Summer 2010
New Project for Bill Cotter, Retirement

Picture of Bill CotterAfter 27 years, Instrument Shop Supervisor Bill Cotter reported for his last day of work on June 25, 2010.  Leading into Bill’s retirement, PSL hired Rory Holland as his replacement.  Rory was able to work alongside Bill for six weeks with the intent to transfer as much knowledge as possible.

This knowledge spans back to Bill’s first day at PSL on April 7, 1983 after he left Mayville Metal as a cost estimator.  When Bill started at PSL, an X-ray Microbeam project was under construction for the UW Waisman Center.  He never thought that he would be retiring only one year after that same X-ray Microbeam had been decommissioned. 

The first project under Bill’s supervision was to build a telescope (Equatorial Mount) to detect gamma rays for the Haleakala Observatory on Maui.  Since then there have been more than 4,050 projects that have passed through his hands; projects that have spanned from the very small to extremely large.  A favorite of his was DESY that required spending five weeks in Hamburg, Germany.  The largest was the IceCube project, which in its first year required 24 semi trailer loads of PSL designed and fabricated items to be sent from Stoughton, WI to the South Pole.

From the list of 4,000 plus projects, a considerable amount of them can be considered extremely unique to the near impossible. But for the PSL Shop Supervisor surrounded with a team of engineers, drafters, technicians and other highly skilled staff, impossible is not a word that is used. 

Impossible is not used either when it comes to excuses of why someone cannot come to work.  Through his 27 years, Bill estimated that he heard them all and had one for each day of the year, up until just recently when he was called and told, “I can’t come in to work today, I have been hit by a neutrino.”  However odd that sounds to others, for Bill working in an environment that is highly influenced by engineering for high energy physic experiments, it could be considered a possibility.

For many PSL customers, Bill Cotter has been the first voice or face that they met from PSL.  He quite often asked to have extra days at our campus office so he could meet with clients or potential clients.

Picture of Bill Cotter and Rory Holland
Bill Cotter and New Shop Supervisor Rory Holland

I asked Bill, “What advice could he give the new shop supervisor?”  He responded, “Make it your own job. “

When asked, “What will you do during retirement?” Bill responded, “Doing all the things that up to this point work has interfered with: hunting, fishing and travel. “

“What will you miss most about PSL?” He responded, “The people.”   And we know, “the people” feel the same.

Thank you for all the years of dedicated work at PSL and congratulations on your retirement from all of us to you, Bill.

May work never interfere with a good fishing trip. 

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