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His fix-it expertise keeps UTSW running smoothly

Smiling man wearing wire-framed glasses and a plaid shirt. On white banner with-Albert Garner, Software System Specialist II, Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, and blue Employee Recognition Program logo.

When what you do for work is not that different from what you do for pleasure, you’ve found joy.

On any given Saturday afternoon, you’ll likely find Albert Garner with a wrench in his hand, working on one of his vehicles. It might be the collector’s item ’67 Chevy he’s had since high school. Or perhaps it’s the 1999 Chevy Corvette. Maybe it’s a truck or an ATV that he’s restoring to working condition.

In his job as a Software System Specialist II embedded in the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology Sciences, the machines he works on are quite different – but it’s still tinkering. Whether figuring out what’s wrong with an iMac, setting up audiovisual equipment for a presentation, or working on a piece of lab equipment as part of a $500,000 microscope, each of these jobs involves solving answers to puzzles with mechanical know-how, which Mr. Garner loves.

He began his career at UT Southwestern in 1988 working as a Mail Clerk and before long, he became Mailroom Supervisor. Mr. Garner moved on to being a Courier, but that was not exciting enough for him.

He thought about what it was that he liked doing. “I decided I was interested in fixing things that were broken. That led to my becoming a Technical Specialist I, then II, then III, and finally to becoming a Software System Specialist,” Mr. Garner says.

It’s not just the machines that Mr. Garner likes about his work – he’s also a people person. “I get to meet and communicate with a lot of great people. I get to work a lot of seminars and meet people from around the country,” he says.

Mr. Garner lives in Grand Prairie with his wife, Sibyl, to whom he has been married for 33 years, and his daughter, Kaliyah, a high school senior.

He was a disc jockey for 15 years and enjoys many kinds of music. Other passions are fishing and car travel, “because I’m an outside person.”

He says, “I always put God first in whatever journey I pursue in life, and that has made me a stronger person in my 35 years at UT Southwestern.”

Was there one moment during his 35 years at UT Southwestern that particularly stands out?

Why, yes, he answers. There was the time his truck was stolen from the employee parking lot. The truck was eventually recovered, but it had been damaged. And, you guessed it, Mr. Garner had fun repairing the truck.

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