Fermilab employee Mike Petkus, 50, died on Saturday, Oct. 8, after an illness. He was technical specialist in the Accelerator Division. A service was held on Oct. 11.
Rob Reilly, a mechanical engineer, started at Fermilab on the same day as Petkus, on Dec. 18, 1980. For more than 30 years, the two of them worked on many magnet installation projects, including the APO Target Hall, Switchyard, Main Ring, Main Injector, the NuMI shield door and, most recently, in the NuMI Extraction beam line.
“Mike was particularly skillful at moving large and heavy objects,” said Reilly. “For example, Mike could get delicate 15 ton magnets in or out of cramped places.”
Not only could Petkus navigate the massive magnets in and out of place, he did it safely.
“Mike was very conscientious of safety,” said Christine Ader, a mechanical engineer. “If he had any questions or doubts about a particular project, he’d ask for help to make sure it was done as safely as possible.”
Ader and Petkus worked together for about five years on the Switchyard beamline. During that time, Petkus oversaw the budget of the project and he managed all of the tasks.