Jeff Kell was selected by The Tennessee Higher Education Information Technology Symposium as the recipient of its 2015 Distinguished Service Award. Kell is the Director of Network Services for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
The Distinguished Service Award was presented at the THEITS 44th meeting in Chattanooga. The annual award is presented to the Information Technology Professional who demonstrates exceptional service and achievement to Higher Education Information Technology to Tennessee students attending a public or private college or university in the state.
Kell began working part time in the UTC computer center while he was still in high school, then as a UTC student employee, and finally as a full time employee for more than 35 years of service.
A key contributor to the development of LISTSERV, Kell was instrumental in UTC’s earning the LISTSERV 25th Anniversary plaque, which lists UTC as the 10th University to deploy LISTSERV. Only 25 Universities in the world were recognized by this award.
Kell was one of the original programmers of the UTC Student System which supported student success at UTC until July of 2013. He was primary programmer of the UTC Report of Academic Progress or RAP system, the first UTC online unofficial degreed audit system that was in service from the late 1970’s until it was replaced by Banner in 2010. Kell provided exceptional support to both UTC Banner projects.
He has been the key player on the engineering and deployment of the UTC network, dating back to before UTC was on the Internet. His work on the serial Gandalf system provided the UTC campus network the capability to provide online campus registration of students in the late 1970s.
Kell’s architectural skills in networking were used to grow UTC Internet access from 768 KB to a 3 MB link, and with multiple upgrades for the last 20 years to build what UTC has today: Two Gbps of commodity Internet service and ten Gbps of Internet 2 access.
In addition to growing internet bandwidth, the UTC physical network has grown considerably.
The importance of network access control technology was recognized by Kell early. Over time, Jeff preserved and provided the campus one of the most secure campus networks in the state. His dedication to network security was validated during a four day, no-notice campus wide test conducted by System Security.
The lead investigator, who has conducted this kind of test for many years at state and federal organizations said it was the first time the investigator had “not been able to identify a single deficiency finding. The network security was stronger than what I experienced working at a national lab.”
Kell engineered the network to provide a dedicated connection to Internet 2 for the UT Chattanooga GENI rack, to support the development of the next generation Internet. UTC is the only non-Research 1 institution in the United States with a connection to the GENI network.
An avid supporter of THEITS, Kell has presented for the last eleven years on multiple networking topics to overflow audiences. He was very active in the REN ISAC community with a national reputation on network operations and security. He has served on various UT System security committees and technical working groups. He has also been extremely active on multiple security and networking discussion lists.