This story is a good one to illustrate Jeff’s prodigious talent as a designer. A couple of years ago, I was working with a progressive community on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia on a Middle and High School project. After a tough day of workshops and some ambitious design ideas on the wish-list, I got back to the hotel room late in the evening and skyped Jeff to ask for help. I passed on the site info and all the notes from the day’s meetings and asked him if he could sketch something for me to show the clients the next day (since it was still early in the morning for Jeff, he could work while I slept – thus giving us a 24-hour work window). Anyway, I went to bed not expecting much. Opened up email early the next morning and I saw design solutions that (I thought) were absolutely brilliant and had tackled all the tough challenges of the site while meeting every one of the client’s needs. Later that morning, with a large group of school people assembled, I presented a PowerPoint featuring Jeff’s magic from the night before. During the presentation, I was looking at the faces of the two women educators who were leading the charge on the client school’s behalf and when I finished, I saw them sitting there saying nothing at all! One minute passed and then almost another minute went by and I thought – “damn – they did not get it!” Just then, one of the women spoke up in a tremulous voice looking at her colleague. “I was too choked up to talk. Is that why you are silent also?” In response, women #2 just nodded her head vigorously in agreement and soon both had tears streaming down their cheeks along with radiant smiles that told the whole story about what this design meant to them. In my lifetime, I have met many good, even great designers. But I don’t know anyone who could evoke the kind of awed responses to their work like Jeff has been able to. Hats off to you my friend. It has been an honor and a privilege to work for so many years beside the One. Or maybe I should say, The One and Only. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Picture shows suited and booted Jeff during site walk with colleagues at Porirua College in New Zealand.