David Albert Giesselman (1957 - 2020)
With a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that I've lost a long-time friend and business partner, and DataCAD has lost its most-senior author.
On February 29, 2020, David Albert Giesselman, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at DATACAD LLC, passed away surrounded by his family at his bedside. David has gone on to meet his daughter Azlee Keller, who went on before him. He is with his parents, Jacqueline Joan and Albert Carl Giesselman. He leaves behind his wife Rená Marcelle Petty-Hickman and children Jack Brooks and Christopher Michael.
I first met Dave when I joined Cadkey in 1995 as his boss in charge of the AEC Product Group. It was hardly love at first sight, as I was an outsider brought in by the CEO at the time, Livingston Davies. It would take time for me to earn his respect by demonstrating my own passion for DataCAD and proving my ability to manage the team and advance the product. Fifteen months later, we performed a management buyout and co-founded DATACAD LLC.
Dave has been with DataCAD from the beginning and was one of the founding members of Microtecture in Charlottesville, Virginia thirty-six years ago. I was first introduced to DataCAD thirty-two years ago at a design-build firm and became a dealer in 1990. My background in architecture combined with Dave's expertise in coding, is one of the main reasons DataCAD has survived the coalescing of architecture specific CADD software to just a handful of companies. Even though we've always had a relatively small crew, we've managed to hold our own against multi-million and billion-dollar behemoths. Of that, we have always been quite proud.
Our greatest satisfaction, however, has always come from continually improving DataCAD and considering the thousands of professionals worldwide who rely on it. In recent years, I've become a student under Dave's tutelage. With his guidance, I've been able to bring the right and left sides of my brain together and understand the code that makes DataCAD come to life. I consider this to be a gift from him and will be forever grateful for it. Going forward, I will continue to uphold Dave's high expectations and will maintain and enhance DataCAD accordingly.
Looking back at the past twenty-five years working with Dave, there's many stories to tell. One that stands out is a trip we took to Belgium. On the flights there and back, I proposed some DataCAD enhancements which he coded on his laptop. This was our first 'real-time' collaboration and he's often referred to how much he enjoyed that synergy. There were several funny and awkward moments. The March jet stream got us there an hour and a half early around 6 a.m. local time. Our driver missed us, and with no cell phones, we were stuck at the airport for quite a while.
Once we got to the hotel, we made the mistake of napping rather than waiting until local bedtime. Unbeknownst to me, Dave had decided to open one of the 'funny' European-style windows to get some fresh air in his room. Apparently, it came off the hinge and was quite heavy. He nearly dropped it to the street below before getting it re-connected. We shared a good laugh over it the next morning.
Our next faux pas occurred while looking for breakfast at the hotel. We stumbled across a buffet table with chocolate eclairs and, assuming they were complimentary, began stuffing our faces. Just then, a horrified employee from the hotel began yelling at us in Dutch or French, I'm not sure which, and shooed us away. Later that night we found a local restaurant and enjoyed a few Hoegaardens and a fantastic dessert known as mousse aux trois chocolates. A few years later, I had a local chef make this dessert for Dave's twentieth anniversary with DataCAD.
I will surely miss collaborating with Dave on our beloved software, and hope there's plenty of Hoegaarden and mousse, and places for him to continue coding in the sky.
A Memorial Service and interment for David will be held in Lynchburg, Virginia at a later date to be announced.
Support for the Giesselman Family As a last gift, and to support the family of the man who dedicated his career to DataCAD, we have created a CaringBridge page to help over the coming months.
In lieu of sending flowers or making donations to CaringBridge (which has been a wonderful resource for us), please consider donating to one of the following organizations.
South Park Inn
St. Elizabeth House
Mark F. Madura