Dieter Kowalski is the first American casualty identified from the bombings in Sri Lanka, according to a LinkedIn post from his boss.
Kowalski’s last Facebook status was posted on April 19, where he wrote, “And the fun begins. Love these work trips. 24 hours of flying. See you soon Sri Lanka!”
Kowalski’s death was first announced by his employer, but his brother also acknowledged the tragedy in a comment on Kowalski’s recent Facebook status. Derrick Kowalski wrote,
“It is with great saddness and deep regret that as Dieter’s brother that I confirm that Dieter was among the victim’s that passed away in Sri Lanka. As we know that Dieter saw his friends as family, we would like to share our grief over this tragic incident. More information to follow. We have all lost a brother today… RIP Dieter”
Here’s what you need to know:
Kowalski, 40, Was Based in Denver & Worked at Pearson
Kowalski was 40 years old at the time of his death, and was living in Denver, Colorado. News of his death was confirmed by John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, who wrote a LinkedIn article paying tribute to his fallen employee.
Fallon wrote in part,
As a senior leader of our Operation Technical services team, Dieter was looking forward to an action-packed week, working with our local engineering teams to troubleshoot some difficult challenges that were important to our customers, and with whom Dieter regularly engaged. He was excited about the chance to meet again in person, some two and a half years after his last trip, with Sri Lankan colleagues who had become good friends. Our Sri Lankan colleagues were very much looking forward to seeing him, too.
Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was. They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out. Dieter, they tell me, was never happier than cheer-leading for our customers and our company and inspiring people in the best way he knew how – by helping them to fix things and doing it with joy, happiness and grace. He was a man who took great pride in the purpose of our company – helping our students progress in their studies and their lives mattered to him.
Kowalski’s own LinkedIn profile confirms he was a Senior Technical Operations Leader, with a bio that reads, “I have been a hard worker with years of experiences in various skills including managing, communication, and sales. I have earned my Masters in Business with a focus in Leadership and have helped change organizations in a positive manner. I am eager, outgoing, and energetic. I am bilingual in German/English.”
He was an employee at Pearson for over ten years.