Written by Amanda Scotland.
This article originally appeared in the December 2015 edition of the AITD’s Training and Development magazine.
If you are flicking through the pages of this magazine to find Kevin Lohan’s latest witty and insightful ‘Outside the Box’ column, you will not find it.
Kevin Lohan joined the AITD almost 30 years ago, on 5 May 1987. In those days the fledgling training and development industry (as it was then known) was still finding its feet in corporate Australia. Kevin was one of the many volunteers giving up their time to create a space for trainers to share their knowledge and ideas.
Kevin began sharing his knowledge about training and development almost the moment he started acquiringit. He spoke at an AITD conference in Adelaide in the mid-1980s and at many more national and international conferences since. He arranged and hosted professional development weekend retreats at Wiseman’s Ferry in the mid-1990s, and from 2009 to 2011 facilitated AITD’s ‘Advanced Facilitation Skills’ workshop.
Kevin never missed an opportunity to inject some enthusiasm into the AITD community, encouraging those around him to do the same. At the 2013 AITD Conference in Melbourne, Kevin was so moved by the traditional dance performed by our Indonesian guests that he jumped up onto the stage to lead his Aussie colleagues, myself included, in a rousing rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ which was met by similarly enthusiastic applause from the international contingent.
Later in 2013, Kevin was honoured with the title of the inaugural ‘AITD NSW Learning and Development Professional of the Year’. The award meant a lot to him as it acknowledged not just one, but almost 30 tireless years of dedication to sharing his knowledge with the AITD and broader Learning and Development community. His acceptance speech lingers in my mind to this day. He spoke sincerely of his belief that, to be a true member of the AITD community, one needs to give more than they take.
Kevin did just that.
Kevin was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 18 February 2011, but the urge to teach and share was so deeply ingrained in him that the thought of retirement was something he never wished to consider. Despite his illness, he continued to contribute to the AITD community through his regular columns. Indeed, even when Kevin took time out for some hard-earned rest and relaxation with his wife, he continued to contribute to the magazine from Perpignan, France, his mind ticking away with each daily travel experience as to its relevance to adult education.
In the October issue of this magazine, you will find Kevin’s heartfelt tribute to his colleague and dear friend Dr Alastair Rylatt. It briefly mentions one of Kevin’s proudest achievements: working with Alastair to co-author the internationally award-winning, ‘Creating Training Miracles’. He wrote from experience. No doubt many of Kevin’s clients will attest that he created training miracles on a regular basis.
In the almost five years since Kevin was diagnosed, he lived to see three of his four children marry and three grandchildren come into the world. He travelled extensively with his wife, and generally sucked the marrow out of life. He did all of this while continuing to share his wisdom until the illness finally defeated him on 15 November 2015.
As an adult educator, Kevin literally spent his entire career finding ways to help people better themselves and advance their own careers. When he educated and mentored he did it with the care of someone who held a real stake in your personal success. His loss will be felt deeply by many in the AITD community, not least by me.
I know all this about him because Kevin was not only the best boss you could ask for, he was also my dad.
I take solace in the knowledge that Dad lives on in the wisdom that he shared with us and in his contagious enthusiasm to share that wisdom with others.