Harry Pfister: Cabling industry forefather
If the structured cabling industry had its own Mt. Rushmore, there could be some debate about exactly which faces should appear on it and in which order.
If the structured cabling industry had its own Mt. Rushmore, there could be some debate about exactly which faces should appear on it and in which order. There would be no debate, however, about the appearance-in fact, the prominence-of Harry J. Pfister within such a monument. Pfister's contributions to the industry in which we all work today have been just that: monumental. Perhaps no more evidence needs to be introduced beyond the fact that the industry's "lifetime achievement award," given annually by BICSI, bears his name.
Many trace the historical birth of what has become the structured cabling industry back to the Bell System breakup in 1984. As a practical matter it dates back years before that, when building industry consultants (BICs) designed the inside wiring for Bell system telephone service. In 1972, Pfister played an instrumental role in planning and carrying out the BICS (Building Industry Consulting Service) winter communications conference, in collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF) and General Telephone Company of Florida. The next year he was one of the founding members of the BICSI organization. In 1982 USF presented an award to Pfister for 10 years of excellence in service to the university and to the communications industry. Simultaneously it established the Harry J. Pfister Award, presented annually, jointly by USF and BICSI. Pfister served as BICSI president from 1982-1983.
Where basketball has Dr. James Naismith and football has Walter Camp, structured cabling as a discipline to be taught and learned has Harry J. Pfister.
He is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Electrical Council of Florida (ECF), and has served executive roles within the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). Pfister remains busy in retirement from the telecommunications profession, in the Tampa, FL area. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Central Pinellas County, a volunteer at Allendale United Methodist Church, a volunteer for the Meals on Wheels program, and a volunteer specialist with the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Harry J. Pfister is a true living legend among us.