Wayne A. Johnson retires after 34 years at Fermilab

Wayne A. Johnson

Fermilab employee Wayne A. Johnson, badge number 6909, will retire on Friday, May 24, after 34 years of excellent service to the lab.

As an electronics technician, Johnson worked on cabling and beamlines for many of the the lab’s experiments and projects, including installing instrumentation for the fixed-target experiment beamlines. He would ask physicists what they were working to accomplish with the beamlines, and he’d get “a one-hour explanation of the system and then find out that the physicist is 45 minutes late for a meeting.”

Johnson also helped bring life to the NML and Cryomodule Test Facility complex in the north part of the laboratory site. He installed the FAST and IOTA beamlines and infrastructure at NML, worked on electronics installation and cabling for PIP2IT and the LCLS-II test stand, and helped construct the caves at the Cryomodule Test Facility. When he first walked into NML and CMTF, they were empty buildings. But he’d eventually leave with “working beamlines and test stands,” and he can now “point at almost any part of the installation and see my involvement in their development.”

For those who know him, Johnson is a laboratory fixture.

“Wayne comes with the building, which was true with regard to the time when the Accelerator Division took possession of NML for the purpose of building what is now the FAST facility,” said Fermilab scientist Dan Broemmelsiek. “When Wayne first began discussing retirement, one of his stated concerns was that he see the IOTA ring finished and commissioned with beam. Wayne never, and I mean never, leaves a job before it is finished.”

It comes true this week: This picture of Wayne Johnson is posted on a bulletin board at CMTF with the caption, “Wayne riding off into retirement.”

Johnson also worked on the design and installation for the CDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) detector in Soudan, Minnesota, a project that was dark in more ways than one. There he recalls riding the “lightless 15-minute Soudan lift down to the experiment level with stacks of equipment.”

He will be missed.

“Work will continue at IOTA/FAST, except now, jobs won’t start with ‘Hey Wayne!’,” Broemmelsiek said.

Johnson and his wife Carol plan to purchase a travel trailer and RV full-time around North America, with a summer-long stop in Alaska.

Say good-bye to Johnson at a picnic lunch on Friday, May 17, at 11:30 a.m. in NML, north end. All are invited.