Industry veteran Bob Sostilio has passed away after a trip to New England to visit family and friends. A sad day as we have lost someone I have personally known for over 20 years. When I started my job here in 1996, Bob was with Ricoh. He had this image as a tough dude and he put analysts and consultants through their paces, holding meetings at his desk under a sign reading “Consultants Take No Responsibility,” or something of that nature.
Bob had been in the industry forever, I think possibly working with Frank Cannata at Saxon early on and eventually winding up with Ricoh where I met him. Later, Bob worked for Kyocera and Cap Ventures/InfoTrends before finally moving from NJ to Florida with his wife Gail, the love of his life, to start Sostilio and Associates.
Although I had met Bob on many occasions, it was when he went to Cap V/InfoTrends that I really got to know him, chatting with him at meetings and conferences all over the country for many years. He was professional, always thanking our hosts for inviting him during his first of many questions that he would ask throughout the event. This is something I’ve incorporated into many of my articles; thanking the host for the invite was something I took from Bob. He knew his stuff and I loved chatting with him about what he really thought was going on with our clients. He had incredible insight and knowledge.
When I said tough dude, I meant it. Early on, Bob was a Navy Warrant Officer and a chopper pilot in Vietnam. I heard great stories from those days as Bob flew some crazy missions, plucking downed pilots from the water or landscape in some pretty unfriendly conditions. We used to talk motorcycles as well, as he too used to ride. He had a quiet disposition about him that could be intimidating to those first meeting him, but once you got to know him, he was a big softie.
I’m going to miss the emails exchanges and occasional conversations I’ve had with Bob since he stepped back from the industry a few years ago. I enjoyed his friendship and as one of the senior industry guys when I became an analyst (like my dad, Frank Cannata and Dick Norton), he’s someone I looked up to and learned from. I enjoyed hearing my dad’s updates from lunches they’d have together somewhere between Ocala where Bob lived and The Villages, where my dad resides.
Bob was well-liked and his Facebook page is riddled with sentiments and prayers to his wife Gail. When chatting with my dad this morning, he said “Bob was one of the original gurus in our industry. He was loved and respected by all. He loved life and life loved him back. May his memory be for a blessing.”
I spoke with Mike Stramaglio of MWA earlier too. Mike worked with Bob at Ricoh and told me, “The world lost a great man today as Bob Sostilio was welcomed into His Kingdom. Bob lived his life with old school honor, integrity and respect for his family, friends, faith and country. He served his family and his country with dignity and honor! Thank you Bob for being a brother! My love to Gail!”
A final thought; for those of you that knew Bob, you’ll remember his thick New England accent, which somehow never went away, despite all those years in NJ. That accent made him put an R at the end of so many of our client’s names, it always cracked me up. Just thinking about him saying ToshibeR or MiteR or MinolteR puts a smile on my face as I sit here writing this.
Bob was a great man and I’m glad I got to know him and spend so much time with him over the years. I looked up to him and will miss him.