One minute with Brad Tennis, Accelerator Division mechanical technician

Brad Tennis, AD, works on the beamline components in the Main Injector. Photo: Reidar Hahn

This the first in a series of occasional profiles of Fermilab’s employees. If there’s an employee you’d like to see profiled in an upcoming issue of Fermilab Today, please email

How long have you been working at Fermilab?

I’ve been here 10-and-a-half years.

Describe a typical workday.

Right now I’m working on the recycler in the Main Injector and will continue with that until the shutdown is complete next year. Every day I’m in the tunnel baking out the ring, which means heating all of the beamline components to a very high temperature to remove things that hold up the vacuum pressure, such as water. The less water in the system, the better the vacuum.

After the shutdown, I’ll probably go back to my normal job working on ultra-high, particulate-free vacuum systems, which includes superconducting RF cavities. This also includes using and maintaining an ultra-pure water system. When you’re working with ultra-high particulate-free vacuums, clean is kind of a big deal.

What’s the best part of your job?

There is always something new to learn at Fermilab – if not new technology, then a new procedure. If you are open to learning, working here can be a very, very rewarding experience.

How did you become interested in science?

Mr. Wizard on Nickelodeon. Starting in kindergarten, I would wake up at 5 in the morning just to watch him crush paint cans with vacuum. Since then, I have been fascinated with everything related to science.

What’s next for Brad Tennis?

My goal is to become an engineer. I recently earned an associate’s degree in electronics technology at Waubonsee College by taking classes at night. Right now I’m looking for a bachelor’s degree program that will work with my schedule at Fermilab.

Deb Sebastian