I've been lucky enough to work with Nic Eldridge for over 10 years now, and there's a few things I'd like to say. It was announced on 7th August that Nic has ceased to be the AGDA CEO, ending a run of stewardship that has seen some of the biggest change in this organisation's history.
Nic joined National Council in 2012, and lent his expertise to the role of treasurer, participating actively in a leadership role which oversaw the transition of AGDA into a new company structure in 2014, and launching 'AGDA New', crystallising the new direction into a modern strategy.
He and I formed a close friendship not only through the interactions of my role in AGDA Victoria's council, but also as a participant in the AGDA Design Awards. He actively sought to take the leadership role in our industry's peak awards and studied how we could improve it across all levels. His work as CEO overlapped with his work as the Awards Committee Chair, engaging the most diverse and experienced jurors, working with our partners across the ditch, and connecting with sponsors and partners to ensure we delivered a world-class product. He is the reason why our Awards program is run so effectively and increases in popularity year-on-year.
As CEO, he oversaw the operations of an organisation that is in no way easy to run. Designers are critics first - always eager to point out shortcomings - and he found a way to listen and act where-ever he could. If I ever had an issue that I thought was important, he always had time to listen. If it was well-reasoned and thought through, he would do his best to champion it. I've been witness to his energy and enthusiasm on many occasion, tackling issues with an unbiased and professional attitude that I have always been envious of, and one by which I judge other leaders.
Nic leaves us during a time of great upheaval. Our organisation is coping with a new normal of running events, of holding a virtual awards, of many states being unable to stay closely connected, yet we stay as strong as we ever have, and it's testament to his planning, tenacity and love of the industry that we find ourselves able to forge ahead.
Every time I've been lucky enough to find myself in Adelaide, he's shown me the kind of hospitality that he has shown to extend to everyone. To make us feel at home, to share, to enjoy like-minded design conversations and to seek out the joy we find in challenging each other professionally. If you find yourself in Adelaide in the coming weeks, months then take the opportunity to show your gratitude in any way you see fit. Japanese Whisky at Bad Dog is definitely not a bad option.
It's been a huge honour to work with you Nic, here's hoping that we find future opportunities to continue the good times.