code Camp events over the years, you also have Dean to thank. Whenever I’d talk to Dean about sponsoring the Code Camp the conversation never ended at how much money we needed for the event. It continued with “What else do you need?” Dean was the one who provided those “Code Camp Survival Kits” – plastic containers filled with snacks that were given to attendees for free. That, in addition to bottles of water, was all Dean’s idea and doing – he just wanted to do something nice for the community.

Dean wasn’t just someone who “provided stuff” for events, he was hands on. He offered to print out all the attendee nametags, plastic badgeholders and all. And when he arrived at the Code Camp, one of the first things he’d ask is “How can I help?” Here’s a picture of Dean manning the registration booth, something he did often at the Code Camps.


Dean was that rare example of true “leading by example”. A company President who never let his title define him; instead it was his actions and his interactions with people. I will miss Dean greatly not just as a leader in our technical community but as an amazing person who always had the betterment of others in mind. Dean was the embodiment of what the Winnipeg tech community is all about and he’ll be dearly missed.


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