Obituary - Ron Collis

IECEE Chairman passed away on 10 November 2015

By Claire Marchand

It is with immense sadness and regret that we have to inform the IEC community of the tragic death of IECEE Chairman Ron Collis on 10 November 2015. Ron Collis had been the victim of an unfortunate accident a month ago and never woke from a deep coma. He leaves behind his wife Marion.

Ron Collins Tokyo 2014
Ron Collis (second from left) at the CAB meeting during the IEC General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2014

Long-standing involvement and dedication

Ron Collis had been involved in IEC activities for many years, both on the standardization and conformity assessment sides.

Since January 2013, Collis had been Chairman of IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. He was about to step down at the end of the year after a three-year term of office.

Of his chairmanship, he said: “I thought this position would be relatively easy to hold, but I was wrong. It is almost a full time job as we expand the areas of certification for electrical products at the international level and discuss future activities with other Geneva-based international Standards bodies.”

As IECEE Chairman, he was the System’s representative to the IEC Conformity Assessment Board (CAB). Before his chairmanship, Collis had been the Australian CAB Member from 2002 to 2011.

He was very much involved in IECEE work and, according to his colleagues, never missed an annual meeting.

Focus on cybersecurity

Collis was also the Convenor of CAB Working Group (WG) 17: Cybersecurity, established in June 2014, and at the IECEE level, he was Chairman of the Policy and Strategy Committee (PSC) WG 3: Industrial Automation, the scope of which was extended to include, among other things, cybersecurity.

He was very passionate about cybersecurity and felt the IEC needed to get involved in it sooner rather than later. He pushed for the Commission to develop and implement conformity assessment solutions to the threats posed by ever more frequent cyberattacks not only linked to industrial automation, but aimed at all sectors of society.

Collis was also a member of CAB/WG 10: Policy and Strategy.

Explosive atmospheres

On the standardization side, Collis was a member of IEC TC 31/WG 37: Equipment for explosive atmospheres/Electrochemical cells and batteries in equipment for explosive atmospheres.

He was also actively involved in IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, as the Australian head delegate to many of the System’s Management Committee meetings.

Over the years, Collis also chaired the Australian Member Bodies of IECEE and IECEx.

International career

Ron Collis had more than 40 years of experience in the electrical and controls Industry in several countries around the world.

In June 1972, he joined the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, Australia, and in 1978 he relocated to the UK to work for the Carrier Corporation, subsequently acquired by Haden. He then became Head of Electrical Engineering at the Haden R&D Labs.

In each of these positions he had the opportunity to participate in international projects as a member of a product or systems development team, often partnering with US-owned companies.

From 1985 to 1989, he was Senior Electrical Design Engineer for the Haden Management Company in the USA, working mainly on major projects for General Motors Inc.

In 1989, Collis returned to Australia to join Allen-Bradley (AB) as System Engineer. At the time, AB was part of the Rockwell Automation portfolio of brands (Rockwell had purchased AB, the North American leader in the industrial automation equipment market, in 1985).

Five years later, Rockwell sent him to China to establish their China Office in Beijing. From there, he moved to Hong Kong to serve as Project Consultant for Rockwell in their mandate for the new Hong Kong airport.

Standards and Trade

In 1999 Collis returned to Australia where he becameProgramme Director for Rockwell Automation Global Standards and Trade Regulations activities in the Asia Pacific region, a position he held until his death. In his own words, “the position required an understanding of the international trade laws and certification practices that underpin the health and safety regulations of many economies around the world.” For him it also meant being engaged at the management level of international trade and standards organizations.

The IEC extends its deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues around the world.

Ron Collins Tokyo 2014 Ron Collis (second from left) at the CAB meeting during the IEC General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2014
Hiromichi Fujisawa and Ron Collins Ron Collis with Hiromichi Fujisawa, who was IEC Vice-President and CAB Chairman until the end of 2014
Ron Collins, Dubai Ron Collis at the 2015 IECEE annual meetings in Dubai, United Arab Emirates