A moment of silence

Yesterday, I, along with the rest of the Microsoft Exchange community, was shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely death of a colleague and friend, Andrew Ehrensing.

clip_image002For those that never met Andrew, he was truly one of a kind. With his smile, laughter, and genuine good nature and charm, you were disarmed and put at ease. Everyone that met him became friends with Andrew instantly, and boy could he make you laugh with his stories.

Andrew spent his Microsoft career within Microsoft Consulting Services, working on many of the most challenging Exchange and Lync on-premises projects we could throw at him. Recently, he worked with several customers on the transition to Office 365. He worked tirelessly to meet the expectations of our customers and always over-delivered.

Andrew never shied away from passing on his wisdom, either. He taught during the Certified Master program, delivered many solid presentations at conferences like TechEd and MEC, and always made himself available to help out a friend or colleague with a challenging issue.

He approached everything with a passionate zeal, whether it be with work or in his personal life. He always strived for honesty and for doing right by his family and customers. If he didn’t agree with an approach the company or his friends were taking, he would not only tell us, but provide us the necessary evidence to see the error in our ways and wholeheartedly guide us toward the right path.

This is a terrible loss and our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to his wife, children, extended family, and friends.

Andrew will be forever remembered in the annals of Exchange history and in our hearts. If your life happened to be touched by Andrew, please share your anecdotes.  We will collect them and share them with the family.

Rest in peace, Andrew. We miss you.

Comments (62)
  1. Paul Newell says:

    That’s a shame. I met him at MEC. I actually hung out with him and a number of the other Microsoft people after the events each night.

    He was a great guy; he was welcoming and made me feel like one of the MS family. From the short time I spent with him I new him as kind, funny, and enthusiastic.

    My condolences to his family and those who were close to him.

  2. When I first met Andrew I thought I was being pranked. There I was sitting in the Microsoft Exchange Customer IT Fellowship program when this Chris Pontius lookalike came strutting in when a huge grin. I thought any second now the ‘party boy’ song would
    come over the speakers and those of you that know the skit would know what could have been coming next.

    Little did I know then how much Andrew *was* the life of not just any party, but represented life itself. He dazzled me with his smarts and personality for the session of the fellowship he taught, and that was the moment I knew I wanted to some day work at
    Microsoft and somehow attempt to be like he and some of my other present-day colleagues I met nearly 8 years ago.

    I consider myself lucky to have known Andrew over the last few years here at MS, and now cherish the times we did have. It didn’t matter what we were doing. We could be exploring Copenhagen in the early morning hours, listening to him at Bathtub Gin in Seattle
    talk about his enthusiasm for the rebirth of small-batch distilleries in the US, or sitting outside under the stars in Austin at Lucille on Rainey Street with a mix of MEC attendees and MS Exchange employees until 4AM trading stories and enjoying everyone’s
    company. Every… single… situation with Andrew was fun. He loved everyone and everyone loved him. If someone wasn’t having a good time, he’d cheer them up. His smile, his laugh, and his generosity we all the most genuine I’ve ever seen in a person.

    I’ll miss him greatly as I know everyone will. I wish he was still here so I could tell him how much he helped me grow both as a person and professionally. My heart goes out to his beautiful wife and daughters, whom lost more than all of us did that day. He
    loved them more than anything on this planet.

    Rest in peace, Andrew. All of us will see each other again some day and trade more stories.


  3. Thanks for posting this, Ross. Andrew was truly one-of-a-kind. He will be sorely missed and I wish his family and many friends the best through this difficult time.

  4. Charles Derber says:

    A great shocking news here….I’ve been learning MS Exchange through his videos which were available online like TechEd/MEC.

    I hoped someday to meet & Thank him but that wasn’t true :(

    I’ve seen the pics of Andrew & his family on Facebook and feel sorry for his wife & childrens, I pray God comforts and take care of them.

    Today is my B’day I guess am goana remember him henceforth.

    Yes it is too early but sometime we don’t have the answer "WHY" & may his soul RIP.

