After more than 40 years at Fermilab, Ernie Villegas retires

Ernie Villegas

Ernie Villegas started at Fermilab as a mechanical designer in 1974. Over the years he has used drafting tables and inking tips, computer-aided design software and 3-D engineering modeling for more than 10 major projects at the laboratory.

Villegas is now retiring. His last day is March 27.

Villegas’ first assignment in 1974 was to design fixtures for large quadrupole magnets. At the time he was unsure of how long he would remain at the lab since he didn’t know much about physics. But he continued, moving on to what was then the Neutrino Department to work on designs for fixed-target experiments. He also served as the project engineer for the New Muon Beamline and worked on the design of the end muon chamber frames for the DZero experiment.

He later designed the beamline targets and absorber for the NuMI beamline. He also recently designed the large table that was part of the giant pivoter used to help assemble the NOvA far detector. He was responsible for all aspects of the mechanical design of the NOvA near detector.

Most recently he served as assembly task supervisor for the Muon g-2 magnet and has worked on conceptual designs for the near liquid-argon detector for the short-baseline neutrino program.

Villegas plans to spend his retirement at his family’s home in Arizona. He’ll spend time outdoors shooting, hunting, fishing and horseback riding.

Say goodbye to Villegas at lunch on Tuesday, March 24, at Pal Joey’s. You can also wish him well at the Users Center on March 26 after 5 p.m.