Honoring Paul Kish, an industry founding father, on the occasion of his retirement

A Belden colleague pays tribute to 42-year telecommunications industry veteran Paul Kish.

Paul Kish, Belden's Director of Systems and Standards
Paul Kish, Belden's Director of Systems and Standards

By Stephane Bourgeois, Belden

Choosing the right words to summarize the career of Paul Kish, Belden’s director of systems and standards, as well as his contributions to Belden and to the entire industry, is not an easy task. As he looks forward to his retirement this month, we recognize Paul’s profound impact on today’s structured cabling standards.

Thousands of businesses and millions of people can thank him for doing what was often predicted as impossible: transmitting high-speed signals over twisted pairs. It started in the range of 10 to 16 Mbits/sec in the late 1980s, then jumped to 100 Mbits/sec in the 1990s, 1 Gbit/sec at the turn of the millennium, 10 Gbits/sec approximately 10 years ago, and soon up to 25 and 40 Gbits/sec.

Looking back at his 42-year career in the cabling industry—first with Northern Electric, then Nortel, then NORDX/CDT and finally with Belden—Paul has been one of the founding fathers of our industry. Paul was recognized in the industry as an expert in cable transmission. He always served as a role model, an innovators and a thought leader. But above all, he served as a gentleman. He always respected others and was always ready to help.

He has been very active in the development of cabling standards with TIA, CSA, ISO/IEC and IEEE. He held numerous TIA positions, including chair of the TIA TR-42 Engineering Committee, with responsibility for the ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A Telecommunications Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings.

In 1991, Paul initiated the work that led to the publication of detailed specifications for Category 3, 4 and 5 cabling. From there, he was a contributor to the progressive development of higher-performance cabling, from Category 5e, 6 and 6A to the current efforts to standardize Category 8.

Paul also served on the BICSI Technical Information and Methods Committee, and participated in many study groups within IEEE 802.3 for Base-T technology advancements. He has authored many technical papers that have been published in various industry magazines and at technical conferences. He presented numerous seminars at BICSI and other industry forums to promote cabling standards and the need for higher-performance cabling.

In 2006, Paul received the Harry J. Pfister Award in recognition of his lifetime achievements and major accomplishments in the telecommunications industry. By enhancing the scientific, technical and educational aspects of the telecommunications industry, Paul promoted the industry’s professionalism.

In 2013, in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, Cabling Installation and Maintenance magazine asked its audience of 25,000 to nominate individuals who had made a positive contribution to the cabling industry over the past 20-plus years. Paul was selected for his contributions to cabling and networking industry standards.

Cabling Installation and Maintenance chief editor Patrick McLaughlin charmingly labeled Paul as a “Giant and Gentleman,” writing, “The contributions that Paul Kish has made to the development of cabling and networking industry standards through high-level committee, subcommittee and task-group roles within TIA, IEEE and BICSI may be surpassed only by the gentlemanly manner with which he conducts himself and goes about his work.” And we wholeheartedly agree. Paul is simply one of our finest.

As a gentleman and a team player, Paul was first to share the praise. When he received this award, he said, “In all our undertakings and achievements, we are not alone. We rely on others to help along the way.”

In consider myself privileged to have worked alongside Paul for so many years. Above his technical prowess, I want to highlight Paul’s qualities and values: dedicated, kind, humble and always ready to help and share.

Paul, we say to you from the bottom of our hearts, “Thank you!”

Stephane Bourgeois is director of technology strategy, enterprise networking with Belden.

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