February 16, 2012 | On January 16, the UCAR community was saddened to hear that Andy Tasker, director of the GLOBE Program, passed away after a brief illness.
“We will always remember Andy for his humor, his joie de vivre and for his immense courage,” wrote the GLOBE staff in a letter to Andy’s family. “While only with us at GLOBE for a brief stay, he made an unforgettable impression and has left behind a remarkable legacy.”
Andy joined GLOBE in June 2011, relocating to Boulder from Warwickshire, England. He was already an influential member of the program, having served as GLOBE country coordinator for the United Kingdom since 1996 and as regional representative to the GLOBE International Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2010. His background was in nature conservation and environmental education, with a Ph.D. in ecology.
“Unquestionably, the community has lost a true visionary,” says Jack Fellows, UCAR vice president for corporate affairs and UCP director. “Andy cared deeply for GLOBE and he left an indelible mark on the program.”
Andy was known around the GLOBE office for his open nature and inquisitive personality. Among the program's Boulder staff, Gary Randolph knew him the longest, as the two met at a GLOBE event in 1997 and crossed paths over the years at GLOBE events in Europe.
"Andy was very friendly and inclusive, with a fantastically dry sense of humor. We had a great camaraderie," Gary says, recalling the after-hours wine tasting that the two once enjoyed after a training session in Switzerland. "He was a good friend and a good person and I had a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him."
Some of the words that GLOBE staff members use to describe Andy are friendly, personable, affable, genuine, and passionate.
"His wit and humor were a unique part of his charm," says Valerie Williams. "He was very easy to be around."
"Andy had a special twinkle," says Maureen Murray. "When you were working with him, he'd get excited about your work and want to get involved."
"He was always smiling and popping in to say hello," says Katy Lackey. "And he made you feel like you could conquer the world."
"He had a way of saying things that put you at ease," says Ron Zwerin. "He let everyone be comfortable in their own skin."
Ron says that Andy, who hired him to be GLOBE's communications manager, left a huge impression on him in the two months they worked together. "In that short time, I learned more from Andy than I have from any other manager in any other walk of life," he says. "He asked the most interesting, provocative questions. He encouraged you to say what you knew and tell it like you saw it and know that you didn't always have to be right."
Andy was fond of using British expressions that often sounded funny to American ears. "He would use British vernacular during meetings and then realize that maybe we didn't understand," recalls Donna Charlevoix. "It led to funny conversations."
Gary even went so far as to add two letters to the word "program" on GLOBE's sign in Foothills Lab 4, giving it a British flair as GLOBE Programme. "Andy and I enjoyed a good laugh at that," he says. "I wish I had taken a picture of him next to it."
The cross-cultural humor also went the other way. Katy recalls Andy's surprise and laughter when she once used the word "schwag" in reference to GLOBE's promotional items.
In his six months on the job, Andy helped GLOBE define its mission and write a new strategic plan. He was especially keen on building a strong connection between GLOBE and the rest of UCAR, as well as with the greater Boulder community.
"Because he knew the program well, he had a vision. And he started putting it in motion as soon as he walked through the door," says Donna.
"He really put us on a trajectory to continue to grow and flourish," Ron says.
Outside of work, Andy enjoyed cooking, particularly Thai food. A Bob Dylan fan, he liked to catch live music whenever possible with his wife, Linda. He was especially intrigued by the culture of the American West, making trips with Linda to Leadville and other historical towns. An environmentalist to the core, he arrived for work each morning on a bike or in his Smart Car.
A celebration of Andy's life was held on January 30 in Coventry, England, near his home. He is survived by his wife, Linda Lockhart, and sons Paul and Stephen.
The GLOBE Program—and why it needs your help (By Andy Tasker, Staff Notes, September 15, 2011)