  5. I had the privilege of being in a workshop with Andrew for a week. It was long days with fixed deadlines, but Andrews’s presence and personality made it more than bearable. He managed to turn hard work into so much fun and the only place where I wanted
    to be. He shared so much knowledge and a wealth of experience with everybody that made the final delivery so much better.

    Andrew, you will always be awesome!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Andrew came on site to help upgrade our Lync to 2013 and he left an impression in a few short days. He was one of the best guys I have ever worked with. He exemplified the concept of knowledge transfer. So helpful and gracious. I hope his family gets friend
    of how big of an impact he had as a engineer and as a person. So sad and way to soon.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Third week of the MCM rotation sees all the candidates in a state of permanent fatigue and overall daze, unable to think, let alone absorb any more of the information overload that is Exchange.

    That’s when Andrew usually delivers his material – clearly knowledgeable, funny, engaging, adapted to the audience at hand, with patience and excitement – and we soaked it up. And then he made himself available to all of us for each and every curious questions
    for as long as he was necessary.

    If a person’s life is measured through not his time with us, but what he left us with – the knowledge Andrew imparted to so many people in such a memorable way makes Andrew’s life a grand one.

  8. Actually, I have never met him. But now I understand he was a great guy and really loved by everyone from their comments.

    Thank you for giving me the wonderful product, Exchange Server! I love it!

    I will continue to support the users in the world who use Exchange Server with our clustering software.

    Again, thank you very much!

    RIP from Japan.

    Fukunaga, Takaaki
    EXPRESSCLUSTER Tech Engineer

  9. We will miss this Exchange Champ. RIP

  10. Anonymous says:

    We will miss you Andrew. Thank you for your help over the years.

  11. Zoltanh [MSFT] says:

    great friend, great mentor. miss you.

  12. I first heard of Andrew when I was preparing to attend my 1st MCM rotation. I saw him in this video (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QCqVwycCVl0) & made it a point to watch all of Andrew’s past presentations
    at MS events & thought the guy was a rock star! Extremely intelligent, charismatic, & someone I wanted to emulate.

    Certain people are able to "own the room" when presenting & have everyone paying close attention to what they’re saying; Andrew was one of those people.

    I was fortunate enough to have a few drinks with Andrew & friends at MEC a few months ago. Even though we had only briefly met once before, he knew who I was & was one of the nicest & most genuine people I had met. I could instantly see how so many people have
    great stories about Andrew & how he’s left such a positive impression on everyone he encountered.

    Andrew was the kind of guy I’d like to aspire to be; both in intelligence as well as class. Though I feel that’s a bar few will reach. He will be missed.

  13. Tragic news and my heart goes out to his family.

    I remember meeting him at TechEd before I entered the MCM program. He put on a great session regarding load balancers and Exchange. At one point the display seemed to blank out and reconnect – Andrew blamed it on his laptop was acting up, but recovered quickly.
    Later, he told me that the beta version of the virtual load balancer he was using would hang when you committed the changes, so he would quickly disconnect the display and switch to another load balancer. Very smooth. :)

    I really enjoyed the few times we worked together, the last being on the Ask the Experts panel at MEC in April. He will be truly missed by everyone.

  14. I had the fortune of meeting Andrew a few times over the years, and of course on the internal Exchange DL’s. No matter the venue (email, in person or on a big group call) Andrew was always one to be counted on for positive and intelligent conversation
    and commentary. Rarely does someone’s smile come out in their written communication, but with Andrew it always did. He leaves behind a huge hole in our community and as Brian says, his family has lost so much more. My prayers go out to them.

  15. Faddal says:

    Hard to believe. Microsoft and the world has definitely lost a brilliant individual! Saddened. Condolences to his family and friends.

  16. Andrew was a great guy and Microsoft has definitely lost a true Champion. I remember interacting with Andrew during a Microsoft Conference where he had got doughnuts for the audience. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  17. Roel Baan says:

    This is very sad news..
    Rest in peace.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi had never imagined, I would go into press, for something like this about Andrew. It has been a tragedy in its entirety and is still unimaginable that he is gone. I was in touch with him over the last few years during his visits here at TechEd New Zealand.
    After event dinners, hanging out at Ask the Experts during TR in Redmond, coordinating, his sense of humour and friendly nature, is how I’d remember Andrew.


