Elam, Foley Retire from AE Machine Shop
AE students, faculty and staff said, “Thanks and good luck!” this spring to Kent Elam and David Foley, who have been the driving forces the past 30 years behind what is now the Aerospace Engineering Machine Shop.
Elam and Foley began their University of Illinois careers in November 1981 and September 1980, respectively, in the shop then administered by the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (TAM). The shop became part of Aerospace Engineering in 2006 when TAM merged with Mechanical Engineering, forming the Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) Department.
Well-wishers from both the former TAM Department and AE gathered April 30 to congratulate Elam and Foley on their retirements.
Both Elam and Foley began their work as lab mechanics, and then moved up the ranks to senior lab mechanics and instrument makers. James W. Phillips, associate head of both TAM and MechSE, and supervisor for both Elam and Foley, said an instrument maker “uses basic and advanced machining tools and methods to fabricate parts and specimens of difficult geometry with exceedingly tight tolerances,” and “is capable of working with unusual and new materials, such as high-strength metals and composite materials.”
Foley was honored for his dedication and skill when he received the Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award in 2006.
Elam, who assumed additional responsibility when he became Research Laboratory Shop Supervisor in April 1998, was honored this spring with the AE Staff of the Year Award.
Upon retiring Elam said, “I really enjoyed my job at the University of Illinois. Not everyday was fun-filled, as is true of life, but it was a great work experience. Of course, what I will miss the most will be the people (students and staff) I worked with both in the shop, the department and campus at large.”