Back in Illinois

Tim Meyer

It’s good to be back — back home in Illinois.

Through the eyes of neighbor, student and experimental particle physicist, I have known Fermilab for many decades. I spent most of my childhood in South Elgin and Aurora, just a few klicks up and down the Fox River. I spent time at Fermilab as an undergraduate summer intern in the early 1990s. Since the first Isaac Asimov books that consumed my youth, to my time in Washington, D.C., to my more recent experience at TRIUMF in Vancouver, I have known Fermilab as a pioneering laboratory with a dedicated and world-leading staff. For me, it is a special privilege and pleasure to have the chance to join your team.

The job of chief operating officer is both straightforward and challenging: know something about everything happening at the laboratory and do whatever is necessary wherever appropriate to move things forward. I look at Vicky White, from whom I will be taking the reins, and she makes the job look effortless. From foreign-travel approvals to teaming with the Fermi Site Office to understanding changes to the prime contract to discussions about building international collaborations for a short-baseline neutrino program, she still found time over the last month to orient me and share how Fermilab works and where it can go. I speak for all of us in appreciating and acknowledging her exemplary service and dedication to the laboratory.

Although I am a true fan of Chicago deep-dish pizza and a hockey team that ends with –awks (or is it –ucks?), I came back to Illinois and Fermilab for a lot more. We are at a pivotal moment in particle physics, and Fermilab has a crucial role to play in fostering the “neutrino revolution.” My challenge for the first 90 days will be to learn where Fermilab is strong — where we are ready to work alongside the best in the world — and where the gaps are that mean we need to adapt and realign.

My brand of leadership and management is based on listening, connecting and insisting on excellence. Although my calendar may appear busy, it is because I am meeting with people like you. Everyone here at the lab — employees, users and subcontractors — has something to share and something to contribute, so my job is to learn from you so that I can put myself at your service.

To ensure we have a chance to talk, please feel free to send me an email or call x8424 to find a time to meet with me. Together we can make Fermilab the world’s best team for particle physics and accelerators.