The Brad Smith Innovation through Partnerships Award

October 04, 2020

Written by ITS Campus Engagement, Jim Phillips and ITS Communications Coordinator and UCSC Legal Studies Student, Jane Tobias.

ITS continued its tradition of acknowledging exceptional achievements by individual staff and teams at their annual awards ceremony on August 13. The event, which attracted 190 ITS staff members, was held via Zoom at their ITS All Hands meeting.

Brad Smith

Three new awards were introduced, including the Innovation through Partnerships Award. This award honors an ITS staff member who has demonstrated excellence in collaboration with partners resulting in significant positive impact for the campus or the community. The award aligns with one of our division's strategic objectives. Innovating through partnerships, which seeks to leverage the power of our faculty, staff, alumni and corporate partners.

This award is named after the inaugural recipient of 2020: Brad Smith

Facilitating Innovation

In presenting the award, VCIT Van Williams called out Smith's success in working collaboratively across campus. The impact of Smith's efforts to campus inspired Williams to create the award. Williams noted that Smith's work over the years changed peoples lives. He was instrumental in establishing the research DMZ, and has contributed to UC Santa Cruz's presence in the Pacific Research Platform, which greatly reduced bottlenecks for scientists across the UC system who require high-speed data transfer.

Brad Smith analyzing data.

Smith, humbled by the award, stated that this is what UC Santa Cruz is all about:

With the mission to create, disseminate, and apply new knowledge, UC Santa Cruz's goal is to swing for the fences: To develop new expertise and technology, and to share it with our (local, national, and global) communities. Usually this is thought of in the context of faculty; however, as a part of our work in IT, similar opportunities exist for us. I am thrilled that Van and the leadership team created an award to recognize our efforts in these areas, and am honored to have this award be in my name and to be the first recipient! Thank you to all of ITS for the many ways we all deliver on this mission. I look forward to seeing the (long!) list of nominees for this award next year!

Far-reaching Impacts

Smith's work on the COVID testing lab epitomizes the importance of collaboration in that bringing this lab online drew together key constituencies across ITS, campus leadership, the medical community, and UC Santa Cruz researchers. The result of this collaborative effort ultimately benefited the broader public and the central coast region at large.