In Memory of Jeff Berger

Blog Post created by miketuchen on Oct 6, 2011

jeff-headshot.jpgLast Thursday morning when I got to work I was devastated to learn that Jeff Berger, our EVP of Engineering, had passed away unexpectedly the evening before.  It caught everyone who knew him  by surprise: he had seemed perfectly healthy until then. Just the day before,  Jeff and I had been working together and joking around about my new laptop like any other day in the office.  I had no idea that those hours together would be the last time I spent with Jeff.  And later that day and Friday, as I talked to the Rapid7 team about Jeff's passing, I saw firsthand that his death had affected them as much as it did me.  Why did Jeff have such a deep impact on all of us?  Reflecting on who Jeff was can start to shed some light, and serve to remember how special Jeff was to all of us.


Jeff was first and foremost a family man.  He'd plan his life around commitments to his wife Rachel or one of their two children, Michelle and Jason.  This summer he took trips with each of them to make sure he got quality one-on-one time with them – in Michelle's case he said it was the first time just the two of them had travelled together, and the last chance he had to do that before she went to college.  He came back from both trips talking about how glad he was that he'd made the time to spend with the two of them. 


Jeff was also an engineer's engineer.  He loved solving technical problems, planning complex releases, and working through the millions of details required to ship products on time with high quality.  Like all great engineers he took a craftsman's pride of ownership in his products, seeing any imperfection as a personal insult and instilling that same sense of pride in his team.  He had a clear vision of what it takes to build great products and pushed hard to make that happen.


One of the things people appreciated most about Jeff was his love for teaching and mentoring.  He'd gladly take the time to help people understand how to solve the problem they were struggling with, and never make them feel stupid.  He'd patiently discuss everything that came his way to help his team get better.  He was the kind of guy that you could always count on for thoughtful feedback, usually mixed in with Jeff's unique dry sense of humor.


We will all miss the special things that Jeff brought to us, while we continue the path that Jeff blazed for us here at Rapid7.