Carlo J. De Luca was a father to me.
I’ve worked with Carlo for the past 19 years, but my journey with him started as a child, guiding me when the world offered too many choices, advising me when I couldn’t see a path forward, pushing me when I needed to be pushed, protecting me when I needed to explore, focusing me when my thinking needed honing, and inspiring me to reach beyond my grasp. He provided a foundation on which to build a profession, an example for developing a strong character, an opportunity for starting a family. Carlo did these things for everyone he met. He reveled in the successes of his students, and derived great satisfaction from watching careers blossom.
I remember landing at the airport in Boston, many years ago, with nothing more than a backpack, well-used mountain bike, and a rolled up degree handed to me the previous day. Carlo was eagerly awaiting my exit from the terminal, in that big, black Mercedes he had at the time. For several months I had been talking to him about my career options (should I go to Toronto or Ottawa, should I work at large company or a small company and so on). Of course he had slowly, and purposefully been seducing me to come to Boston. He had just received a grant, and had plans to sell a new kind of EMG device. He insisted that before going home we stop and visit his new company Delsys. As we weaved through traffic, he told me how he had projects with Nasa and we were going to work with astronauts, and that he had projects with the army and were doing work with special forces (and in a hushed voice would say “we can’t talk about that because you never know who’s listening), and that we would have the world’s most advanced technology at our fingertips. He went on; we had access to the world’s best medical facilities, and there were 12 major universities within walking distance of Delsys, over 250 thousand students lived in the area- I was going to love it here. By the time he parked the car, I had an impossible vision of Delsys in my mind- a kind of engineer’s oasis that could only be rivaled by science fiction movies. We got out of the car and he led me down a crooked hallway, no wider than a door, sandwiched between a bookstore and a bagel shop. It was dimly lit, the paint was peeling, the air was stale. The elevator struggled to get to our floor. At the end of the hall was a gouged white door, which he gleefully burst open and announced “this is Delsys!”.
Inside, I saw a barren room with 1 chair, 1 desk and a pile of papers in the corner. I was struggling to reconcile the vision he created in my mind, with what my eyes were seeing. The first words out of my mouth were “Carlo, I think you opened the wrong door”.
But of course when Carlo opened that door he didn’t see what I saw. He didn’t see what lay before him, he saw the possibility of what could be. He saw Delsys as it exists today. Today, he would proudly tell you Delsys employs over 30 of the best and brightest people. Our activities span research, design, development, manufacturing , sales and support. We own our own building. We sell products all over the world. We are expanding the science of his field, and expanding ourselves in the process.
Carlo was a visionary, a consummate leader, and relentless in his passion for science and electromyography. He did not suffer fools easily and insisted that those around him do the same. He held everyone, including himself to the highest of standards and expectations. He was fearless in his pursuits and expected to be challenged.
He loved everything about life; he had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, politics, culture, history, the arts, technology, medicine, the world at large, cuisine and of course wine. He was a captivating storyteller and in his presence, these traits were infectious. In life he taught us how to live, and even in the end facing insurmountable odds he taught us how to move forward gracefully, resolutely and undaunted by what lay ahead.
While we pause to reflect on his bright light that illuminated so many paths for us all, and the beautiful westward sunset that his time amongst us has created, he would want us to turn around and face East. It is here where we see his light casting a long shadow at our feet, pointing us in the direction of the coming dawn; while the path may seem dark for the moment, he gave us the tools to push forward, embrace the horizon before us and shape our future. It is with this foundation and this spirit that we continue to thrive, we continue to better ourselves, and we continue the mission of Delsys, fulfilling his vision.
July 25, 2016
Gianluca De Luca
VP Product Development
Delsys Inc./Altec Inc.