Bob Willford retires today
For Bob Willford, success has always meant the aha! moment.
"I love to see the light bulbs go on," Willford said. "When people are confused and you help them understand something, you can almost see light bulbs turn on over their heads."
Willford, the training manager for Management Information Systems and the manager for the former MIS Help Desk, which recently merged with the Fermilab Service Desk, has helped people achieve those aha! moments for more than a decade. Willford will officially retire from Fermilab in the third week of February. Today is his last day.
Willford began working as an assistant budget officer in the Research Division, now PPD, in 1992. Although he had a penchant for science and math and enjoyed crunching numbers, Willford jumped at the training manager opportunity when it arose.
"I had taught science and math for 15 years," Willford said. "This was an opportunity to return to my first love: teaching."
During the past 10 years, Willford has helped employees learn and troubleshoot the complex business applications needed to do their jobs.Each time there was a new application or an update, Willford almost single-handedly trained employees how to use it, wrote documentation for that application and reviewed the implementation process.
Prior to the recent MIS Help Desk - FNAL Service Desk merger, Willford oversaw the training portion of the rollout of the Fermi Time and Labor electronic time card reporting system to half of the laboratory.
Willford is proud of that and other efforts. But the memories he will recall the most are of his coworkers: their pleasantness and their senses of humor.
"Every time I left my office, a coworker would set my clock back an hour, so I retaliated by locking him out of his office," Willford said. No one ever got hurt during these pranks, but they did keep the atmosphere light.
"Bob brings a lot of fun to the job," said CD's Richard Karuhn, who was Willford's supervisor from 1999 to 2009. "He is someone that people genuinely enjoy being around. His laughter and friendship will certainly be missed."
-- Rhianna Wisniewski with additional reporting by Tonisha Taylor