Even among the many Utahns who loved him as a person and admired his teaching, research, and administrative skills, few realize how widely and deeply the death of Wayne S. Brown is mourned around the world today.
In much of the United States, Europe, South America, and around the Pacific Rim, Wayne Brown is recognized as probably the world's foremost spokesman on getting technology from university research laboratories into the marketplace for the benefit of mankind. Through his prestige and international contacts, the Utah Innovation Foundation he founded has established its international symposia on technological innovation as the foremost forum on the subject. He was scheduled to chair the Third International Symposium in Brisbane, Australia, this year.Such stature came from a lifetime of leadership. It came from the highly productive years he spent as dean of the University of Utah College of Engineering. It came from his own success in technological entrepreneurship; three companies he founded or co-founded - Eaton-Kenway, Terra Tek, and Native Plants - have achieved international reputations.
But mostly, it came from his passion to share. That desire to plow his means and knowledge back into the state he loved led to his creation of the Utah Innovation Center to nurture fledgling entrepreneurs. It led to creation of the Utah Technology Finance Corporation and to Utah Venture Fund I to help such entrepreneurs with the needed funding. It led to creation of the Utah Innovation Foundation to bring young Utah companies to the attention of venture capitalists from around the country.
Utah's debt to this quiet, modest, warm and friendly man is enormous. It can best be paid by staying firm on the path he charted for technological and economic development.
But with all this, no one could know Wayne Brown who did not know of his love for and pride in his family. He and his wife Joyce died in the crash of his plane while on a vacation trip with other family members. How often that little plane flew to Lake Powell and his houseboat there for the times of family togetherness he treasured so dearly.
To his family and his countless friends, here and abroad, and to the world of technological free enterprise, the loss is enormous. We share their sorrow.