One minute with Francisco Rios, senior mechanical technician, AD

Francisco Rios maintains and monitors water cooling systems for machines in the Linac and Booster. Photo: Reidar Hahn

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I’ve been here 22 years.

Describe a typical workday.
My team and I are responsible for maintaining and monitoring water cooling systems for many of the lab’s machines, including the Linac, Main Injector Booster and NML. About 80 percent of our job is ensuring operations for these cooling systems are functioning properly, and we check the monitor systems every hour each day. The other 20 percent of our job is spent building new or additional cooling systems and making sure they operate as efficiently as possible.

We’re kind of like the radiators of your car. If your radiator is not working, then your car will overheat, which isn’t good for the car, and isn’t good for the machines here at Fermilab either.

What’s the best part of your job?
Teamwork. The job can get hard sometimes and one guy can’t do it alone, so it’s always good to work as a team. We have safety meetings to prepare for our job, and we always work in groups of at least two. That way we can watch out for each other when working.

Also, we get to work with some complex, high-tech equipment such as laser alignment tools and ultrasonic flow meters. These sophisticated tools help to make our jobs easier and safer, and so we learn about how this technology works, which is a bonus for me.

How did you become interested in your field of work?
I was mechanically inclined since I was a little kid. I was always tinkering with bicycles, and I had a lot of fun with tools and learning how things worked and how to fix them. I am very happy to have a job where I can use my hands.

I live by this golden rule: When you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.

What’s next for you?
I’m attending Fermilab management classes and am working toward a supervising management position in the near future.

Do you have any hobbies?
I like to play the guitar. I used to be in a band where I drew my inspiration from some of my favorite bands, including Van Halen.

Jessica Orwig

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