Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced the selection of Brad Roberts as the 2021 Employee of the Year on Monday, Jan. 24. Roberts has worked at the Smokies for 30 years and currently serves as the maintenance mechanic supervisor. He was nominated for the award by his peers and selected based on his outstanding performance, natural leadership abilities, and inspiring care for people.
“Brad’s love and care for this park were seeded many years ago through the Job Corps program; blooming and growing with time,” said Acting Chief of Facility Management Barbara Hatcher. “Brad is a natural leader and sets the example for others to follow, with an infectious positive attitude and demeanor. He uses his knowledge of facilities, acquired over the years, to help others with detailed troubleshooting, and required repairs; ensuring projects are properly seen to completion. He is a pleasure not only work with, but to be around.”
Roberts oversees preventive maintenance, unplanned maintenance, and project planning for buildings on the Tennessee side of the park. His leadership was instrumental in drafting and implementing a COVID safety plan for the park, which included mitigations to keep staff and visitors safe. He serves as a mentor to all he encounters by sharing his years of institutional knowledge and lending a helping hand to anyone in need. His years of dedication to the Smokies have made him an irreplaceable member of the Smokies family, with leadership that extends beyond his workgroup.
“Brad is hard-working, knowledgeable, and embodies the meaning of service,” said Acting Superintendent Alan Sumeriski. “He is a consummate professional and represents the National Park Service, the Smokies, and the community well”.
Roberts is originally from Winston Salem. He began his service in the Smokies as a young man by voluntarily enrolling in the Job Corps program at the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center at the age of 16. This experience provided an opportunity to work at the park as a ‘student in training’ and then led to a permanent position with the National Park Service in 1992.
He lives in Sevierville, Tenn. with his wife, Karen Roberts. They have four children (Julian, Andrew, Jon and Melanie) and three grandchildren (Lane, Kylo and Sonya). Roberts is an active member of Fellowship Baptist Church and loves to fish, hunt, and take motorcycle rides.
The Employee of the Year recognition will be celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 3, with an open house held at the park. Recognition of the Employee of the Year has been an annual tradition since 1984. Although the celebration format of this recognition has changed over time, the park is pleased to continue to acknowledge and recognize one employee each year whose work goes above and beyond the call of service.
- National Park Service release