Updated: Jan 29
As NDC celebrates 38 years of service, we would also like to take a moment to celebrate 2020 Busser Award recipient, Jack Decker. The Busser Award recognizes the contributions to the evolution and advancement of the mission, role and sustainability of the Neighborhood Design Center.
After a decade of service to the Neighborhood Design Center, Columbus attorney Jack is stepping back. His expertise has been incredibly valuable to the continual growth and success of NDC, and many others agree that his energy and determination have been integral to ensuring design as a right, not a privilege in communities around Central Ohio.
We asked people familiar with Jack’s commitment to share their thoughts about him in honor of his retirement from the NDC Board of Directors.
Three words I would use to describe Jack are dedicated, thoughtful, and determined. His service is very much appreciated!
Shawn Conyers, Former NDC Board Member
David Brehm Current NDC Board President Over the past 10 years, Jack Decker has demonstrated his commitment to NDC in many invaluable ways: as Board President, legal advisor, real estate consultant, author of our Bylaws, Employee Manual, and our Fiscal Policies and Procedures. When he retires, he will leave this organization in a far stronger position than when he joined. Then there are his style points. Jack is direct and clear. He is funny, witty, and humble to a fault. He brings a big presence but has welcomed so many other Board members into the NDC world openly. I have learned a great deal from Jack — his opinions and banter in our meetings are so memorable. After being a champion of the NDC mission for so long, he deserves a break!
Current NDC Board Vice President It’s been a pleasure to get to know Jack. He is such an honest soul with a deep passion for making the world a better place. He’s been a long-time board member, yet he always kept an open mind and wasn’t stuck in the “but we’ve always done it this way” mindset. Instead, he kept looking forward, enjoyed innovation, and invited new voices to the table—all while being a wonderful resource about the history of the NDC.
Lisa Conomy Current NDC Board Member Anyone who has the opportunity to know Jack will recognize that he is kind, hardworking, and emotionally invested in any challenge that comes his way, whether it involves professional achievement or a personal goal, such as pedaling countless miles on his bike. Whatever the question, Jack does not hesitate to care personally and commit himself to success. Perhaps without realizing it, Jack seems to define victory as providing support, expertise, and old-fashioned hard work to achieve the goals of those around him—balanced with his unique blend of wit and comradery. I’ve witnessed Jack’s passion for the people connected to him through his enthusiasm and focus on development of Victorian Village and the Short North, as well as his devotion to the mission of NDC. Jack’s intelligence and persistence are matched by his ability to find humor in all things, including difficult situations. Add to all of this Jack’s fierce protective nature, and it is easy to understand that people are drawn to him and rely on him without fail. I am lucky to count myself among those people.
Lisa Minklei Former NDC Board President Jack has cheerfully brought years of legal expertise to the board. I’ve been on a number of boards, and usually someone is ‘volunteered’ to redo the bylaws when they’re not present to defend themselves, but Jack happily took on the task. He’s also created and revised numerous policies and manuals, and reviewed countless contracts and real estate documents. Jack joined the board when the organization was fiscally challenged.
He played the role of budget watchdog with all the fierceness of a pit bull (no offense to his beloved Samantha). His fiscal conservatism could be unpopular, and he has impressed me with his willingness to stand firm when he believes something he cares for is at risk. He generously took on many years of Executive Committee service, including two as president, to make the transitions between Executive Directors and various board retirements go smoothly.
Lisa Snyder NDC Staff I have had the true pleasure of getting to know Jack over my past six years with the NDC. A bit of a dynamo, Jack is resolute yet nimble in balancing pragmatism, with a congeniality that allows him to slip into any situation. Despite being a well-known figure around town, he is humble when undertaking whatever task is set in front of him—and fiercely passionate about the NDC. He’s served as the de facto custodian of the board’s history and the only person who can fashionably pull off paisley with a purple blazer. He is always willing to engage with NDC staff and has become somewhat of a fixture at NDC holiday parties, participating in white elephant gift exchanges and proudly showcasing his wares, both practical and hilarious. It’s been an honor to know Jack and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
Isabela Gould NDC Executive Director “This is and has been a labor of love,” says Jack Decker about his decade-long involvement with the Neighborhood Design Center board of directors. I only got to witness half of it, but what a labor of love it has been. Jack has always been there. You can count on him answering, so you better be ready, because he always picks up and he always writes back—yes, with big, bold letters, filled with incredible wit and humor.
His experience and expertise have been invaluable, from combing through contracts, to deep dives into key documents (bylaws, employee manual, policies and procedures), to perhaps most importantly, helping navigate some of NDC’s recent years of transition and growth. Jack was Board President for two years beginning in 2016, when the NDC moved from the small retail storefront on High Street, to its current “headquarters” on Summit Street. After all the dust settled, he kindly pointed out to us that “we just had four addresses in one year.”
He had the utmost trust in the team and never wavered in his support of the organization or the mission. In 2018, after being recognized by the Short North Alliance with the Unsung Hero Award for his contribution to the neighborhood, Jack chose the NDC to receive the proceeds. He truly is one of our champions and has been integral to the success of the NDC over the years.