It is a joyful event when NPR Illinois is able to hire new staff.
We've recently added Audrey Bellot, Beatrice Bonner, Sam Dunklau, and Lizzie Roehrs to the team. One of my favorite parts of the onboarding process is posting staff pages on nprillinois.org to introduce the people who work diligently to make public radio happen. When I went to call our go-to photographer for head shots, I was once again reminded of a loss to our public radio family in the past year -- Matt Penning died unexpectedly on January 10, 2018.
In 2009, my first year here in the role of development director, I met Karen Penning when she attended a Local Flavors Cornerstone Society event at Catie Girls. Matt missed the event as he wasn't feeling well. Karen sat at a table with Rich Bradley and Jenna Dooley and mentioned Matt had a blog entry titled, "Driveway-Radio."
I later went to mattpenning.com to read the post and saw Matt's photography. The development director's role is to to find resources to carry-on the NPR Illinois mission. I realized our website could use better headshots and asked Matt and Karen to lunch. They were already generous financial supporters, but I asked if Matt would consider providing his photographic skills as an in-kind donation. He was so happy to do it and everytime we added new staff, the call was made, and Matt promptly setup a shoot at the studios.
Today is Matt's birthday. The world through his lens seems a fitting memorial. Click the slide show above to see some of the shots he took for NPR Illinois. In addition, when I contacted Karen to discuss this blog post, she and their son Chris selected several of their favorite photographs Matt created.
Thank you Matt. We miss you.