A Tribute to Lee Dirks
Many of you will by now have heard the news that our friend and colleague, Lee Dirks, was killed on Tuesday while on holiday in Peru. Lee was on a long awaited solo trip with with his wife, Judy when the accident occurred.
This a true loss for our community - Lee was a force of nature - smart, driven, insightful - and funny as hell. His cutting-edge work in the scholarly communications program for Microsoft Research helped to forge new pathways and new ways of thinking about the nature of digital research. Lee was a champion for meaningful change, and was hugely supportive of SPARC. He was a natural collaborator, always drawing people in to his new ideas and new projects, and brimming with enthusiasm for any new ideas you might present to him.
Lee was the kind of person you just wanted to be around. He could - and often did - fly across the country from Seattle to DC on the red-eye, and show up at a workshop or study committee meeting as fresh as if he'd had a full 8 hours at the Four Seasons, ready to work a full day and then to lead the quest for good food and drink into the night. He was always interested in *you* - what you were working on, what you were thinking about doing next, how your family was. He never failed to engage fully with whomever he was with.
Lee was here jut a few weeks ago, working with me on a National Academies study committee on digital data curation. We talked at length (over many mojitos at a local Cuban restaurant) about SPARC's advocacy work with Congress and the White House, joking with each other over which one of us would make a worse Congressional candidate. It surely would not have been him, as he was natural leader, a straight shooter, and someone you just knew you could trust.
I have no words to describe how much I - and we at SPARC - will miss him.