Who's Who in HQ is an ongoing series that serves to highlight familiar faces in Chemistry Headquarters.
As the Department of Chemistry’s Assistant Finanical Administrator, Tyler Brezler assists with proposal preparation – creating budgets, reading solicitations, prepping documents, editing, and organizing. He also oversees a lot of the post-award side of things – monitoring spending, tracking overruns, award closeouts, payroll changes, answering lots of questions about the more complex aspects of the grants. He processes and tracks the billing from the DCIF and X-Ray, as well as some other internal billing processes. Finally, Tyler is becoming more involved in departmental finances and plans to help streamline a lot of the yearly processes involved with the HQ accounts. As the subject of this month’s Who’s Who in HQ, Tyler unveils his secret talent, the very interesting-but-useless bit of trivia he knows best, the (very specific) moment in history he’d choose to spend a month in, and much more!
1. How long have you been at MIT, and what brought you here?
I was fresh out of college in 2002 and a friend of mine had just gotten a job at MIT, and she recommended that I check it out. I started by temping, and temped in Athletics, EECS, Sloan, CopyTech, and Facilities before finally settling into a permanent position in Chemistry in 2003.
2. What was the last television show you binge watched?
The most recent season of House of Cards. It’s gotten totally ridiculous but I’m still hooked. One Nation: Underwood.
3. Who are three of your favorite fictional characters?
John McClane (Die Hard), Charlie Kelley (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Ivan Karamazov (The Brothers Karamazov).
4. What is your go-to karaoke song?
“Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon.
5. What two celebrities would you choose to be your parents?
Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, no question.
6. What is your favorite four legged creature?
Definitely cats, although my favorite two-legged creatures are chimps.
7. If you could spend a month in any time period, which one would it be and why?
May 1966 – Memphis, TN – Stax Studios. Otis Redding recorded the legendary song, “Try a Little Tenderness” with Booker T. and the M.G.’s.
8. What, in your opinion, is the scariest non-horror movie?
“Threads” – a British “made for TV” movie from 1984 about the possible effects of nuclear war on the human race. It’s pretty devastating, and particularly frightening given the recent political climate.
9. If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to see any famous world monument, which monument would you choose?
La Sagrada Familia, so I could hang out in Barcelona for free.
10. What never fails to make you laugh?
My cat, Dizzy, chasing his tail. Sometimes he actually catches it. Most of the time he gets dizzy and falls over. Cracks me up, every time.
11. If you could only eat all three meals at one restaurant for a month, which would it be?
India Quality in Kenmore Square.
12. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Jim Gaffigan, Grant Lee Phillips, Elizabeth Warren, Noah Hawley, Tina Fey, Jon Stewart and Lidia Bastianich.
13. Do you have a secret talent?
It’s not a secret per se, but people are usually surprised to learn that I play guitar and sing in a punk band that performs regularly in most of the smaller clubs around town.
14. What is your favorite place in the world?
I haven’t done as much traveling as I’d like, but Boston is a very special place to me. Unlike a lot of people that I meet that live in Boston, I was neither born near here nor did I “end up” here (because I found work here, etc). I specifically chose Boston, and I fell in love with it. I think it’s the Goldilocks of cities – not too big, not too small.
15. What was your first job, ever?
I started mowing lawns to make money when I was 11, but my first, real, tax-paying job was lifeguarding when I was 15. It’s still one of my favorite jobs, ever. Go to work at 11am and hang out by the pool all day. What’s better than that? If only it paid better…
16. If you could acquire any skill, what would you choose?
Coding. More and more of the world is becoming automated and that automation runs on software. I find coding to be at times fascinating but also mind-numbing. Not sure if I could do it all day, everyday, but it would still be a great skill to have.
17. What bit of trivia do you know that is very interesting but also very useless?
I studied music history in college and my knowledge of music trivia is pretty vast. For example, did you know that Otis Redding’s hit “Try a Little Tenderness”, which I mentioned earlier, was first recorded in 1932, and an instrumental version was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove, almost two years prior to when Otis Redding recorded it? But to this day, people really only remember the Redding version.
18. What brings you the greatest joy?
The smell of bacon wafting into my kitchen from the restaurant next door every morning. Just kidding. Probably just spending time with friends and family.
19. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Picking only one is pretty tough. If I’m allowed to cheat a little, I would say the Coen Brothers filmography. I’d have a nice cross-section of genres there.
20. What is on your bucket list?
Skydive. Be a contestant on The Amazing Race. Go to space. Hug a baby chimp. Tour Europe with my band.
21. If you could have any job in the world, other than working at MIT, what would it be?
Run a successful rock club/record label in Boston. Ideally some kind of non-profit situation that helps smaller bands with recording/touring/having a place to play shows. Most bands are comprised of people in low paying jobs, some of whom are unbelievably talented, trying to find the time and money to get their music out there and pursue their dreams. I wish I had the financial means to help with those first steps.
Thank you so much, Tyler, for all you do for the Department of Chemistry on a daily basis!
Stay tuned for more Who’s Who in HQ in the months to come!