Remembering Storage and SED Expert Michael Willett

Date Published: January, 12, 2017


Many TCG members and those in the storage community fondly recall Dr. Michael Willet, who died Dec. 24, 2016 after a short illness.

Willett previously represented Seagate and Samsung in TCG and was a tireless, globetrotting evangelist and advocate for self-encrypting drives (SEDs). With fellow work group members, he co-developed the original SED specifications in his role as co-chair of the TCG Storage Work Group. Willett was instrumental as well to the development of SED compliance and certification programs. He was most recently associated with Bright Plaza and honored in November 2016 by TCG as a key contributor.

On behalf of TCG and SEDs, Willett spoke at hundreds of events over the last 12 years, including RSA, Storage Visions, Creative Storage, the Flash Memory Summit, SNIA conferences and many more, including TCG webcasts. With his deep industry connections and understanding not only TCG standards but interfacing with complementary standards organizations.

Commercially, he was integral to Seagate’s implementation of SED standards in its products and later worked with Samsung to include SED capability in that company’s solid state drives.  Willett also authored a number of articles and spoke frequently to the media and analysts about SEDs and data protection.

Many TCG members recall Willett’s “gentle intelligence”, his calm approach to sometimes-divisive technical issues, his grasp of cryptography and complex storage technical concepts, and his network of storage industry colleagues. He was known for his deep love for his family and tales of his adventures, including hiking, camping, skiing, golf and kayaking.  We at TCG also recall his never-ending energy and enthusiasm for helping those inside and outside the organization understand how to protect their data using industry standards. He will be greatly missed.

Please see the full obituary at


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