One minute with John Kent, Wilson Hall building manager

John Kent creates a safe and comfortable environment for Fermilab employees in Wilson Hall. Photo: Rashmi Shivni

John Kent creates a safe and comfortable environment for Fermilab employees in Wilson Hall. Photo: Rashmi Shivni

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I have been here for 25-1/2 years, and I’ve been building manager at Wilson Hall for 11 years.

What brought you to Fermilab?
I previously worked for AT&T. The facility I worked in as assistant manager relocated to another state, but I had just started a family. My wife also worked for AT&T, but her facility was staying here. We had to decide whether to move, so I could chase my job or stay here for her job. We stayed, and I applied to General Mills and Fermilab for different positions. Fermilab answered first. I made a commitment to the lab and have been here ever since.

What do you do at the lab?
The overall thrust of my day is to provide a safe and conducive environment for the occupancy of Wilson Hall. My job includes monitoring the building with the aid of many behind-the-scenes personnel. There are almost 800 occupants in the building, and at any given time, we have 200 to 300 people visiting. We make sure the building is running and safe for everyone using it.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I have six grandchildren, and I’m really enthralled by my newborn granddaughter. I also love watching my kids deal with parenthood. My two daughters have three children each, and my son is training for future parenthood by being an attentive uncle.

We all love the outdoors. My youngest grandson is five and plays soccer, so when the weather permits, we spend a lot of time at the park. His siblings are two years old and a newborn. They live in Woodridge, so I spend a lot of time with them. When my oldest daughter, who lives in Chicago, and her family come out here, we do movie marathons, go to waterparks, go to the Cougars games. The beauty of a grandchild is you can spoil them rotten and give them right back! You can enjoy their childhood.

Is there anything about you that your colleagues and friends don’t know about?
After I retire, I’d like to volunteer to Habitat for Humanity. I’d like to donate my time there and give back to society. The United States is one of the wealthiest nations, but many of its people live in poverty. I want to do what I can while I am able to and serve my community.