News from the Chair

Three Long-Time P&A Staff Members Retire

June 2021 -- This year several of our staff took long-deserved retirements. We already miss Sandra Ortiz, Gary Harrison, and Tom Hess very much. They have been fixtures in the department for decades!

Facilities Operations Manager Gary Harrison

Gary Harrison
Gary Harrison

Gary Harrison served as our Facilities Operations Manager. He joined P&A in 2003. Previously he had been a building contractor.

Gary was the go-to person for handling keys and building security, monitoring fire safety, overseeing chemical and radiation safety, and overseeing PAIS construction from start to move-in and beyond.

Gary won the 2020 Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Award.

Now that he's retired, he likes to ski, fly fish, play the guitar, and travel.

Programmer Analyst Tom Hess

Tom Hess
Tom Hess

After earning a BS in Atmospheric Science at Purdue University, Tom Hess joined P&A in 1992. Previously he had worked with John McGraw in Tucson as a System Programmer.

During his time at UNM he ran the intranet/mail/listserv/file server, programmed in Perl and PHP, wrangled the printers, helped with various desktop and programming issues, and was unfailingly kind.

Tom also won the Noteworthy Technical Support Person in 2010 from Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

Now that he's retired he walks his dog Brick, works in his wood shop and teaches Sunday school. He and his wife Jane look forward to taking some train trips once the pandemic has relented.

Administrative Support Supervisor Sandra Ortiz

Sandra Ortiz
Sandra Ortiz

Sandra Ortiz joined the Physics Department in 1986.  Sandra spent much of her time working in the main office of Physics and Astronomy. 

She also worked for Dr. Rob Duncan and his research group (Critical Dynamics and Microgravity) for six years.

During her time at UNM, she received the UNM Chapter of Sigma Xi Award for Noteworthy Technical Support in 2006, the Provost's Outstanding Staff Award in 2007, and the Gerald W. May Staff Award in 2008.  

Now that she is retired, she plans to spend time with family, work on home projects, garden, and travel.

Department of Physics and Astronomy
The University of New Mexico
Physics, Astronomy, and Interdisciplinary Sciences building (PAÍS)
210 Yale NE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-277-1520 fax