In Memory of Max Geyer
I first met Max four years ago when he decided to do studies in the Social Psychology of Risk. Max and I are the same age, with birthdays only weeks apart. The first thing you learned about Max through his scallywag smile was his insatiable thirst for learning and sharp mind in critical thinking. Max was worried (like some others) how we would cope with his first foray into post graduate studies and once he got into the swing of things wrote and presented some great work.
Max came to studies with a wealth of hands-on experience in mining, manufacturing, farming, heavy industrial, civil construction and logistics. There wasn’t many tough jobs Max hadn’t turned his hand to. He had worked across all states across Australia and I remember long conversations about his time at Rosebery in Tassie and all he had learned in underground gold mining. We shared stories about Beaconsfield and our mutual friend Matt Gill (ex GM Beaconsfield). Max worked for some familiar names: ETSA Leigh Creek Mine, Pasminco (Rosebery, Broken Hill, Elura, Century), Renison Ltd, Wambo Mining, Bulga Coal, The Bloomfield Group, Goldsprings Earthmoving & Heavy Haulage, Hills Tankers, DGI Trading, and MMD (Aus) Pty Ltd.
After some time in moving about Max started his own successful business in business consulting and later in risk and safety. After completing his Grad Diploma on SPoR Max changed his business name to ‘Risk Savvy’ following on from the work of Gigerenzer’s book of the same name and work by Dylan Evans in Risk Intelligence. Pretty soon Max developed a passion for reading and started building a library of books to complement his fine library of red wine. One thing Maxed loved was coming to my study (he called it the cavern) for some coaching, and I was delighted to receive the odd drop with a 2005 vintage or better. When Max came to some of those cold winter workshops in Canberra there was always Max with his positivity to have a laugh and some fun in the learning journey.
The following story tells you as much about Max and it does about his selfless focus and support of others. During our studies Max learned of my work and relationship with Pro. Karl. E. Weick after doing a complete unit on Weick’s work. Max had read all of Karl’s works and when it came to our first conference on the Social Psychology of Risk in 2015 (at which Max was a presenter) Max did something very special. Max purchased a first edition of Karl’s first book The Social Psychology of Organising posted it over to Karl for him to sign and insert a greeting (attached to this blog) and then presented it to me at the conference dinner as a surprise. Well, what I could I say, I was so thrilled by such effort and gratitude, if Karl has a bigger fan I don’t know who it is. This is who Max was and what Max did, he was so delighted to see my face beaming and appreciative, this is what gave Max joy, bringing happiness and delight to others.
Earlier this year we all learned that Max was not well and were informed he didn’t have long to live. Gab and I drove to see Max a few weeks ago and despite restrictions on body movement and a host of limitations on heavy medication he joked and smiled with us as if we were about to set off on a school camp together. Max was a person of love, it never took long in conversation that if you got to talk about his wife, children, grandchildren, family or friends, Max would well up with tears talking about who mattered most in life.
I have just published my sixth book in the series on risk entitled Tackling Risk, A Field Guide on Learning and Risk. The book will be online for sale in a few days with a book launch scheduled for 5 September in Fremantle. Details of that event will be published shortly and will include a free 3 hour workshop as part of the launch event.
To end this blog I’d like to publish the Dedication from the front of the book to Max.
This book is especially dedicated to our dear friend and fellow traveller in life-long learning and risk – Max Geyer. Max joined the journey in the Social Psychology of Risk with two-dozen others in 2014 when the Programme was first conducted at the Australian Catholic University, in Canberra.
Those who meet Max are instantly infected by his positivity, happiness and love for others. It is nothing to be with Max and watch him break into tears as he talks about the people who are dear to him. He understands what matters and has little time for the love of objects over subjects. Max hasn’t done an education degree but he is a teacher, he has no Community Services degree but knows all about caring and helping. His passion for learning through relationships, love and community is infectious.
At the time of writing this book Max took ill, spent some time in hospital and is currently convalescing at home; and so this dedication is to Max. Many a time has been spent in Rob’s study with Max who always shows up for coaching and learning with gifts of rare wine to enjoy and savour after a day of discussion, questions and laughter. This book is a prayer for Max, Sylvia and family.
Some Articles Published by Max on SafetyRisk
Legislation and Culture
A Crazy Symbol about Risk
Sensemaking and Symbols