University IT's Brian Palermo Receives 2021 Marsh O’Neill Award

Brian Palermo and Michael Fayer
(Image credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Brian Palermo, a computing support analyst with computer resource consulting (CRC), will receive the 2021 Marsh O’Neill Award for Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University's Research Enterprise on Aug. 30 for his outstanding research support. Six faculty members of the Department of Chemistry nominated Palermo for his efforts.

“I thought it was really nice of the professors to nominate me, and I appreciate that,” said Palermo. “But I didn’t expect to actually get it, and so when I did, I was very excited.”

Palermo started working at Stanford 22 years ago and has been a UIT (IT Services) staff member dedicated to the Department of Chemistry for the past 17 years. He manages hundreds of computers in the chemistry department, including specialized system needs for research.

“The chemistry department is a giant computer system with some solvent cabinets, fume hoods, and lasers attached,” said Michael Fayer, the David Mulvane Ehrsam and Edward Curtis Franklin Professor of Chemistry. “Brian keeps that giant computer system functioning and adapting to new tasks. We are extremely fortunate to have Brian dedicated to chemistry.”

In addition to Palermo’s technical expertise, faculty members praised his patience, cheerful demeanor, responsiveness, creativity, and invaluable service, enabling them to focus on research and teaching.

Tom McMurtry, CRC manager in University IT and Brian’s supervisor, echoed Fayer’s sentiment.

“This award confirms the critical role Brian plays in supporting the mission of teaching and research at Stanford, and the chemistry faculty's level of trust in Brian to support the technologies that run their most critical research.”

Palermo enjoys troubleshooting and helping others, but the department's research also adds value to his work.

“The research is interesting,” he said. “One, scientifically, and two, some labs have made possible advancements for curing diseases. I find that being able to support that kind of research is important.”

The acknowledgment of an IT staff member also holds significance when technical work can often go unnoticed.

“This honor illustrates the IT community's value in helping Stanford achieve its mission. The high level of expertise and work it takes to keep technology running seamlessly translates into a frictionless experience for our faculty and researchers,” said Brad Immanuel, executive director for client experience & solutions in University IT. “I am thrilled Brian is receiving this award, which highlights his tremendous work ethic and skills, as well as the importance and impact of our work at Stanford IT.”

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