Shortly after returning from the SMB 150 awards and the SMB Nation Spring Conference in Redmond, WA, prominent and long-time SMB community member Alan Shrater passed away quietly at his home on Wednesday afternoon, May 8th.
(At right): Alan Shrater at Microsoft Redmond this past weekend.
So where to begin my story in knowing Alan. It goes back to the late 1990s in the early SBS-era. Alan and his wife Lilly live in Denver, a city I frequent because I was born there. I earned two degrees at the University of Denver, and my wife Kristen’s family still lives there. Early visits always included an evening at my favorite Mexican restaurant, La Loma! Alan and Lilly often put me up in their guest bedroom – that’s a fond memory and reflected the unpretentious nature of the SMB IT Pro community. I didn’t even have to sofa surf but had a fully appointed bed to sleep in! Lots of late nights of babble followed--much like living in the college dorms again! I’ll forever cherish those visits! And it’s not lost to memory that we both shared a love and affection for the Crested Butte, CO, ski resort in southwest Colorado.
At the recently concluded SMB Nation Spring Conference, which was held last weekend at Microsoft Redmond in conjunction with the SMB 150 awards (for which Alan was selected), he shared our hotel suite with Jay Weiss and Abhijit Chatterjee. We enjoyed a few long and late conversations, including how Abhijit met his wife after appearing on a nationwide TV show in India similar to “The Bachelor” here in the U.S. Alan smiled during the storytelling. Having met Alan briefly this past weekend at Microsoft Redmond, Abhijit was both saddened and shocked to hear of Alan's passing. "It is a shocking news about Alan. My deep condolences are with he and his family," he said. "I was the last person with whom he had a sightseeing in Redmond, Seattle to Bainbridge Island. He drove me to Kerry Park, Space Needle, etc., and he took some memorable pics."
Post-conference, Alan drove my car back to the Seattle ferry dock to join us for a night on Bainbridge Island before returning to Denver on Monday. That allowed Jay and I to ride our bikes around Lake Washington for the traditional post-SMB Nation ride! It was another side of Alan’s giving–effectively being our support crew for the ride. He was able to fit in a bit of sightseeing that afternoon while waiting for us, and he even commented that it was his first time enjoying Seattle landmarks such as the Space Needle. But then the real fun started. A big fan of Mexican dining and the Cinco de Mayo holiday, Alan allowed the rest of us to have FUN as he was the designated driver.
Alan was always a welcome guest at my home on Bainbridge Island. He made several visits for both our events and as an active member on several Microsoft Program Advisory boards (e.g. SBS 2011). Late nights of merriment were often followed by days of fun. For example, Alan was a “Soccer Dad” with his own sons being accomplished players. He enjoyed watching my youngest son, Harry, Jr., play competitively on a Saturday before flying back to Denver.
(At right): A big fan of Mexican dining and the Cinco de Mayo holiday, Alan allowed the rest of us to have FUN as he was the designated driver.
Alan was a connector. His kind and gentle manner conveyed his likability and accessibility. He introduced me to countless greats including the MCT trainer from Colorado Springs who spoke at an early SMB Nation, the LinkedIn Rock Stars (Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff), and “Woody” who had the popular “Woody On Windows” (WOW) newsletter that was later acquired by Brian Livingston at Windows Secrets. “Always the most gentlemanly and jovial person I ever met." Ruff commented. “He always had a smile on his face. “Alan always cared about other people than himself. He always asked: ‘How’s Lori doing?’ It was about how you are doing–not about him.”
O’Neil and Alan traded LinkedIn recommendations, which you should read here (www.linkedin.com/in/alanshrater) in the early LinkedIn days of 2007. In fact, his LinkedIn profile timeline indicates he was actively “linking” until the time of his passing on Wednesday afternoon.
Alan is survived by his wife Lilly, and four sons, who continue to reside in the Denver area. At his request, he will have a burial at sea off Miramar (Marine Corps Air Station) on Thursday, May 15th. The family will then celebrate by enjoying the graduation ceremony for his son, who is receiving his master’s degree in film at the University of Southern California (USC).
Final thoughts? Alan – you served your country well and with honor. The CPA, Access and SBS communities appreciate your leadership. I appreciate you for all you have done and especially the final note you wrote to me on my white board at my office this past Monday morning, shown here, below: