Posted by: nedpelger | August 24, 2009

Bob Gerding Lived with his Brain and his Heart

I rode bicycle yesterday in Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Philadelphia Cancer Ride. As I tortured myself through 70 miles of heat on legs that haven’t ridden much this summer, I talked to several folks who dealt with cancer up close and personal. The resiliency of people encourages me to try a bit harder in my day to day living.

Today I read about Bab Gerding dying at 71 after a long struggle with cancer. You may have heard of Bob, he transformed the Portland OR downtown area with many eco-friendly high rise buildings. His firm worked private-public partnerships for the benefit of many. Since 1994, they designed and built mixed use buildings that conserved energy and water.

Before most folks talked about sustainable or green design, they developed projects that just made sense. In fact his firm, Gerding Edlen Development Co.,  produced more LEED certified buildings than anyone else in the world at one point.

Bob’s Dad was a residential contractor in Oregon, but Bob went to university and studied biochemistry. He eventually got his PhD and held a clinical post at Good Samaritan Hospital, in Portland. He discovered he liked building labs better than running them, though, so started into his new career.

He defied the stereotypes of developers. While making a fair profit, he consistently tried to bring the best for all the stakeholders. He and his wife also loved the arts and supported them with generosity and time.

As I read about the life of Bob Gerding and the lives he touched, I’m challenged to live with conviction and purpose. You only live once, but if you make the right choices, once is enough.


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