Notes from his Professional Colleagues at Linkedin

Lior Arbel  sent the following message:

Hi George.

I used to work with Gene at Websense. He was a great leader and I was saddened to hear about his passing . A great loss.

I posted about it in LinkedIn and the post got nearly 20000 views and about 45 comments share their memories about/with Gene

He influenced many people life in the Cyber Security industry and I thought it is important to share with his friends and family.

Here is the link to the post.

I've cut and pasted what was there on NYEve.....

From Linkedin, Original post by Lior Arbel

Lior Arbel;  General Manager Europe & North America at Performanta

So sorry to hear about the passing of Gene Hodges. former CEO of Websense (Now Forcepoint)

A true CEO and a leader who inspired me with his approach to the employees. He was professional but also knew how to have fun. (Many stories can be told about nights out with him and Tequila shots).

He will be truly missed. My condolences to his family.

Jake Gertjan Hofwegen;  Turning vision into revenue

So sad to hear about this..I worked with Gene at both McAfee, Network Associates and WebSense. He knew how to have fun but also was a great product visionary (EPO is still a product sold by McAfee)

Such a unique personality, he will be missed.

Mikko Jarvinen;  Security Sales Leader at Trustwave EMEA

So sorry to hear. Gene was great, inspirational and always passionate about taking the business to the next level.

Jannet BorrmannPrograms and Events Manager Bozeman Schools Foundation

Very sad to hear this. Eric Borrmann and I knew Gene & Amanda well during a period where we lead parallel dating, marriage and moving to CA lives, while all working for Network Associates. Both very smart and kind; so sorry for their girls having lost both of these amazing parents way too young. Our heartfelt best wishes to the family.

June BronwasserPartner Manager

Very sad indeed. My condolences to their loved ones, especially their girls.

John McCormackOperating Executive Marlin Equity Partners, CEO at Fidelis Cybersecurity, Board Member Ping Identity, Chairman AppRiver

I had the opportunity to catch up with Gene before thanksgiving. It had been a while. He was very proud of his “Mr Mom” role taking care of his two younger girls he focused on after the passing of Amanda. We spoke fondly of the many great leaders we had at WEBSENSE that “made us look like we knew what we were doing” a classic Gene line. Gene created an immense opportunity for me that I, and my family, are forever grateful for. Gene RIP my friend.

Jeff HoneycombSales at NetSuite

This is so sad.  I wish the best for Amanda's and Gene's children.  Gene was brilliant and I enjoyed our time working together.  Miss you brother.

Guy GolanChief Executive Officer at Performanta Group

The news came as a shock to me!

Serious cold chills ran when I heard the terrible news.

It's been over 8 years since I saw him last. Nevertheless, there was not even once in every year we didn't mention him with the truly fun stories and his great leadership!

I got to know Gene when he was CEO of Websense. He visited South Africa for the first time meeting with one of our major clients. Gene instantaneously impressed the client as authentic and genuine as can be. Needless to say, I was blown away by who he was and the way he approached things. One of his famous observations were that DLP will guarantee revenue generation for Web and Email security but not the other way around.

Gene was willing to be my mentor for nearly 3 years in which I learnt a lot but also got to know him well.

My views of Gene: he was a person one cannot ignore. Immense charisma wrapped with excellent vision. Fun to be around with. Receives huge respect from all around. Very down to earth. Truthful to the cause. His employees were a true asset to him. It was shown in everything Gene did.

Gene, you'll be sorely missed. May you rest in peace! My sincere condolences to his dear family.

Scott SaymanRegional Sales, New England at Vectra AI | Security That Thinks

Very well said Guy Golan.

Neil ThackerChief Information Security Officer EMEA (CISO) & Data Protection Officer (DPO) at Netskope

Such sad news and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.

I first met Gene at the Websense TRITON launch event and instantly connected with him.His passion to deliver a vision and his desire to listen to feedback from customers was a primary reason I joined Websense.He is one of the great leaders in cybersecurity.

Most will remember that he was excited by life, told great stories but most of all was immensely proud of his family.

Rest in peace Gene. You did good.

李雷諾 Lee Reynolds لي رينولدز;  CEO at NETconsent

Very sad news

Katy SollisInside Sales Director at Forcepoint

Really sad news, I saw Dave M's share on Facebook earlier. I have fond memories of Gene as Websense CEO when I first started with the company in 2007 Lior, as you do too I'm sure! RIP Gene.

Chris AdamsStrategic Sales Executive

Lovely man, an inspirational leader with bags of individuality who kept it very very real! R.I.P Gene

Haverford College

Haverford was a transformative time for Gene.

When he arrived, he was still a member of an odd church where snake handling and speaking in tongues were part of the service.  He would go downtown Phili to attend an associate church.  His view of the big picture certainly changed!  He was certain that there was a Master Programmer to the Universe.  I'm more radical atheist myself, so didn't discuss this in a lot of detail with him. Someone else may fill in here.

Gene was an astrophysics major.

He was elected to President of the Student Government as part of a Triumvirate.  Within a week, the Black Students Associate decided to strike.  They would not participate in any aspect of college life (other than classes) until various issues were resolved.  This notion of a strike was novel and the College of Quakers had no idea how to deal with it.  It was a novel enough idea that I don't think the Black Students Association had a real clear idea what resolution they wanted.  This was happening in 1972, so that might seem late for something that sounds so 60s, but "the 60s" as we think of them today didn't really start until the Summer of Love in 1967.  The story of the Quakers on the Main Line (the little train line that passes through Haverford) was that they came to the Main Line to do good and they did very well indeed!  While the College wanted to be open to new things and people, it was really an institution of rich white Quakers who had been to higher education for generations.  So, Gene's leadership skills were sorely tested as the Students who started the strike tried to figure out what they wanted, or, what could really be changed that would improve the conditions they sought to improve.  Nowadays, every college has some program to help first generation college students.  It's often described on their home page and certainly all over their admission pages.  There was no recognition of this back in the early 70s.  So, Gene was being railroaded into a position of representing the establishment when the establishment really didn't recognize students like him.  It was a very polarizing experience. 

Even without those special circumstances, it was rough enough that the other two members of his Triumvirate bailed and he was left holding the bag alone.  It all happened before I arrived and, while it was over and Gene played a critical role, nobody seemed to think that either the strike or the denouement was a success and it was not spoken of.

When Gene arrived at Haverford, there was just one Astronomy Professor, Louis Green.  In his sophomore year, Bruce Partridge arrived.  Gene worked with him on the earliest objects forming stars in the Universe, a topic that really exploded about 30 years later.  The pace of this research slowed when Gene started work programming for the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.