How Brian Tierney’s “Aha moment” Turned into a 28-year Career at Berkeley Lab, ESnet


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Brian Tierney

As he prepares to retire this month after more than 28 years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Brian Tierney, head of ESnet’s Advanced Network Technologies Group, still remembers the exact moment when he knew where his career path would lead.

“I met Bill Johnston at San Francisco State and on the very first day of his Computer Graphics class, he told us ‘Anybody who gets and A in my class gets an internship in my group,’” Tierney recalled. “A light bulb went off and I knew I was going to get an A. I literally thought “That’s what I might do for the next 30 years.’”

He started in Johnston’s Graphics Group as a graduate student assistant in 1988 and a year later Tierney had become a career staff member.

Among the key projects Tierney has either contributed to are perfSONAR, the network performance toolkit, and fasterdata.es.net, a collection of tips and tools for, well, faster data transfers.

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An iconic photo of Brian circa 1998

Read more about Brian’s career and retirement plans.