Michael Babb, long-time Control Engineering Europe editor, dies

05 April 2011

We are very sorry to announce that Michael Babb passed away April 6, 2011, after a short illness. Michael began his editorial career with Control Engineering in 1985 and has been a respected industry figure for 26 years.

Michael Babb passed away April 6, 2011, after a short illness. After working in areas of applications programming and engineering services for nuclear instrumentation, he began his editorial career with Control Engineering in 1985.

Michael was recognised globally for 26 years of writing and editing about automation and control systems, first noted as Control Engineering associate editor in the February 1985 edition, managing editor in November 1986, and editor-in-chief in November 1987, succeeding Ed Kompass. Michael also held posts of senior editor, international editor, and editor of Control Engineering Europe.

Under his editorial leadership and journalistic example, Control Engineering continued to develop its reputation as a premier US technology journal. With a global outlook from its 1954 beginning, the publication widened its international reach with Control Engineering International in 1993, later renamed Control Engineering Europe, which continues publishing today under a CFE Media-IML Group agreement. In 1999, Michael relocated to the UK to work on Control Engineering Europe.

Frank Bartos, a long-time Control Engineering editor and continuing contributor, said that Michael's journalistic style "shaped that magazine into a well-recognised, respected pan-European publication in the English language. The myriad meaningful articles he wrote reflected true passion for his work. Particularly his overview editorials about industrial control companies and their technology drew wide interest. Michael truly came into his own while working at CE Europe. Michael reached a large, loyal readership in Europe and beyond. He was welcome in the top offices of world-class automation companies. An anecdotal vignette about Michael involves his entrance to a major press conference. One of the hosts was overheard remarking to another, ‘Automation control is now arriving.’

“Many readers, friends, and colleagues will sorely miss him ,” Bartos said. “However, they surely will remember Michael as the consummate interviewer, editor, writer, and interpreter of automation technology. He was all that and more.”

Michelle Palmer, MediaSolve partner, recalled a mid-1990s meeting on flow-chart programming with Babb and other Control Engineering staff, prior to her time as Control Engineering publisher: “Michael always seemed to have fun learning about the automation and control space, and his move to Europe was very exciting for him."

Peter Jago, owner, IML Group, noted Michael's “ability to communicate the intricacies of convergent technologies, in a clear, concise, interesting and informative manner.... A consummate professional, held in the highest regard by the people that worked with him and the market he served, his death is untimely, coming as it does just a few months after his retirement from the publication that really was his pride and joy and stands today as a fitting testimony to his talent.”

Michael's wife, Sharon, preceded him in death in 2004. He has two daughters, Sarah and Melissa. He earned an Indiana University degree in physics. A family note said: “He had been sick a short time and his passing will be mourned by so many who knew him."

Please click on the link below to leave a memory about Michael Babb, former editor of Control Engineering and Control Engineering Europe.


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