Machinist Mark Eriks started work at Fermilab in January 1981. He joined the laboratory’s machine shop and has since contributed to the production of machine components for the laboratory’s Technical Division.
Now Eriks is retiring. His last day at the lab is March 16.
“Mark has always been a pride-oriented machinist, in that everything he machines has to be perfect,” said Gary Markiewicz, who oversees machine shop operations. “His skill level has always been top-notch.”
Eriks became foreman for the main machine shop, in the Village, in 2016. In that position, he often interacted in person with customers.
“Since becoming foreman, he’s taken his pride to another level, providing excellent customer service with a smile,” Markiewicz said.
Eriks is did more than deliver friendly customer service and perfectly machined parts. He also injected fun into the workplace. Once, after decades of sporting a beard, he shaved it. It was right after he turned 40.
“I came to work the next day. Nobody recognized me, not even my friends,” Eriks said. He went to the different shops making up stories about who he was. He even applied for a job.
Once he retires, Eriks plans to continue raising cattle, supplying family and friends with beef. He will also continue to make hot salsa, created from garden vegetables with lots of peppers, which he occasionally brought to work.
“Cucumber is the special ingredient,” Eriks said. “I would also bring in buckets of extra cukes and tomatoes.”
A cookout for Eriks, to be held in the Village machine shop, will be announced after the weather warms.