Brad Amano, a friend to many in the IT channel, passed away on July 3. He was 54.
Amano was a 10-year veteran at data center power hardware and software vendor Eaton, where he most recently served as national account manager at the company's Power Quality Division. Outside work, Amano was a member of LA Taiko Ichiza, a Los Angeles-based Japanese taiko, or "big drum," ensemble.
Curtiz Gangi, vice president of U.S. channels for Eaton's data center business, described Amano's passing as a huge loss not only to the Eaton family, but to the Gangi family, whose youngest members called Amano "Uncle."
"His loss is a devastating one after his contribution to Eaton and our team to bring the Eaton brand to the channel," Gangi said. "From a business perspective, Brad was an ambassador for Eaton and the channel. He was an inspiration and a real educator in doing things right for the channel."
Eaton created its formal channel program in 2009, and Gangi credited Amano as a key player in its development. That program helped Eaton win the CRN Channel Champion award for the first time in 2014, ending a 20-year streak by rival APC by Schneider Electric, Gangi said.
Amano was being treated for lung cancer at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., where he had been admitted just a few days prior to his death, according to his friend Kevin McDonald, executive vice president and chief information security officer at Alvaka Networks, an Irvine, Calif.-based networking and IT MSP.
Amano was a fixture at XChange conferences, organized by CRN parent The Channel Company, for years. He also was a regular participant in The Channel Company's Channel@Work charity program. "Brad was at a million XChanges on stage [and] at parties and always fighting for the channel," said Robert Demarzo, senior vice president of event content and strategy for The Channel Company and emcee of the XChange conferences.
"There are people you see for business reasons, and there are people you see as friends," said Alvaka's McDonald. "Every time I went to XChange, I wondered if Brad was there. Every single picture you see of Brad ... he was always hugging someone. He always exuded kindness in a way few people do."
McDonald said he was shocked to learn via Facebook that Amano had been admitted to St. Joseph's; he dropped what he was doing to drive over and visit him.
"It's a good thing I did," McDonald said. "Otherwise, I would have missed him. He passed the next day. He couldn't speak, but we shared tears."