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Remembering Felipe – A Tribute to a Great Visionary and Friend

As I write this blog, I am looking out the window, observing the rain that is falling, and also the flowers that are blooming. In my background is the sound of music from a carefully selected Spotify playlist called “Angel Healing.”  Life as we know it has been forever changed, and I can’t help but to keep thinking to myself how 2020, in so many ways, perhaps is really serving as a spiritual awakening for humanity. And I hope that someday, we truly can grasp this experience with more understanding and embrace the positives, even in a time of such confusion, sadness and loss.

On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, JSA and the telecom community as a whole learned about the passing of Felipe (“Phil”) J. Alvarez, a devastating blow in this already uncertain and fragile time. Immediately upon hearing the news, Felipe’s colleagues and friends reached out to each other with texts, skypes, phone calls and LinkedIn messages, all sharing in our heartbreak, disbelief and shock, and the realization of knowing this pain we were all feeling was just a fraction of what his family is going through right now. Our hearts and deepest prayers go out to them.

Working in telecom for more than 12 years now, I have had the heartwarming experience of witnessing just how close knit our community is and how we all naturally come together in the toughest of times, to help, support and innovate. The resiliency of this industry and its people is astounding.

United Fiber & Data (UFD), where Felipe served in his most recent position as CEO, released its heartfelt statement yesterday, mourning the loss of Felipe, and honoring his life and legacy as “an outstanding leader, visionary and a tireless advocate for the telecommunications industry,” and above all, “a beloved and devoted husband, father and friend.” Wholeheartedly we agree that “we will all miss his kindness, humor and tenacious spirit in our lives…” And that laugh…Felipe had an unforgettable laugh; a warmth, and a calming presence about him. He was a special soul, and always will be.

As we continue to show our love and outpouring for Felipe, we wanted to share a few of the sincere thoughts, memories and condolences from our community, demonstrating the impact Felipe had on our lives.

“Felipe was an exceptional colleague, a passionate, brilliant and beloved leader, teacher, mentor and friend. With his passing, we have lost a dear friend and inspiring person.”

-Christopher Lodge, member of the board and COO, United Fiber & Data

“With the passing of Felipe, United Fiber & Data has suffered a major loss. We will greatly miss him and his unmatched dedication to bringing positive changes to the telecommunications industry.”

-Andrew Paxton, president and general counsel, United Fiber & Data

“I have had the honor to know Felipe for about 20 years– since he was at RCN and I was at Telx.  Over the years, and representing many amazing brands together, he has been my mentor, my advocate and my friend. He is truly a visionary- and my heart hurts for our industry’s huge loss and for the beautiful family he leaves behind. My love and prayers.”

-Jaymie Scotto Cutaia, Founder and CEO, JSA

“Felipe was my friend and my mentor. He always gave me kind and valuable advice, and expressed confidence in my suggestions and opinions. He was supportive in my career moves, checked in with me often, asking how my son was doing. I wanted to have so many more conversations with him. I am going to save our conversations on LinkedIn forever; they are a good reminder of how businesses work and how to look out for yourself and your family, and how to honor change, and always be grateful.”

-Meghan McNally, Director of Marketing, Cadence Education and former JSAer

“After working, playing and growing with Phil over 15 years, I will miss him.”

-Mike Jonas, President, Global Customer Operations, LightRiver

“My brother I already miss you. … You truly touched everyone that knew you..Blessings and condolences for your family…”

-Walter Cannon, Vice President, ZenFi Networks

“Phil was my boss several times in my career, my mentor and most importantly my friend. He was smart, kind and fun to be around.  He will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to his family.”

-Maura Mahoney, Senior VP, Marketing & Product Management, FirstLight

“Felipe was always so kind to me, a gentleman, worked several locations together, very sad, sincere condolences and prayers to his family, Rest In Peace, Felipe…”

-John Danko, Director of Business Development, 1025 Connect

“I am at a loss for words…I will never forget Phil, and what he brought to all of our lives. I have known him for so long, respecting his friendship, guidance, and kindness. I am grateful for the laughs we had together in Miami earlier this year, and will cherish that along with all of my other memories. Truly sorry the world lost such a great man.”

-Robert Bianco, VP Business Development, Hylan

“Phil was not only a great friend in the industry for over 15 years but one of my mentors when I was getting started in the fiber business. He was always there to talk and give sound advice. I am truly saddened by this news and my heartfelt condolences to his family and to the UFD team. Keep smiling Phil and rest easy my friend.”

-Mike Sevret, President, South Reach Networks

The UFD team welcomes the community to continue to share condolences, thoughts and memories on its post here, or by emailing [email protected]. You can also read Felipe’s obituary here, which includes information on services and call for donations to charities in his memory.

Felipe, you will never be forgotten. Your legacy of wisdom, kindness, and drive to better not only our industry, but humanity as a whole, will forever live on. Rest in peace, my friend, and we will see you on the other side.


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