  19. Kip Ng says:

    Thank you for writing this, Ross. We will indeed miss Andrew.

  20. Bob Christian [MSFT] says:

    Andrew was one of the most amazing human beings that I knew. I loved working with him and appreciated his mentorship and level-headed responses and amazing sense of humor. Andrew was like a big brother to many of us and made us all better people. Your
    sense of adventure, giving me exercise via walking the Disney grounds and getting waved in by security *AT 1 AM* was EPIC. My thoughts and prayers are with Andrew's family and friends.

    We lost a great man way too soon.

  21. Peter De Tender says:

    When I was at Microsoft Campus first time ever in 2011, being an Exchange guy, I managed to have a meet 'n greet with some MCM trainers at that time. Andrew was one of them, (together with David Bjurman-Birr). It was great talking to him, not only about
    Exchange but also about my 1st visit to Campus. We stayed in touch and since then we catched up during MS conferences when time allowed it.

    Surprising news, made me quiet. All the best to his family and friends, and colleagues. He'll be missed!!

  22. Eric Royce says:

    Very nice tribute Ross. Thanks for sharing about what a great guy he was. I never met him, but did get to see him at MEC.

  23. jason pope MSFT says:

    A great friend and a wonderful teacher. Andrew you will be missed always.

  24. Lori Chaconas (MSFT) says:

    I had the opportunity to know Andrew, he was a wonderful soul. He took great pride in his work and he was great at it. There really is no adequate way to express in words how much Andrew impacted others on his team, customers, and friends here at Microsoft.
    He was my UC go to guy many times when I had questions and he never let me down. My deepest condolences to his family.

  25. Chris von Seggern says:

    I only had the chance to spend one evening with Andrew, about five years ago, but I remember him as a really friendly, smart, fun-loving guy. I'm sorry to know he's passed.

  26. T.H. Maugh - MSFT says:

    Guys like Andrew burn bright, and there passion and intensity provides a beacon for others. I was fortunate to have a friend like Andrew, and lucky enough to work alongside with him. He had a zeal that would not be matched, and no matter how divergent
    our opinions we always came out the other side together. Most of all he cared, and it was genuine.he is the reason I consider Microsoft home and my family. You have to work here to understand, and its people like Andrew that inspire greatness in us all.

  27. Shawn Harry says:

    This is very very sad news. I met Andrew at MEC and made a point of going to meet him as iv have always been a great fan of his work and material which i mentioned to him when we spoke. This is a huge loss to the Exchange and Lync community. Such a tragic
    loss at such a young age. Deepest condolences to his family.

  28. jim says:

    Andrew was someone who was always available and always had the answers. He supported our Lync 2010 deployment three years ago and I personally would not have been successful without his help and support. I suspect that everyone he worked with is better
    for having met him and am deeply saddened by his passing.

  29. William Gallagher says:

    OMG, unreal. I worked with Andy on Wrigley and on the City of Chicago migration from Novell to Microsoft. He and I went out for a (in his words…) a good time drink, he scotch and I Irish Whiskey, and it was just a genuine evening, sharing stories and
    laughs. I just remember it as just buds hanging out, a throwback to a simpler time. Andy was a scholar and someone you could just count on. We were meaning to get together again, but never worked out schedule wise. No time like the present, never forget it.

  30. Anthony de Lagarde says:

    Rest in Peace

  31. Raheem Shapi says:

    Like others have said a great guy who will be sorely missed.

  32. Parijat Deb says:

    I'm shocked… The messaging community lost a great member…!!
    My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

  33. Ismail [MSFT] says:

    This is really a shocking news.

    We lost one of the best champion from our Exchange community. I remember few meetings and training conducted by him, his way of going beyond to teachexplain was excellent.

