This story was originally published by our sister publication TV Technology, updated as of 5/12 to include a comment from Dielectric.
Andrew Whiteside, president of Dielectric since 2015, died April 30 in a climbing accident at Independence Monument in the Colorado National Monument National Park.
Whiteside, 67, of Lutherville Timonium, Md., is survived by his wife Patricia and his son Griffin.
Whiteside was a member of the executive leadership team at Sinclair Broadcast Group and Dielectric.
“I first met Andy in Atlantic City when he was sent to the U.S. from EEV in England to investigate some abnormal behavior of a klystron. It was during that time with Andy that I became aware of his unique talents and very special personality. Over the ensuing months I convinced him to come to work with myself and the others at Comark,” said David Smith, executive chairman of Sinclair Broadcast Group.
“There came a time later, after we acquired Dielectric, that I asked Andy if he would take over the company,” he continued. “It was through his leadership and expertise, along with an enormous talent pool at Dielectric, that they were able to become the dominant force in the transition of the local TV industry. I consider it one of my great privileges professionally and personally to have known Andy; he was truly an incredibly special person, and for sure one of the great men in our profession. He will be sorely missed.”
Born in England, Whiteside graduated from the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University, and worked for EEV (English Electric Valve), a manufacturer of high-power transmitter tubes. He emigrated to the United States in the early 1980s to take a job as vice president of engineering with Smith and Nat Ostroff at Comark Communications, manufacturing high-power transmitters for UHF television stations, receiving an Emmy Award for his work developing the first Inductive Output Tube (IOT) UHF television transmitter.
“It is a rare life event when an individual you meet in your professional career becomes a treasured long-term associate and a dear friend. Andy Whiteside was such a person that I came to know as a dear and treasured friend. We struggled together to create and then marveled at the results of the eventual success,” said Ostroff.
“We suffered through the tough times building more than one company, and we succeed together,” he continued. “Andy was not only respected for his knowledge and patience but also as a mentor to many who worked with him. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was loved by many who now morn his passing. I miss him. My world and the wider world is poorer as a result of his leaving it.”
Longtime friend and co-worker Mark Aitken, senior vice president of advanced technology at Sinclair, reminisced about Whiteside.
“Just couple of things out of hundreds that could describe Andy, a true friend for more than 40 years,” Aitken said. “His ‘humor’ was quite ‘coloured’ in a British sort of way. Sarcasm, tongue-in-cheek, filled with puns and wit that kept class with Monty Python (he enjoyed being told that!). His friendship, complete and honest and evident to the closest of us. Willing to share in delights along with the unpleasant, never petty, and always seeking and embracing the truth. Truly a class act….”
A longtime customer and eventual co-worker Harvey Arnold, vice president of engineering for Sinclair said, “I have worked with Andy for over 40 years. He had a keen intellect and was a well-regarded industry expert on high-power RF transmission systems. He inspired good engineering practices and broadcast engineering is in a better place due to Andy’s work.”
In 1999, Andy joined Sinclair and then at its subsidiary Acrodyne Technical Services as a research scientist, eventually rising to General Manager and vice president of engineering. Andy led the design team that successfully introduced the Quantum IOT (Indictive Output Tube) and Depressed Collector ESCIOT (Energy Savings Collector IOT) transmitters.
This technology increased the efficiency and operational costs associated with high-power television transmitters. Andy authored numerous technical papers and articles on transmitter technology and was deeply involved in the FCC Spectrum Repack initiative for U.S. broadcasters and had been integral in the development and rollout of ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV.
Andy was planning to retire this summer to spend more time with his family and pursue his passion for climbing.
Donations can be made to the Mesa County Search and Rescue Team (add a note to designate the Technical Team as the intended recipient) at Donations Ground Team | Mesa County Search and Rescue or to the Family Meal Train service found here.
Details on services and arrangements are not yet available.
Update: On Thursday, Dielectric issued a statement on the passing of Whiteside:
Andy was far more than our leader. He was a witty and charismatic friend. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and father to his wife Patricia and son Griffin. With retirement months away he had a lot of life to live, and much left to give, read the statement.
“Andy led us through Dielectric’s best years,” said Keith Pelletier, recently-appointed president of Dielectric. “When you stack up the accomplishments of the company’s presidents over 80 years, Andy’s clearly stand head and shoulders above all, When I reminisce about Andy I will always go back to NAB 2022. He was in such a great place regarding his professional career and retirement, and being able to spend more time with family. I will miss my daily talks with him .”