One minute with Michael Pfaff, lead groundskeeper

Michael Pfaff helps maintain Fermilab’s beautiful grounds. Photo: Cindy Arnold

How did you find yourself at Fermilab?
When I graduated from college I worked for The Care of Trees for a while. But my job was about an hour-and-15-minute drive each way, so I started looking for jobs that were closer to home. My brother told me about an opening at Fermilab so I applied and got the job. I’ve been here almost seven years now.

What does a typical workday look like for you?
There isn’t really a typical work day. In the winter I’m most likely removing snow or trees, but in the summer it could be mowing, spraying, tree removal, even catching an animal that accidentally got into a building. There are a million different things you can do in our department, Roads and Grounds, and on any given day you can do just about any of them.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Fermilab?
I really like that every day is not the same. It’s really nice that I get to work outside all the time. Even in the winter time, it’s great to get fresh air. I really like that I get an opportunity to interact with so many different people from all different parts of the lab. We’re always doing a service for someone, so I could be talking with a physicist one day and an electrician the next day or both in the same day. I also just really like the Roads and Grounds group. We’ll razz each other and joke around but we all get along pretty well.

How else are you involved in laboratory life?
I’ve been a member of the Employee Advisory Group for two and a half years and joined the EAG’s steering committee six months ago. The EAG advises the directorate on all sorts of lab-related issues, and the steering committee is a smaller group that gets together to decide what the EAG should focus on.

My wife and I are members of Fermilab Natural Areas, which is a not-for-profit volunteer group that helps restore, manage and conserve the natural areas of the lab. I’m also on the Prairie Fire softball team in the lab’s co-ed league.

What do you like to do outside of work?
My wife and I really enjoy being outside. We like to hike and camp a lot, and we have a big garden with goats and chickens at home.

What’s something that people may not know about you?
My wife and I had an atypical honeymoon. We went to Glacier National Park and camped in the backcountry for eight days. We’re also expecting our second child in a month. Another thing: We’re going on three years without owning a television set.

Hanae Armitage