    We are going to miss him


  34. John Cook says:

    Thanks for doing this Ross.

    I knew Andrew from Chicago when I was just getting into this business. He was the reason
    I wanted to goto MCM; I always looked up to him. I was working on the merger of
    the Chicago board of trade and mercantile exchange and when he would come
    for meetings and I would get all excited because we would go to lunch afterwords.

    He was always a rock star to me.

  35. Garreth Lombard says:

    Good guy. He was an inspiration!!! My deepest condolences he will be missed

  36. Beth Belluardo says:

    I had the pleasure of attending MCM with Andrew as a trainer. He had such passion for the technology and for helping all of us learn it. Andrew was such a wonderful and special person. My heart goes out to his family. He will be missed.

  37. Chinthaka says:

    This is really tragic news. Exchange community learn lots about Exchange and Lync stuff from his excellent presentations over the years.

    Deepest condolences to his family.

  38. Adam T says:

    Way too early, shocking.

  39. Jakob Østergaard Nielsen says:

    I met Andrew during the Office 365 Summit in Copenhagen, and fortunately had a chance to talk with him after the sessions. He was a great and helpful personality and his absence is a truly loss for us all. Rest in peace, Andrew.

  40. Nick Vine says:

    Such shocking and saddening news, thoughts are with his family :( He was a brilliant instructor, I have seen him twice in Sydney for MS ignite summits, both times incredibly informative. Will be sorely missed throughout the community.

  41. Thanks Ross for this tribute! I first met Andrew during a Teched Conference. He also was one of the Instructors during a Masters upgrade class I attended. He was indeed the most generous, kind and funny person I ever met. He instantly made you feel you
    and him were friends who knew each other for a long time. I'm still struggling with the fact that I won't have the opportunity to meet with him again. Like others I cherish the moments we did have.

    RIP Andrew, you will be missed! My thoughts and deepest condolences to his wife, kids and family.

  42. Fabrizio Berton says:

    The entire world is missing a great guy and I'll miss you too Andrew…. A prayer for your family…

  43. Peter Banks says:

    I met Andrew and found him a very inspiring person. My time spent with him will be with me forever. Having lost my wife at an early age I understand this sudden loss is huge, but time does heal and your memories will last forever, you never lose them.
    Love to you all.

  44. Jeroen Reijling says:

    Andrew and myself met on the MCM Rotation #6 and on the Lync MCM rotation (#15?). We had a great time and enjoyed some great meals together. He invited me to his temporary appartment where his wife cooked us some asian food and we had a great time! Last
    time we had a beer was in Copenhagen… All the best for his wife and kid(s)!

  45. Jessica Davis, MSFT says:

    Ross, thanks for taking the conversation out to the public, it took me a while to get the nerve to post publicly, but I feel Andrew deserves the thoughts and sharing from us all. Since I got the call from another Microsoft Engineer, I've been in a fog
    of not understanding what happened. A call a few days earlier, and then the news of someone you work with, someone you see as a friend is gone. Just gone. For me, as I read the comments of others, it holds true, working with Andrew, you gained a friend immediately.
    I've had the pleasure, no the HONOR, to work with someone that I considered more than one would call a mentor. More of the scholar as some indicate, a wealth of knowledge, and someone who can humble you in a minute when you see and heard him speak with such
    precise words, such assurance to others, and then also for us that worked with him in the Microsoft Office or together, of course the funny conversations, wise cracks and boy stories that you just sat there and said.. Whaa? He was funny, and I truly am proud,
    happy and will always say, "I knew Andrew Ehrensing." Though others will have stories that mean so much to them, I still will say, "I knew and worked with Andrew Ehrensing." The tears I have now and then are not all from the loss, but also from the fact that
    he inspired me and now inspires me to do more. I hate to say that when we lose the best, we are forced to reflect on our own lives. Andrew is doing that now. "Thank you Andrew for allowing me to work alongside you, and it hurts to know the last conversation
    I had with you was just a few days before you left us. I will always hold those last few words, and joking around, as the sign off from you to us…" Before the conference call….. me and Andrew on the line: Jess "Andrew, how you doin?!" Andrew: "Hey Jess,
    doing better now, but you all are really working me!" Jess: "All in a days work?" Andrew: "And you know it, thanks for asking… now, let's get this going… " Take care buddy, Thank you for your friendships, and funny arguments over dinner and drinks with
    the Microsoft Crew. This project we are on, uncovered a huge loss and it is you. Others will step in your shoes, but know, your shoes are going to be very, very, hard to fill. As a first Exchange Blog poste EVER from me: I say, in Italian: Buon viaggio. E
    guardare fuori per noi. Ci mancherà. Good Travels, and look out for us, you will be truly missed. Ciao mi amico. Ciao. ~ Jess

