It’s a little known fact that the first CCIE number issued was CCIE #1025 (210+1). Apparently, Cisco didn’t want to start the program with number 1, so they started it with one more than two raised to the tenth power — a fitting designation for a technical arena where manipulating binary numbers and managing IP addresses matters so much. In trolling over the Cisco website this morning, I noticed with some sadness that Stuart Briggs, who not only earned the very first CCIE, but who also helped to develop the program and its credential starting twenty years ago in 1993, passed away at age 53 on June 24, 2013.
Here’s the banner from the Cisco announcement page about Mr. Briggs (he ran a small farm in northern CA in his spare time, which is why he’s shown driving a tractor in the right-hand photo).
Mr. Briggs endeared himself to his peers and colleagues by not only helping to design and improve the CCIE program during his tenure with that group, but also by organizing a team of Cisco professionals who created a knowledge base about Cisco products for use by its customers. The announcement pays homage to him by saying “…Stuart quickly made a name for himself not only as a keenly intelligent and imaginative contributor but also as a revered colleague and peer always willing to help and by extension teach, those who were in need.”
Paul MacNamara of NetworkWorld, also wrote a short obit about Mr. Briggs on June 27, entitled “Stuart Biggs, first Cisco CCIE, dies at age 53.” The piece is very well worth reading because of its recitation of the early days of the CCIE program, and Briggs’ instrumental role in helping to bring it to life. So here’s a request to all my readers who are also CCIEs — or who aspire to earn that august credential: the next time you raise a glass, please toast Mr. Stuart Biggs, who helped to make your nonpareil certification possible.