Robert A. Peelstrom, Jr., better known as Bob, was a documentation, testing, and support specialist with Smartware Group until his passing on May 12, 2015. More than that, Bob was an extraordinarily gifted man who managed to excel in nearly everything that captured his interest.
Raised in a small town on the Connecticut shore, Bob grew up an avid swimmer, snorkeler, and spear fisherman. However, it became quite clear at an early age that music was his passion. Thanks to The Kingston Trio, Bob got hooked on folk music and bought his first guitar before he entered high school. That $25 guitar made his fingers bleed, so he traded it in for a banjo.
In 1963, Bob enrolled in the University of Connecticut, where he worked his way through school teaching music and playing in bands. Upon graduation, he became an influential English teacher who impacted the lives of hundreds of students.
It was also during this time that Bob joined his fellow English teacher, Dave Light, to form The Flashbacks 1950’s Rock and Roll Revival. The New England band performed with The Coasters, Chubby Checker, and even Bo Diddley. Yes. You read that right. We told you he was talented!
This brings us to 1979, when Bob moved to Meredith, New Hampshire to teach at Inter Lakes High School. He soon met fellow musicians, Doug White and Peter Heimlich, and played in a slew of bands together over the years. Most recently, these life-long friends played under the name Idol Hands.
So how did a banjo-picking English teacher end up with Smartware Group? Eventually, Bob left teaching to sell personal computers for Radio Shack – a move that would enable him to put his son through college. After that, Bob continued his computer career by opening his own consulting company; and in 2005, we were lucky enough to call Bob one of our own.
Although a self-proclaimed “grumpy old #$@&%,” we knew him as a man with a truly unique perspective who contributed countless innovative ideas that drove this company forward. On top of writing most of our documentation and help files, Bob was an instrumental member of the design team—leaving his mark on the inventory, purchasing, and countless other areas of Bigfoot CMMS. To say he will be missed would be an understatement.
In honor of this remarkable man, Smartware Group has established an annual employee recognition award to acknowledge an individual that goes above and beyond, and truly embodies the spirit of Bob. To earn this coveted award, a Smartware Group employee must demonstrate the following:
- Unrivaled Dedication – Doing what it takes to get the job done (even if that means skipping out on a BBQ or two).
- Passion for Learning – Looking at the world with curious eyes and constantly learning something new to grow professionally and/or personally.
- Outside-the-Box Thinking – Taking a unique look at a problem to find a different solution.
- Vocal Contribution – Voicing his/her opinion to introduce ideas others may not have considered.
Nominate a Smartware Group employee by contacting Human Resources and providing the nominee’s name and a short description of how he/she meets the characteristics above. The award recipient will be announced each May.
Until then, crank up your speakers and enjoy Bob’s musical talent as he picks away in Idol Hands’ A Night in the Harem.