Paul Gardner

I started my personal love for astronomy when I was 8-9 years old when I saw Saturn through my neighbors telescope. The idea of taking photos of Saturn intrigued me. In 1997 Comet Hale Bopp came along and I took my first astro photo which solidified my love for the hobby and for astronomy in general. From that point on I was driven to work in the astronomy industry.
I went to college at the University of Central Florida and studied mechanical engineering and at the same time ran the observatory that was located on the campus. Doing both engineering and astronomy opened my eyes up to the fact that I could make a career out of engineering and telescopes.

I started my professional career at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I was an Opto-Mechanical Engineering working on airborne remote sensing instruments. I spent 5 years at JPL before taking a position at Caltech.

At Caltech I was the Chief Engineer for the Palomar Observatory. I spent 5 years there running all the engineering aspects of the observatory.

After Caltech I took an opportunity to work on one of the largest telescope projects in the world, the Giant Magellan Telescope. I am currently on staff at GMT as the Fast-steering Secondary Mirror Lead Engineer. The project is currently in the design phase and is planned to be built in the Atacama Desert of Chile and see first light around 2023.

Through all these jobs I have run my own consulting business, Observatory Systems. We specialize in the design, construction, and management of observatories such as the Great Basin Observatory.