Eulogy for a Vaping Genius.
Wednesday, 5 November 2014 | John
Some might not know, but I was the first employee at Intellicig (CN Creative Ltd) back in October 2008.
Those were heady, pioneering days, even more than today. By Christmas 2009 we (the two Directors and me)
had a defined and shared vision that these ecigs could really make a huge difference to so many smokers' lives.
The first year's trading was phenomenal with over £1million in sales and all profit was reinvested into research
and development; in early 2009 by creating the first UK-manufactured eliquid, and continuing by establishing a
dedicated Research and Development team. We found two outstanding engineers with all the qualifications and
attributes that were required and they started on a project that was to prove extremely demanding but, eventually,
Konrad Szymkiewicz was one of those two exceedingly talented people, an engineer with a passion for both perfection
and, just as important, for harm reduction. He was also a real gentleman and someone who I was, and am, proud and
privileged to call my freind.
When Konrad joined us he was a bit shy, but so amicable and so open in his quest for the perfect vaping device; not just
perfect performance, but one that would be the safest possible for those using it. He relentlessly studied and pursued the
ultimate materials; everything was subject to his rigorous scrutiny. metals for the construction, metals for the atomiser coil,
silicone components that would withstand the high temperatures safely, the list was endless and the task immense, but he
never once waivered and would never be satisfied with second best.
Konrad was a young guy with lots of talent which was only matched by his height, he was taller than a Giraffe!! I remember
him asking me why I nicknamed him 'Flag' and me explaining that it was because he was taller than a house and a Pole!!!
At this time, the cigalike was still the the most popular mainstream device and Konrad was totally committed to making the
best possible atomiser. I was his chief test pilot, biggest critic, and easily his most ardent fan. He came to me one day with
one of the small atomisers that he had built and asked me to test it for performance and longevity, which was a task I relished
because I knew that his builds were infinitely better than the best that China could offer, even from our factory with its comparitively
high level of quality control. S7 was engraved on the base of that atomiser and it would pass into legend and folklore amongst
those involved in the whole development programme. I used that atomiser every day for nine months with only scant cleaning
every now and then; it performed flawlessly throughout those nine months and was as good on the last day as it was on the first.
It was unheard of in those days when atomisers only lasted a few weeks at best; Konrad had built the ultimate little atty!
It was a sad day when he came into my office and asked for it to be returned so he could strip and analyse it, so much so that I
shamefully lost my rag a bit with him; I had become attached to S7 and didn't want to part with it. I felt so bad I had to find him
to apologise, which I did profusely, explaining that his genius was the reason but not my excuse.
Konrad went on to help create a device that would be eligible for an MA (Market Authorisation) as a medical device. I know there
are those that will scoff and deride such devices, but he was a man of integrity who genuinely believed in that what he was doing
would utimately help mankind.
Some months ago, having left Intellicig and not been in touch with Konrad for a considerable time, I heard that this loveable man
had been diagnosed with a brain tumour which was both inoperable and terminal; I was devastated by the news, lost for words.
Last Thursday, Konrad passed away, an absolute travesty considering his love for life and for helping others. The news has hit me
hard, another 'unfair' ending of life. All that remains is to make sure he is not forgotten and that his name is written into vaping
history as a true pioneer and genuine guy who believed that vaping will save lives, but sadly not his own.
Konrad, you will be forever in my heart, a colleague, a friend, a soulmate who shared our one vision xxxxx