Telecom consultant Terry Barnich killed in Iraq
Long-time telecom consultant and former state regulator Terry Barnich was killed yesterday in Iraq, where he was serving as senior adviser for law and policy to the Iraq transition office of the Department of State.
According to the Chicago Daily Observer, Barnich was killed while riding in an automobile convoy yesterday just outside Fallujah, when the car in which he was riding hit a roadside bomb.
Barnich had been in Iraq as a government employee for about two and a half years, helping to rebuild that country’s energy and telecom infrastructure, said Craig Clausen, executive vice president and chief operating officer of New Paradigm Research Group, the telecom consultancy Barnich founded and ran as president and chief executive officer. NPRG was best known for its work with the competitive service provider industry.
What started as a short-term assignment turned into a much lengthier one, Clausen said, because Barnich became so engaged in the work and so impressed by what the Iraqis were doing.
"He was energized by the progress they were making," Clausen said. "He was just home three weeks ago, and he was talking about some of the things the Iraqis are doing, how they are leapfrogging us in terms of technology for things like how to prevent car theft, or how parents can monitor their children."
Each time Barnich would prepare to leave Iraq, "something else would pop up," Clausen said. "But he was pretty certain he was going to come back at the end of June."
Barnich got into telecommunications initially after serving as chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, a position he took after serving as a senior advisor to former Illinois Gov. James Thompson. He founded NPRG with long-time colleague Clausen in 1993, ahead of the wave of competitive carrier launches following the 1996 Telecom Act.
"Terry had his own way of thinking, and he was willing to step out of the comfort zone, which is what he was doing in Iraq," Clausen said. "He had tremendous respect for the Iraqis who were doing their own original thinking, as the founding fathers of the country, thinking outside the usual models."
Barnich was divorced and had no children.
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