  46. Dave Goldman [MSFT] says:

    I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew on several occasions about specific exchange technologies. Andrew was a fun individual to chat with! My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  47. Andi Conrad says:

    I am exceptionally sad for the loss of Andrew and my heart an prayers go out to all closest to him. Thank you so much for sharing – Ross, Brian, Jess I loved your moving comments, they've brought me to tears. And to all, I am so pleased to hear your stories
    of Andrew. He lives on in your stories.

  48. Luke Edson says:

    Wow, what a shock. One of my favorite guys at MSFT! I certainly enjoyed learning from him, and was looking forward to working with him in the future. He will be seriously missed, and sadly, quite amount of knowledge gone to us. :'(

  49. Geoff Overland says:

    I am extremely saddened by Andrew steeping into eternity. My most recent memory was when Andrew picked me up at O'Hare airport because my flight was cancelled due to weather. We all know how much he traveled, so I was shocked when I caught him at home.
    I spent the night at his house and over dinner, we reminisced about our times together in Chicago. Man did we laugh, but now I cry. We will all miss him dearly. You are a great friend.

  50. Dominik R. [MSFT] says:

    So sad… Best wishes to his family. Keep strong. We lost one special kind.

  51. Butch Waller says:

    I met Andrew for the first time in Chicago back in 2009. He and John Rodriguez were hammering (and thankfully sharing) some red velvet cupcakes they'd received for free from a store employee near the end of the day. Must have been Andrew's much fuller
    beard than the pic above and his resemblance to a historic figure. If he'd been wearing Ross' Yoda robe, they might have given him the keys to the store…

    I am a more fortunate human being for having briefly known Andrew, and I am all the poorer for his loss. Thoughts and prayers for his family.

  52. Dave Barnett [MSFT] says:

    Wow, what a loss to not only the technical community, but to Andrew's family as well. I've knew Andrew for several years. He was a consultant on a few of my projects, I knew him through my MCM rotation, the MEC, TechReady internal MSFT conferences and
    the various social events over the years with the product group. His loss will be felt immensely not only as a gap in the Exchange team, but also as a friend for many, many people as evidenced from this blog. Our thoughts and wishes are with his family now
    as they come to cope with this terrible and sudden loss. We lost a great man too soon, but it's they that really feel the loss. RIP, Andrew!

  53. Roger Monaghan says:

    Andrew was a great guy with a warm heart and great sense of humor. I met Andrew when he joined my IT team in Chicago 20 years ago. It was apparent from the beginning that Andrew had huge potential. I am amazed by all that he accomplished and very sad he
    has left us before his time. He will be sorely by all his friends.

  54. Oliver Moazzezi says:

    I met Andrew at an Exchange airlift event. We hit it off right away and we spent most of the evening with other Microsoft MCS and PM guys and gals talking the night away over a couple of drinks. He was a really really aproachable person, I simply cannot
    state that enough. We stayed in contact over facebook and I knew I could always reach out to him via email or Lync.

    I raised a glass in your honour dude when I heard of your untimely passing. It hit me hard even though our friendship was over the wire.

    You rock dude.

