One minute with Jennifer Gondorchin, benefits administration team lead

Jennifer Gondorchin makes sure Fermilab staff understand their employee benefits. Photo: Reidar Hahn

What is your role at the laboratory?
It is my responsibility to oversee the administration of Fermilab’s benefit plans as well as the communication of the plans to our employees.

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I’ve been here two years as of June.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy getting to know the employees. I try to put myself in their circumstances. We’re not paying the employee to understand every nuance about their benefits package. It is my role to help the employee population understand their benefits and ensure we meet federal and state regulations.

What’s one thing people probably don’t know about the benefits office?
Customer service is really important to us. We are a busy group, but we will always make time to meet with an employee that has questions. So I look at the communications materials we distribute from that perspective. I try to make sure the materials, presentations and website are easy to understand, as well as answer potential questions or concerns the employees may encounter.

What is life outside of work like?
I have a husband and two children — two boys, an eight-year-old and a three-year-old. My little one goes to the on-site daycare here at Fermilab. My older son is involved in sports and all kinds of activities, so my life at this point is taking care of kids, supervising homework and spending time with my family.

Do you have any hobbies?
When you have small children, hobbies tend to take a back seat for a while. My boys are my priority. When the weather is good, we enjoy biking the trails along the Fox River and the prairie path.

Do you have a most memorable experience at Fermilab?
My first day here, arriving to new hire orientation, was memorable. I was used to corporate America, and in corporate America there was a certain dress code that was expected. I knew the dress code at Fermilab was casual. There were probably 40 students at orientation, and most were wearing cargo shorts and Birkenstocks. And I was shocked, thinking, “I’m in the wrong meeting. I don’t think this where I’m supposed to be right now.” But I was in the right meeting. The other non-student new hires from that day still laugh about our reaction.

Troy Rummler