Bob Gillis, PMI Fellow, passes away in British Columbia


31 July 2013 – Vancouver, BC, Canada – Robert, R. B. (Bob) Gillis, PMI Fellow, passed away on July 20, 2013.  Born in 1922 and aged 91, Bob was surrounded by his loving family at the time of passing. He was predeceased by his wife Marjorie (nee Anderson, 1921-2011) and his little sister Audrey. He is survived by his six children, Joan, Dhiresha (Matthew), John, Mary, Bob and Donald (Patsy), and eight grandchildren.

bob-gillisBob started life in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia as a fifth generation Canadian. Entering WWII, and stationed in the UK, he became the youngest officer assigned to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. Post war, he completed a degree at McGill University.  Bob started his working life in telecommunications with Canadian Pacific (CP) Limited. He then spent more than 30 years within CP, moving through various roles in research and development, including Director of Operational Research and Systems Planning, a role and department he created.

A major accomplishment during his CP years was the development of SPEC (Structured Planning Evaluation and Control), a general process for the systematic management of change, innovative for its use of the participative involvement of people planning their own work.  His final role with CP was as Director of Systems Services, a corporate resource organization which provided planning and development services to various entities of CP and, on a consulting basis, to major companies, organizations, and government departments worldwide.

After leaving Canadian Pacific in the early 1980s, Bob moved to Vancouver and formed R.B. Gillis and Associates which continued to provide interactive planning services in Canada and internationally with IMPACT – his non-patented Interactive Manage Processes & Communication Techniques. He continued to further refine and develop his life’s work by studying emerging literature on brain based studies of communication and learning. He continued as a presenter and guest lecturer world-wide until his early eighties, when he retired to care for his ailing wife Marjorie.

Bob was very active in professional organizations concerned with projects and the management of change. He was a founding member of the International Project Management Association, IPMA, based in Switzerland. He was also an active member of PMI, Project Management Institute, and a founder of the PMI Montreal chapter. A PMI Fellowship Award recognized him for his sustained contributions to the state of the art of project management, and to the progress of the Institute.

As an active community member, Bob donated his time and expertise to organizations as diverse as the founding group of the David Suzuki Foundation, SEVA Canada Society, and the Delta Health Coalition.

Bob will be remembered primarily as an engaged and passionate thinker, for his wit, and as an innovator, contributor, friend and family man.  An informal Memorial for Bob was held in Vancouver on Monday, July 29th.

Source: official obituary by Arbor Memorial, provided by his daughter Joan. Personal tributes to Bob can be read and offered at http://deltafuneral.sharingmemories.ca/siteContent/memorial.html?personId=240581&source=memlist

Editor’s note:  Bob Gillis was a personal friend and a leader in the project management profession for many years in the 1970s and 1980s.  I had the privilege of getting to know Bob during those years, coming to highly respect his opinions on many topics.  We at PM World are saddened by his passing and plan to publish a memorial to him in coming weeks.  If you knew Bob and would like to offer some memories, please email a short tribute to [email protected].