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Roach, Gardner Receive Awards for Financial, Technical Support

Staff in the College of Arts and Sciences are critical to our ability to achieve success in our departments and across the college. On behalf of the college, Dean Theresa Lee is pleased to honor staff with awards for academic, financial, and technical support, as well as for teamwork.

Mike Roach, business manager in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received one of the two financial support awards.

Roach joined UT 15 years ago as the business manager for the Department of Physics and Astronomy where he is responsible for not only the department’s finances, but a diverse portfolio of research grants from multiple sources.  He enjoys both the people and the culture of UT and the department.

“Everyone in physics is valued,” Roach said. “There is a mutual respect regardless of position and we have a good time at work.”

The physics and astronomy department has a very high volume of annual research expenditures, which Roach manages with skill and experience, as noted by his nominator. “Mike is an invaluable partner in designing and executing finance plans for personnel support and hardware acquisitions.”

According to Roach, quality financial support of faculty and department leadership is his main goal.

“It is really nice that the faculty took the time to let me know my efforts are appreciated.”

Brad Gardner, senior IT technologist II in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received the technical support award.

Like his colleague Mike Roach, Gardner has worked in the physics and astronomy department his entire UT career, but for twice as long.

“I felt like I was just a kid when I started,” jokes Gardner, who began his career at UT 32 years ago.

He appreciates the diverse group of people he has the opportunity to work with – from faculty to students – and finds that the history and culture of the different nationalities and US regions make the department an interesting place to work.

“Interactions between the faculty, staff, and students here is second to none,” Gardner said. “However, along with this diverse group of people come some very unique technical problems, which keep me on my toes. Every day is different here and I do love a challenge.”

As noted by his nominator: “Reliable IT is essential to the function of any department, but it is especially important for physics. Everything revolves around efficient number-crunching, from small-scale student labs to large supercomputer projects. Brad goes above and beyond and is essential to the smooth running of all aspects of the department.”

Knowing he made enough of an impact on members of the department to even be nominated is an honor for Gardner.

“It gives me a great sense of appreciation,” he said. “Being the actual recipient is just the icing on the cake.”

Dean Lee will honor the recipients of the 2022 College of Arts and Sciences staff awards during the Spring Fling event Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m.