Vale Mark Griffin (MCIBSE 1962-2014)
CIBSE mourns the passing of Mark Griffin, a well-respected Building Services Engineer, Past Chairman of CIBSE ANZ Region and a long term Chairman of CIBSE NSW.
Mark was a larger than life character who at just 51 years of age, was taken from us too early. I don't think any of us can make sense of Mark's passing, but for many we can be grateful for having the opportunity to have known him.
Mark hailed from North London and studied Building Services Engineering at what was then the Polytechnic of the South Bank. He worked in the UK, Sweden and South Africa, but made Sydney Australia his home in 1991. Mark picked up a temporary job with a fledgling building services consultancy ' Vos' – and he remained with them for some 18 years, rising through the ranks to eventually become Director of Engineering. He left VOS in 2009, and became a 'Discipline Leader' at AECOM – he used to have great fun with that job title.
Responding to a call for help, Mark transformed CIBSE in NSW. He knew so many in our industry that he was able to pull together a fantastic committee of doers. Attendances at events went up & up. From a base of just 20 to 30, under his leadership it was common to have 120+ attend technical sessions – and on one occasion they had close to 200 people in a room that according to fire regulations should not contain more than 150, whilst 4 speakers waxed eloquently about the importance of fire regulations.
Whilst engineering was an important part of Mark's life, family always came first. He leaves behind his wife Catherine, three boys, Daniel, Matthew & Jamie (all of whom are still at school) his parents Pat and Patrick, and his younger brother Kevin.
He also leaves behind a huge number of friends. Over 200 attended his funeral, including members of Matthews football team (which Mark coached for 11 years) who in full football kit formed a guard of honour as his casket was taken into the chapel.
Mark was an excellent engineer, a big thinker, a doer, a leader. A man that loved his family and friends. A man with a great sense of humour. A man that in so many way was larger than life. A man that will be sorely missed.
A Mark Griffin Moment
Mark & I had been to Melbourne for a meeting and were flying back to Sydney. Sitting around us were about 5 young blokes full of bravado – heading to Sydney for a bucks party. One of them had a girly magazine and he was waving it under the noses of some of his friends. Mark lent forward and said in an authoritative voice 'Excuse me but I think I had better have a look at that' and the lad handed it over without objection. Mark flicked though it, then, taking the sick bag out of his seat pocket, he folded up the magazine, put it in the sick bag and handed it back. Nothing more was said.
A few minutes later the cabin crew somewhat hurriedly readied the plane for landing – in retrospect that was a bit unusual as we had not really started our descent. Two or three minutes later we hit a patch of clear air turbulence. The plane lost buoyancy and went into free fall. One moment we were flying, the next we were weightless. I had a phone in my pocket and it flew up and hit the roof.
Everyone on the plane screamed in fright. And then, just as quickly, it was all over.
I looked around me, everyone was as white as a ghost – suddenly Mark's voice boomed out - "And that's what happens when you read dirty magazines".