Friday, March 9, 2012

The end (or pause) of an era: Truck Buddy Jon is leaving...

Truck Buddy Jon is leaving to help his family's business in Pennsylvania. It is a sad day (more *Sad face.*)

The back of Jon's head.
I was tempted to write a big, heartfelt hagiography of Jon and all the great feats of brain strength we've done together here at MTB World HQ, but I couldn't think of much, so I'll be brief.

Jon started working with us in the late summer of 2010 or thereabouts. He had that oh-so-uncommon common sense, so when he decided to move to Denver and asked if he could start a branch there to support himself, I said "Why not?" After all, he had a valid driver's license which, back in those days made pretty much anyone eligible to be a crew leader, and I couldn't possibly pass up an opportunity to nickname him "Jon Denver."

Off to Denver he went.

Setting up a branch turned out to be quite impossible. It took me three years to get insurance here, and we couldn't support another branch in addition to our little operation here. So, he became a camp counselor or something, took a side trip to Peru or somewhere, but asked if he could come back and work during the slow season. (I'm sure he told me exactly what he did, but I was probably on Facebook...)

So, he got back here around September 2011, and since work went way, WAY down, and he had nothing better to do, he pretty much hung around the office making spreadsheets, as is his custom. You see, hippie Jon Denver used to wear a suit and work as an analyst in Ballston. He gets all giddy whenever you give him piles of raw data you don't know what to do with. Eventually, I figured this out and gave him projects to do to distract him from bothering me.

I'd ask him to take on what I thought were huge, impossible projects. "Jon Denver," I'd say, "It'd be really cool if we had a grid that showed actual move times between different types of homes. For example, how long does it take, on average, to go from a one-bedroom start type to a one-bedroom end-type? Can you do that?" Thinking I'd get some peace for a week or so, I'd turn back to my project and get to work.

Five minutes later, he'd say "Here you go. I noted how many records each instance is based on..."

It went on like that for six months. In that time we've ripped apart the business' systems and procedures so that now, we JUST might be able to survive the utter chaos of the busy season. In short, it may have been the most productive six months of my life, and certainly the life of the company.

Our brainstorming sessions would last from the time he got back from a job until our brains were mush. On move-less days, we'd start early on the micro level, tackling issues like how to build forms and databases, and work up to the macro level, such as what the company culture should be like. We'd take breaks to argue politics and religion until we'd get frustrated with agreeing uncomfortably too often. It was a feast for both the creative and practical side of the brain. Honestly, I'm afraid things will grind to a halt once he's gone.

A pretty typical brainstorming session (Jon not pictured).


I should probably explain that picture at the top of this post. It comes from how our desks are situated. He faces away from me, and he always joked that I was probably always trying to see how close I could get to touching the back of his head without alerting him because, you know, I have nothing better to do. I'd laugh and call him a psycho, but...he was absolutely right. I did that all the time. I just did a second ago, one last time, for the memories.

We'll all miss Jon Denver, but we wish him the best. It COULD be a sad day, but if there's one thing we've learned in these last few years, you can check out, but you can never leave.

Goodbye, Jon. We'll see you again soon.


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