After more than four decades of service at Fermilab, Dan Assell will retire on Jan. 14. Now a senior technical specialist in APS-TD’s Magnet System department, Assell was hired in December of 1980 by Gregg Kobliska. He has worked in many areas over his 41 years with Fermilab. Starting in the Material Control department on the inspection of parts for building magnets, to Spool boxes, to SSC, to building tooling for LHC, to the Engineering Lab, to his current position in the Magnet Systems’s tooling group. Assell jokes he was even loaned out to work on SRF facilities for what was initially supposed to be 6 weeks but turned into 9-10 years of projects. Eventually, he made his way back to tooling, where he’s been for the last 8 years.
In tooling, Assell reminisces working closely with Joe DiMarco, whom he speaks very highly of, on special magnets and probes. Though he always had a knack for building, he gives credit to Bill Robatzek and Larry Chiplis for teaching him the art of machining here at Fermilab.
Assell recalls many challenging projects he had worked on over the years, but the one that sticks out the most was setting up the Electropolishing Lab. He and Todd Thode were the go-to points-of-contact for getting this lab established here at Fermilab. This was the first onsite electropolishing facility. Previously, they had worked on a facility at Argonne. They never thought it would be approved for Fermilab, but it was. And they built it.
Assell has enjoyed his time with Fermilab, but what he has enjoyed the most are the people and the diversity. He stresses that, in his field, “You don’t always have the opportunity to move around,” but here, he was given the opportunity to explore many different areas. He loves the diversity of having been able to work on a wide variety of projects with many different physicists, scientists, engineers, and technicians from many different backgrounds. “In over 41 years, I’ve met a lot of good people I’ve enjoyed working with and for.”
In retirement, Assell is looking forward to spending more time with his four grandchildren, and he has a fifth on the way He also has plans for traveling and fishing. “Just bought a new boat and truck. Got to put them to use.”
Congratulations Dan! You’ve had a long and successful career with Fermi. Now we wish you a long and happy retirement with your family.