After dedicating more than 20 years to the development and construction of Butler University, Vice President for Operations Mike Gardner has accepted a new position with Energy Solutions in Indianapolis and will be leaving at the end of February.
Gardner joined Butler in 1990 as director of facilities management. In 1997, he was promoted to vice president for operations.
During his time at Butler, Gardner has taken on many projects, including the construction of the Fairbanks Center, the construction of the Health and Recreation Complex, the new additions to the Pharmacy and Health Sciences building and developing last year’s master plan, which outlines the future physical changes on campus.
As vice president for operations, Gardner is not only responsible for the planning and design of all aspects of Butler’s campus but also for the upkeep of all campus facilities and public safety.
“I work with architects and engineers for the design and construction of the buildings and grounds on campus. The director of public safety, Ben Hunter, also works to keep me informed of public safety on campus,” Gardner said.
Hunter has been working with Gardner for two years and said that he has been supportive and helpful.
“[Gardner] always stayed on top of public safety trends and focused on moving things forward,” Hunter said.
Hunter also said Gardner played an instrumental role in developing emergency plans for the university.
Gardner’s accomplishments over the past 21 years are tangible all around campus.
When he came to Butler, there were 1.2 million square feet of building space—now there are two million square feet.
“The most transformative project I’ve done at Butler are the malls,” Gardner said.
Students who spend time lounging with friends or playing campus golf on the large areas of manicured grass owe their thanks to Gardner.
When he arrived, there were roads running through campus.
“The construction of the malls was the first step to transforming Butler from a vehicle focused commuting college to a residential pedestrian campus,” Gardner said.
Aside from construction projects, Gardner also worked towards energy conservation at Butler.
In 1996, all light fixtures became florescent and a central chilled water plant was installed to enable centralized air conditioning for all of campus. The heating system was also upgraded. Overall, $16 million to $18 million have been put towards energy conservation.
Gardner has also gained the respect of the people with whom he has worked.
Craig Hardee, general construction and maintenance manager, has worked for Gardner for the last 20 years, managing the day-to-day implementation of their projects around campus.
Gardner will be selling many of the energy conservation ideas that he put into practice at Butler to other colleges and universities in his new position at Energy Solutions.
Hardee said working with Gardner has been rewarding.
“[Gardner is] a great guy to work for. He’s optimistic and intelligent, and he’s also flexible and reassuring,” Hardee said.
“A lot of students and faculty have come through Butler in the last 21 years, but Mike has actually made a physical impact on the campus,” Hunter said. “He challenged all who worked with him, but also provided the necessary tools to drive the outcome.
“He will definitely be missed.”