Jim Ranson retiring March 25 after 45 years

“Hey Jim, got a minute?” “Hey Jimmy, I was wondering …” “Jim, I could use some help!”

Jim, flashing his huge, characteristic smile, is shown with Roy Mraz, Carlos Gonzales and Jim Biggs.

All of these were heard daily and sometimes by the minute by Jim Ranson. Jim is the group leader and electrical construction coordinator for the Accelerator Division. He began his career at the lab on Jan. 10, 1977. In the early days, Jim worked in the Booster Department and supported the machine operations.

While in Booster, he worked on the vacuum leak detectors for the Mechanical Group and helped Harland Gerzevske upgrade all the gradient magnet power supply capacitors in the tunnel. He also helped with the gradient magnet power supply.

When the division needed help managing electrical tasks, Jim came into the Facilities/Construction Group, now called the Engineering Support Department, and hit the ground running. He became the task manager/construction coordinator and electrical coordinator. During his tenure, he has overseen hundreds of new installations and modifications to older equipment.

In past accelerator shutdowns, he oversaw the work of several electrician teams who had to complete tasks so the beam could be started back up on time. Over the years, Jim has been instrumental in adapting new safety devices to electrical equipment throughout the Accelerator Division. Even with all his responsibilities, Jim always did things with a smile on his face and a great attitude; he was a natural for the job. It was his work leading the ESD that soon led to the incessant “Hey Jim” questions.

Jim working on electrical wiring safety upgrades. Credit: Reidar Hahn.

One of the stories I have heard about Jim involves verifying the power was off prior to working in a power panel. As the story goes, Jim was working with Larry Allen, and as Larry started to reach into the panel with a meter for the voltage check, the entire site lost power. I’ve heard that the power outage was just Jim making sure Larry was safe!

Jim and I have worked closely over nearly the last decade. There are two things that I could always count on Jim to say:

  • “No problem, I’ll take care of that.”
  • “Did you bring doughnuts?”

It seems that doughnuts would make a lot of things happen quickly. The lab, the division, his friends and his colleagues will miss him and his smile.

Hey Jim, good luck in your retirement! Now you need to buy your own doughnuts!


Article compiled by Paul Czarapata of the Accelerator Division.

Jim Ranson. Credit: Reidar Hahn