Some years ago Nick Denbow, happily still involved with the Automation Insiders publication, wrote an article with the thought provoking title “Who are the automation thought leaders?“ Among those was the irrepressible Jim Pinto, who, to quote somebody else and out of context “hasn’t gone away you know!”
True he did retire after a fashion and commenced what he called his bucket trips, trotting around the globe with the lovely Deb at his side. Of course he did not give up writing and sharing is thoughts with us. As he said himself “But, I’m a writer. As my friend Jack Grenard said, ‘a writer cannot not write.’ So, I’ve decided to continue to write the “irregular and irreverent” JimPinto.com eNews.” And he does. We marked his chage of direction in our piece “Floreat Jim Pinto!” in 2012.
This week, on one of those bucket trips, they hit the medieval and very lively city of Galway, about 20 miles east of the Read-out hub on Galway Bay, on where, in the words of the Bing Crosbie classic, the sun goes down!
Now when somebody of eminence in automation visits our neck of the woods we do try to meet up and make them welcome. I guess it’s an Irish thing! And so we did.
And we changed his name for the occasion to the Irish version of Jim, “Séimí!” His sur-name, like the man himself, is untranslatable!
So how to describe Jim Pinto’s impact! Dick Morley (another automation thought leader), said of his writing, “When you read Jim, you have the feeling that you’re looking through a telescope’s magnifying end. With Jim you get to use the telescope with the microscope in the right direction: you see clearer, and you see things you cannot see with the naked eye.”
Jim honoured me some years ago to right an introductory piece for a section of his 2006 book, “Pinto’s Points: How to win in the automation business!” and I think perhaps I could repeat some of what I said there. It is part biographical but mostly it described the impact of this man whom I first “met” on-line 20 years ago when the internet was but a babe! I had been visiting the US on and off for about ten years. I lamented the fact that Americans in jobs like maintenance engineers etc seemed older and more tired in comparison with what I was used to, Professional people were inclined to be as well but worked in perhaps a more dedicated and serious way, and for longer hours. There was one thing missing. That something was – humour.
“Like a breadth of fresh air in the frenetic rush-rush of the world of automation burst Jim Pinto. Like most of us who received the benevolent influence of Mother England’s domination, he managed to make her language his own, and – combining this with an incisive mind and a superb gift of observation – he earned the title of ‘Poet Laureate of Instrumentation and Automation.’ Everythinh he touched was fun. He called his company Action – and so it was. And when the internet finally started to infiltrate even the most conservative of companies, he was ther with the wonderul URL of actionio.com. Wonderful!”
I pointed to a word, among many that I learned from him – “DISINTERMEDIATION – it is a Pintoism that has stuck in my mind. It is a word typical of the man. It is a word which makes us smile before we ask, ‘What does it mean?’
“This I think is the essence of the Jim Pinto. And it is nowhere more evident than in his poetry. It is funny, but it is serious!”
This week Read-out met the man and sat down and chatted face-to-face. And we have a photo because as somebody said “If there isn’t a picture it hasn’t happened!”
Thanks for the fun Jim, and may your list of bucket trips never be exhausted! And may you never cease to be irreverent but always full of fun and laughter!
PS: DISINTERMEDIATION? Don’t know what it means? Let Jim tell you! As he told us 15 years ago.