"producing layouts that really hit the mark."

I have been a magazine editor since 1992, and in the nearly two years I knew Randy Levensaler at Climbing Magazine, I found him to be the most positive and productive “team player” I ever worked with. 

Randy’s pure design skills were superb, and the work load he managed would have crushed many art directors, but what really stood out was the synergy we could generate, producing layouts that really hit the mark. 

As Features Editor, I would try to articulate story themes I considered important, or a general feel or style, though I seldom knew exactly what would give me the look I was after. (Typical statement: “Maybe a treatment that’s a little Deep South, but not too over-the-top or hokey, and really show the landscape when you do the imagery.”) Then, in the next design round, Randy would produce a clean new layout that had just the feel I was looking for. He was almost always right on the mark. This happened countless times. 

Randy always had great ideas of his own and new elements to add, but never became stuck on presenting something a certain way, or overly attached to a the look of an early study. It was never a fight to move a design in one direction or another. He seemed to be able to manage this kind of teamwork with every editor in the office.

Many of our production cycles were extremely stressful, and Randy had a great way of working with me where we could blow off steam as needed, and cheerfully get our jobs done. I always felt like he placed great value on the quality of our working relationship. Of the half dozen art directors I have seen come and go with during my years in magazine work, Randy tops them all in being fun to work with, and capable of producing real synergy with a team. If I were starting up my own magazine next week, I’d hire him in a second.


Jeff Achey

Features Editor, Climbing

former Editor in Chief, Climbing