One minute with Todd Nebel, PPD mechanical operations specialist

Todd Nebel, PPD, is hard at work at the Fermilab Test Beam Facility. Photo: Reidar Hahn

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I’ve been here for 32 years. I started right out of high school.

Describe a typical workday.
I do just about anything from A to Z in a given day. I’ll work on anything from basic mechanics, something like twisting a wrench, to more technical work, like trying to design a new detector for a user.

For over 10 years now, I’ve been working on upgrading the Test Beam Facility. When I was hired for this project, only one user was taking data with beam. Now we have anywhere from four to six groups come in each month and stay for about a week.

I work to make it easier for users to take data. For example, I designed a set of carts with thousands of cables attached so that users can easily bring the cables to where they need them. Before, all the cables were attached to a large wall and it would take hours and a large crane to move the wall and cables, whereas now it takes just a few minutes.

What’s the best part of your job?
Working with all of the physicists.

About every week or so there’s a new group of physicists that comes through the Test Beam Facility, and each one has something different and unique they want to install and set up.

There are so many different types of physicists and so many different projects here at Fermilab, and each one brings new challenges to the lab, which keeps it interesting. Plus it’s like getting a new batch of friends every few weeks.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Playing in my backyard. I have lots of fruit trees and several gardens to tend to, as well as more than a dozen chickens and two dogs, so I end up with lots to do there.

What’s something people may not know about you?
In 1990 I was part of a paintball team that won the World Championships. At the same time, we were awarded "most honorable team" because one of our opponent team’s guns wasn’t working, so we lent them some of ours.

Jessica Orwig

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