Thought Leadership

OFF-TOPIC: The Last Post

By Colin Walls

In late Spring 2009 – nearly 12 years ago – the Mentor blog platform was introduced and I was keen to be a contributor. Since then, except for vacations and holidays, I have published two posts every week – normally one about embedded software and the other about whatever was on my mind. But all good things come to an end and this will be my last posting, as I will be leaving the company on Wednesday 31 March and entering retirement.

I joined Microtec Research in February 1986. I was the #3 person in Europe; the rest of the company was a couple of dozen folks in California. Ten years later, after we had grown considerably, we were acquired by Mentor Graphics. This was something of a culture shock, finding myself working for a company of nearly 5000 people, but I took it as an opportunity. Then, a couple of years ago, Mentor was acquired by Siemens. So I have found myself, 35 years on, working for a company with something like 300,000 employees.

It has been quite an adventure. Apart from the changes in the company environment, the technology has progressed beyond all recognition, though some of the fundamentals of embedded software are unchanged. I have been lucky enough to travel to many interesting places – all over Europe and the United States and beyond. The biggest aspect of my job that I will miss is the great people that I have had the privilege to work with.

When I decided to schedule my retirement, about 18 months ago, I had a plan. I would continue doing my job, traveling to various familiar places and meeting up with many colleagues and friends. But of course, that did not happen. There are places that I will never visit again and people to whom I will never be able to say goodbye in person. This makes me sad, but I am ultimately very grateful for having 35 years in which I have been paid a salary every month for doing something that mostly did not seem like a job.

I have many plans for Phase 3 of my life – idleness does not feature highly. If anyone would like to contact me after my departure, please use my personal email – – or look out for me on social media.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at