Don Hess, the Hauptman-Woodward Institute’s board chairman, entrepreneur extraordinaire and friend, died last night in a private plane crash in Florida.
What a tragic loss for Buffalo. Don was a techno-geek like me, someone who successfully co-founded one of Buffalo’s better-known companies. Amherst Systems is now a division of Northrup-Grumman, but before its eventual purchase was grown from a couple of employees to one of the largest engineering firms in the area.
I don’t think Don ever forgot his roots. Whenever we met we would discuss science, or engineering, or business, or any other matter of curiosities. He was always willing to provide advice to me and, I’m sure, other local start-ups. He was easy to talk to: We had the same comfort zones.
He will be missed.