  55. Robert Gillies [MSFT] says:

    I haven't had the heart to post before now. I knew Andrew for many years working at Microsoft. I worked with customers with Andrew. I taught MCM with Andrew (I see some familiar names below that we taught together). I presented at TechReady (internal MSFT
    for those that might not know) on stage together with Andrew. I took the picture above when Ross and I were at dinner with Andrew about 9 days before he passed away. I learned so much from Andrew every time I worked with him. There was never a lack of a good
    time when Andrew was around, whether it was on long-haul MCM teaching days, customer meetings, or just going out in the evening with the friends he had just met that day.

    Same as many of my other friends will say, Andrew was my best friend, and I will miss him very much. The world is going to be considerably less fun without him around.

  56. Christy Hilgers says:

    Andrew's obituary suggests sending donations for a education savings account to Ross Smith IV at Bright Start Microsoft. Can you help me learn how to contact Ross to make a donation? Thanks Christy

  57. Betsy Barnhouse says:

    I just learned of this today (9-22-14) and I'm so sorry to hear this. Andrew was an amazing, kind-hearted person. He was quick to help everyone, always willing to share his knowledge and humor. I know his family will miss him, but if it helps in any way
    to know how much we loved working with Andrew, let it be known that he was truly in a class by himself and will be missed.

  58. William Yang says:

    Still remember Andrew's charming smiles during the ranger training days. RIP, friend!

  59. FA/Purser Flight 863 SYD/SFO says:

    I read your post on Andrew Ehrensing's passing, and felt compelled to share my brief, but memorable encounter with Andrew, as it was, sadly, one of his last.

    I was on the plane that Mr. Ehrensing was on as a passenger September 3rd. I was one of the crew who came to his assistance. Sadly, all our efforts were not enough, and I was there when Andrew passed.

    True to the posts recounting his character that followed your article, he was a jovial, cordial and engaging passenger on our plane, and chose to interact with many of us during the long flight to Sydney. He was not merely a passenger to us. He was a live person,
    one we came to know by name and by sight during the long flight. He was the very first person to board our aircraft at Door 1L, and he didn't merely walk on, he had a distinct lilt of someone who was happy to be there and at home in his surroundings. In a
    sea of people that a B777 aircraft sometimes appears to be, he stood out as a distinct individual, and by all accounts here, he was regarded much the same in all aspects of his life. For us, his passing was (is) very personal, and I just wanted someone who
    knew him — a friend, a colleague, a family member — to know this.

    My deepest sympathy to those who knew him well, and to his wife and his two small daughters which I just now learned he left behind. In a twist of irony, I too, lost my father when he was only 39 years of age, and as a 7 year old when he passed, it deeply affected
    and shaped my life in the years that followed. I hope it comforts them to know Andrew passed in his sleep, a man undoubtedly at peace with all he had accomplished in his life. The accolades he has received here by many for his expertise in the technology industry
    is by far overshadowed by the love and respect that is apparent in all who posted here. I may have been the last to shake his hand, but I share that handshake and that smile of his I received while we exchanged greetings onboard our plane with all of you here.
    Rest assured, even those who knew him only briefly were as deeply affected by his passing as those who were close to him.

    My entire crew send their heartfelt condolences. I hope the knowledge he was amongst those who grew to know him and regard him as more than merely a passenger on the plane where he passed brings comfort to all who knew him well. He will not be forgotten:-(

  60. John Dashiell says:

    Stunned and saddened to hear this. He worked on a project for our company a few years ago. He was smart, funny, charismatic, and made you feel like you friend. I saw him working at MEC in Austin this year and made a point to go over and say hello. Glad
    I did. RIP Andrew.

  61. Shocked, RIP Andrew says:

    So shocked and saddened to learn about passing of Andrew, may his soul Rest In Peace

  62. Tom Ehrensing [ Andrew's Uncle] says:

    I wanted to thank all who have posted here. We knew Andrew from "the little kid who broke things" to a young man full of life. His antics around the family table at his Grandparent's in New Orleans were worth the price of admission. All of your thoughts
    and stories about him make me realize how much he touched everyone, not just his family. We all knew him as a good kid, I'm glad you got to know him too.

    Thanks again to all of you.

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