Nancy Helgesen Lyons, Physical Plant–CARS
Dennis Benson, shop coordinator for the Physical Plant Machine Shop, retired in February. When he joined the Physical Plant in 1981, Dennis went from making parts in a factory using a tool and die method to a shop where creativity and quick thinking are the rule, as there are no manuals for much of the work. “You need to know what makes things tick,”said Dennis. “Up to this day, I have learned as I went. When we make a part here it may be one of a kind. We do that every day.” Dennis became shop coordinator in 1996.
Dennis is glad that one of the items he designed spared people injury as well as saved money. He designed an ice blocker for the provides space analysis/allocation for campus facilities, oversees Service Building Annex’s roof. He said, “It’s a fence on top of the gutter, like a backstop, so ice will hit it and then fall in the gutter. The Physical Plant used to have to move vehicles from the alley in the parking lot, and knock down dangerously big icicles that could hurt someone.” Before the ice blocker was installed on this roof, Dennis said, “I saved a kid walking in the parking lot, not paying attention, ice fell and nearly hit him. I shouted and he moved.” He’s glad that risk is gone now.
Dennis’s future plans include travel with his family, fishing, and community activities with veterans’ groups. A highly decorated veteran, Dennis said, “I was an army air gunner and a crew chief in a light observation helicopter during the Viet Nam War. I am a life member of Viet Nam Vets and of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization in Portage.” We wish him the best for his future.