Robert J. Hersh Memorial Scholarship
Date: Dec 20, 2022
Author: Kristina White, Marketing Specialist, TSK Henderson
Grief, loss, anguish, sadness. These are not typically feelings we associate with the workplace. But what about when someone who is an integral part of a company and people’s hearts and lives is taken much too soon? In that case, those words are woefully inadequate.
On October 22nd, TSK lost an irreplaceable member of our family. Robert “RJ” Hersh was an incredible colleague, mentor, and friend to many. His loss is immeasurably sad and will be felt for a long time to come.
RJ and his twin sister Felicia (his closest friend and confidant) were born in 1987 in New Jersey and grew up in Queens, NY. He moved to Las Vegas with his family in 2001 where he attended Palo Verde High School. He went on to receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from UNLV and became a licensed architect in 2017.
His passion for the profession of architecture was unmatched. As an Associate Principal at TSK, RJ led the design on many memorable projects including Desert Diamonds Baseball Complex at Mountain’s Edge Regional Park in Clark County; Earl N. Jenkins Elementary School, a prototype re-site for the Clark County School District; and the Clark County Regional Justice Center Complex Litigation Courtroom Conversion in Downtown Las Vegas. But, by far, the project he was most proud of, and put so much of his heart into, was the recently opened Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His legacy will live on in the doctors and other medical professionals who will be trained in that building for many years to come. We at TSK believe this is a lasting testament to the kind of person RJ was.
Having only been at TSK since January of 2022, I was not fortunate enough to know him that well. But I saw what an impact he had on the people around him, and I thought the best way to honor him would be to get their stories. The following are quotes and stories from the people who knew and loved RJ. It is by no means all the stories because there are too many to count. Also, I feel I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that everyone grieves differently, and some were not yet ready to share their precious memories, and we honor and respect that.
“During the pandemic, RJ and I were alone in the office, designing the Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building together. That is when we really got to know each other. We sort of became design brothers. But you can’t work constantly, so we ended up bonding over so many things. From his t-shirts and shoes (he was a very particular guy) to restaurant reviews and car leases. He was passionate about a lot of topics, but nothing more than design and architecture. He was an important member of our TSK family and I miss him every day.”
- Windom Kimsey
“RJ was always there for me… no matter the time, the day or the occasion, he would always be there for me, for the good and for the bad… to eat ice cream, go for a hike, for a concert, a day at the lake, to fix something in my house, or to hear me cry!!! He was always there… and I miss him every day.”
- Juana Delgado
“We both loved Schitt’s Creek and he was great at reenacting our favorite scene when David and Moira are cooking and she tells him to fold in the cheese. He even got me a cheese board that says ‘You just fold it’. I think of him every time I use it.”
- Mili Turnbull
“I still remember you stopping by my desk and promoting BlueBeam as the best tool to use, much better than Adobe. I am used to it now and use BB every day. How can I forget you?
You were involved in RJC (Regional Justice Center) - CLC and 1D and 6B project during the design phase. Mike Purtill considered you a perfect fit for the project, saying RJ! See?! I am working on RJC-Long Range Planning project now and will be working on it in the next 6 years. How can I forget you?
I still remember you always said “work smarter not harder.” But you always worked smarter AND harder.
I still remember you got your license in such a short time, 9 months, without any failures. You gave our coworkers a hard time to encourage them to get their Architectural licenses too. 58% of the architects at the TSK Henderson office (7/12) got your salty encouragement, and they are all successful and playing very important roles at TSK now. You always use your own way to nail people 's uncomfortable zone, helping them to change uncomfortable to comfortable, and pushing them to be a better person.
You are such a smart, interesting, warm- hearted, talented coworker and friend! Sometimes salty, but most of the time sweet! It is RJ’s style! You will be missed!”
- Wendy Sun
“Frequently RJ and I would work late into the evening and be the last people in the office. He never let me stay here alone, and always checked to make sure I was ok. That is just the kind of co-worker and friend that he was. I really miss him.”
- Rosana Martilotti
Thank you to everyone who contributed their memories and thoughts about RJ. And thank you to those of you who chose instead to keep their precious memories close to their hearts. He will live on in all of you.
In partnership with UNLV, TSK has decided the best way to honor RJ’s memory is to provide a scholarship for a student to attend the UNLV School of Medicine and make use of the building that he put so much of his heart into. We are proud and honored to present the Robert J Hersh Memorial Scholarship. The details for those interested in donating to the scholarship fund will be available after the new year. If you are interested in donating, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.