The world lost an amazing human being today. I can not begin to express my sorrow.
I first met Jon in 1999. I was working on site for a customer and he was hired as a "gofer" for the Senior Project manager who owned the company I was sub-contracting under.
After spending one day with Jon we realized he was much more than a "gofer" and decided to find a way to make him one of the team. I know I wasn't the only one that wanted Jon to do more and soon he was writing training documentation.
I was scheduled to go to Europe to present training and I asked for Jon to come with me and somehow the customer relented. He was a blast and a half in our travels. He told me that he loved traveling with me because I had a back up plan for the back up plan. When everything went to hell in a hand-basket (none of the training materials showed up for our training) Jon and I stood side by side at a photo copier trying to figure out the German commands to photocopy all our materials.
That same trip I remember he sat in the front of the room managing the computer and projector. I stood in the back talking. At one point I was talking to some students not using the projector and everyone started laughing. When I looked up I realized Jon was surfing the web (very new back then) and the entire class was watching. He'd forgotten to turn the projector off. Never a dull moment with Jon.
Another trip to Germany we did together, he and my other friend went to Amsterdam for a long weekend (I didn't want to hang out with a bunch of guys drinking and "whatever" so did my own thing). On Monday, back at the training center, Jon remained red eyed and eventually fell asleep in the back of the classroom snoring! This endeared him even more to the students and they took him out for drinks that evening.
The following weekend Jon and I took a drive and ended up in Switzerland. At the border, we were stopped. Jon was a bit rude to the border guards and they made us get out of the car. As Jon and I stood on the curb, he looked nervous and started sweating. I whispered under my breath, "What is the problem!?" He said back, "I have a little something from Amsterdam in the car." I could have killed him right then and there.
Jon and I took many work trips together. Each trip has special memories. We remained friends after he went on to bigger and better jobs, got married, and started a family. He was an entrepreneur, a joy, and most of all he was a good guy. Most of all, he was simply too young to go.
I can not begin to express my sorrow for his two young girls and his wife as they begin the difficult journey of building a life without Jon. My hope is that they remember the lust for life that Jon expressed in everything that he did and continue to have adventures to honor his memory.