I first met Mike at an ACI national convention. I was on a mailing list of presenters and he reached out to me prior to the convention. He invited me to contribute to and join in a Zimurgy function. I couldn’t bring beer across the border, but he was OK with the Glen Breton Single Malt Ice Whisky I suggested bringing from the frozen North. I had no idea who he was, but I found him hilarious over email, and looked forward to meeting him.
It turns out he was just as hilarious in person, but also full of piss and vinegar, irreverence, outrageousness, and similar passions to me – building science, industry transformation, bringing more women into the industry.
We had fantastic conversations over the years, with and without the influence of beer and whisky. Like many, many others in our industry, I was taken with him. Mike’s passion, honesty, and insights were precious. His generosity boundless.
He invited me to the Burlington Symposium in October, but I was already booked with another set of meetings. I knew I would always and forever rue not going to Burlington, but my commitment was already made (and flight booked).
We had a phone conversation way back in the early summer. He said treatment had slowed him down, and I joked that finally, the rest of us mere humans would be able to keep up with him. He said ‘maybe’, laughed, and then matter-of-factly talked about limited time, facing mortality, what he wanted to accomplish while he could, and his family. He was like that, right? All in-your-face honest and so very, very human.
I told him about an online initiative that I started brewing up in the Spring, aiming to get more women into the industry, as business owners. The premise being that getting more women working on site is one step, but cultural shift cannot happen until women-owned businesses are also the norm. He was all over that. Willing to be a sounding board, a mentor, a cheerleader, a supporter. Yes. Whatever it took, he’d be willing to get this idea off the ground.
For our new initiative, we needed to add ‘soft’ skills courses – sales, customer service, marketing – to our catalogue. So I asked Mike if he had any face-to-face training we could license and re-package/produce as an online course. His response: he had online content already, and so did John Tooley, and so did Peter Troast. And that combo would make a good package for sales, quality assurance, and digital marketing.
I couldn’t believe it. A dream team, in my books.
We started working on bringing these to market in summer, with a production deadline of early January. My production team fell in love with Mike when we started working with the content he sent us, including a series of training videos. Let me repeat, they ‘got’ the essence of Mike via videos.
“Who is this guy? I really like him! He’s so real…”
“How is Mike doing? Have you heard from him?”
We’re ready to launch in January. It feels very weird, given the timing, but I think Mike would approve (#HTFU), and we feel this is our small homage to a really terrific human and a way to continue some of the work that he was so passionate about.
We’re in mourning up here in Canada, too. Thankful for the opportunity to have met and worked with Mike. Grateful for the time he gave us and the example of a life well lived that he blessed us all with.
From all of us at Blue House Energy, deepest condolences to Mike’s family and friends.