I know that many of you remember my good friend, Les Atles, very kindly. And I know why.
First, Les was a consummate people person. He will be remembered this way by many, many younger generation biomeds who were lucky enough to experience first-hand his talent for teaching and inspired mentoring. Personally, I remember him for being a little bird on my shoulder that was dedicated to waking up the right side of my brain.
Second, Les was a passionate professional. He will be long remembered for his celebrated textbook "A Practicum for Biomedical Engineering and Technology Management Issues". Unlike many books of its kind, Les's book has a deep, rich content that has made it required reading for many of the nation's biomed training programs. For this huge labor of love the ACCE rewarded him with its 2010 Patient Safety Award. And members of the California Medical Instrumentation Association will remember Les for his tireless, pioneering efforts to create and sustain grassroots membership organizations like the CMIA. For this they recognized him in 1988 as a Life Member and again in 2009 as their Professional of the Year. This sincere recognition by his peers meant a great deal to Les. And I know many more-senior biomeds still revere Les for the part he played in creating that very practical Affinity Handbook, which still sits on many biomed department bookshelves. A true man for all seasons; Les is one of a very small handful of biomeds who have been both CBET and CCE certified.
Third, Les was a natural leader as well as an outstanding team player. He was the lynchpin of my own small team of specialists at MasterPlan for many years - but it was as the director of relatively large in-house departments at St Vincent's Medical Center in the 1970s and at the VA Medical Center in West LA during the last three years that these natural talents were best displayed. His staff loved him. But he also had a way with him that easily won over the hearts and minds of his clinical colleagues. Les knew all about great customer service and he practiced it every day.
But, above and beyond all of these outstanding workaday qualities, Les was a great family man. He loved his wife, Linda, dearly; he loved his son; and especially he loved his granddaughter, Nisa Marie.
Please join me in saluting my very dear friend Leslie Robert Atles. The world does not bring us his like very often.
Thank you Les for all of these great memories.
"We'll miss Les and will remember his exemplary contributions to enhancing the health of our communities and bringing our profession to higher levels". Mario Castañeda
"Les was a leader in our field with his books being benchmark references. He was appreciated and touched by far more than he knew - a good man". Tobey Clark
"A great loss to the CE world and all who knew him". Ismael Cordero.
"Indeed a great loss of, in addition to family man, a caring and kind friend. Les brought shining light to the clinical engineering badge and his contributions will keep on shining for our profession". Yadin David
"I do not think I ever met him in person but I did have the privilege of participating in his great achievement, the creation of "A Practicum for Biomedical Engineering and Technology Management Issues" published in 2008. I also had the privilege of using his previous work, an updated version of the old Marquette handbook for biomedical engineering in a number of educational settings. Along with Professors Webster and Dyro, he was a leader in trying to define our profession and help new members to profit from the experiences of those who had gone before. I think an excerpt from the dedication of his "practicum" sums up Les' love of the profession and the people in it: "all the men and women of this profession that I feel so privileged to be a part of" It is we, Les, who have been privileged to work with you". Tom O'Dea
"Les will be greatly missed. I miss him already". Izabella Gieras
"Les was a good soul and he will be missed by all of us....He lives on in the memory of his friends and all those he's touched. All of us can only hope that we, like Les, leave this world a better place when our time comes. My thoughts are with Linda and his family...God bless". Steve Grimes
"And in my experience consistently pleasant--if not jovial. His demeanor is worthy of emulation". Bill Hyman
"I too am saddened at the loss of a prominent member of our society who still had many years of potential contributions ahead of him. But I am pleased to possess an autographed copy of his practicum". George Johnston
"He was an extremely valued contributor to our profession and will be greatly missed". Jim Keller
"Les was one of the few selfless leaders who would risk his own personal funds to revise, update, and expand an old classic (the Affinity Reference Guide) so we all can advance our profession to a higher level. His friendship and insights will be missed but his legacy will live on for many years". Binseng Wang