Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remembering Brad

This Memorial Day weekend I'd like to remember one of my star students, Sargent First Class Bradley B. Lahti who died December 11, 2012 at the age of 33.  I met Brad in the fall of 2010. From the first night of class it was clear Brad was a quiet leader in this cohort.  Mentally sharp, always prepared, and willing to be the first to answer or ask a class question, Brad demonstrated respect for - and was respected by - his colleagues.

Brad was also an excellent writer.  As adult learners, students wrote about organizational theories in light of current work environments. Many students get trapped writing about what should be; Brad focused on what was and what could be, both at his civilian job and for his upcoming military redeployment to Kuwait.  Brad's keen perspective, maturity, and calm strength were palpable in his written word. With his permission I kept several of Brad's papers as models of insightful, substantive work. 

 A particular gift Brad left with me was a new understanding of the military in light of traditional business theory.  Throughout the course Brad and I had several brief one-off discussion about military leadership, his graduate school goals, his new baby and wife, and how he could be the best leader possible with his new platoon.  By the end of the course I'm not sure who learned more from whom.

Rest in peace Sargent Lahti.  "Thank you for your service" does not begin to describe your contribution and legacy. You are missed.

Your grateful professor, Dr. Laura