Goodbye, Justin

I put a lot of things on this blog, but not everything. One of the bigger bits of news that I’ve kept off of here is the fact that Justin, after some 6+ years, is going to be leaving Emmis Interactive.

This is not an easy decision for him to make, and I don’t presume to go into the details about the how’s and the why’s. Suffice it to say, after much soul-searching and contemplation, Justin has decided upon another direction.

There will be a lot of travel in Justin’s future. Out to the west coast, out past the oceans and over to India. He’s going to be spending more time with his family, and more time working on his own projects.

This was not an easy decision for him; this was not an impulsive decision. But after many conversations and late evenings, I believe this is the right decision for him.

Justin’s is a singular mind, and one I don’t believe we’ll encounter again in the workplace. He’s one of those guys who… if he stopped learning today, you could spend the rest of your life studying, and still not get caught up.

From a work perspective, I’m sad to see him go. It’s difficult to imagine someone who is quite literally one of the pillars, the foundations of the division where I work today. I remember talking with Justin many years ago, back in 2000 when I first moved to Chicago. We’d talk about ways to merge our skills (me working with Flash, him working with code/databases). Justin was the one who got me my first interview with Emmis.

I don’t know that either of us could have imagined what would follow: us working in the same office, and getting the chance to collaborate over the course of the next 4+ years.

From a personal perspective, I’m sad that I won’t see my friend every day. But I’m in the unique position where I’ll get to see him a bit more than most. I look forward to our future converastions, as work has been our common point of experience for too many years now. I’m looking forward to our talks about technology, potential collaborations, projects, music, movies, literature… a lot of the stuff we used to talk about, before the workplace conversations took over.

Like most everyone at the office, I’m sad to see him go. It’s a difficult thing, imagining the workplace without him. But the energy I’ve seen from him these last few weeks, the glint in his eyes. I’m seeing a side of Justin that I haven’t seen in… well, in too long.

In a lot of ways, I hate to see him go. And in a lot of other ways, I’m happy to see him back.

Below, I’m posting some images from his Farewell party that we had for him. A lot of the video might not be that audible, but honestly… this post is more for me than you. The speeches will probably give you some indication of the mood, even if you can’t hear all the words.


For his last meal, Ben, Chris and I took Justin out to Zaiqa – a local Indian/Pakistani place that Justin introduced us all to, a long while back.


Everyone in the office, piling into the elevator (circa 4:30 PM).


We settle in, and a round of margaritas are ordered. These things are HUGE, and roughly the size of my head. I only end up getting about halfway through one before that splotchy thing kicked in. Basically, it’s an Asian reaction to alcohol (sometimes), and feels like an instant hangover: pounding headache, and an insane desire to just go to sleep. I stopped for a while, and was able to get back to normal after about 30 minutes or so.


A nice shot of the developers, all chatting away.





I get a second wind and decide I’m ok to drink some more. Shots are ordered. Things start to go downhill… right around now.



Chris and Justin, having a heart-to-heart.


Aaaaaaand, round 2.



Chris, underneath a rather prophetic sign.


Anthony – another former Emmis employee – stopped in for a surprise visit, to bid Justin farewell.


This is my new favorite picture of Allison.



Ben decides to try on Bryan’s style, bling and all.


It becomes contagious – Letty shows off the look.


This is probably a good sample image from the evening.


Bryan, giving his famous “goodbye hug,” that occasionally brings people back.


Justin, Allison and Chris.


Brian and Justin, talking shop.


Oh to hear the nature of this conversation…


There was a bit of an after-party at Justin’s place, but thankfully no photos were taken to document that part of the evening. I’ll leave it at this: I talked to several folks the next day, and ended up filling in memory gaps for more than one person.

Ah, me. A chapter ends, a chapter begins. Lots of changes are in the air.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Made me happy to see this.

    Alex Reply


  2. Being the one totally sober person at the end of the evening I have many gaps I can help fill. :P

    liz Reply


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