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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has named Brian Gard the director of emergency management for the campus.

Brian GardGard began his new position Monday, Aug. 23. Gard was formerly director of special events for the UT system. His appointment follows a nationwide search.

“Protecting the well-being of our students, employees and visitors is a core responsibility for the campus leadership team,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Brian brings a tremendous mix of knowledge, skills and experience in emergency preparedness, and we’re grateful that he’s agreed to lead our efforts in this position.”

Gard will work closely with a variety of people and groups to prepare for man-made or natural disasters and emergencies, including training in emergency procedures. He also will seek additional sources of funds to improve the campus’ emergency preparedness infrastructure.

Gard also will work with the Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate campus preparedness with state and national security efforts. He has been serving as the system-wide Emergency Services Coordinator with TEMA for four years.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to be part of this crucial university program,” Gard said. “It’s a huge challenge due the size and complexity of campus operations, and I look forward to tackling it and raising our emergency preparedness posture to that of a national model for public universities. It will take the leadership, expertise and commitment of many capable people throughout the organization, but we will succeed.”

UT Knoxville has always made safety and emergency preparedness a priority, Gard said, but the requirements of maintaining a comprehensive and effective program have grown exponentially in the wake of natural disasters and emergencies like Hurricane Katrina, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C, and the Virginia Tech tragedies.

“Campus leadership recognized that emergency preparedness responsibilities needed someone focused on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and created this position to meet that need,” Gard said.

Gard is set to complete the UT Professional MBA program in December of this year. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Citadel and has completed training programs with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Tennessee Hazardous Materials Institute.

In his 23-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, Gard rose to leadership positions in combat engineering instruction and logistics, and was selected as section leader of the White House ceremonial security detail, receiving a Presidential Service Badge for his work.