Greg Milner, Research Laboratory Shop Supervisor for Aerospace Engineering at Illinois, has been chosen for the prestigious University of Illinois Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award.
Milner has worked in the shop since 2005, and was quickly promoted from laboratory mechanic, to senior laboratory mechanic, to instrument maker, and then to his current position. In addition to his machine shop administrative duties, Milner is highly skilled in the construction, calibration and repair of research equipment, and assists in the design and development of specialized research apparatus.
AE Prof. Greg Elliott, an experimentalist who constructs much of his own equipment, has been especially appreciative of Milner’s craftsmanship. “I still recall needing to have a part made when (Milner) first arrived, and after a rough drawing (and a few hand gestures), he was able to grasp the design idea and fabricate it to perfection.”
David E. Farrow, Laboratory Manager for the Mechanical Testing Instructional Laboratory (MTIL) said the AE Research Machine Shop produces the great majority of the hundreds of testing specimens undergraduate students need each year for instruction in MTIL. “The lines of communication are always open with (Milner), and he unfailingly takes the time to thoughtfully answer any questions I have for him. He, himself, produces some of the specimens and has proposed and implemented new and faster ways of making more consistent specimens, to the ultimate benefit of our students.”
Jim Phillips, emeritus professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering and faculty supervisor of the 3-million-pound testing machine housed in Talbot Laboratory, has worked with Milner for 10 years. During that time, said Phillips, Milner has aided students with the crafting skills they’ve needed for two courses Phillips started and another that he has consistently taught. Milner also has excelled in operating the large testing machine and working with the companies that use it, Phillips said.
AE Department Head Philippe Geubelle said Milner’s dedication to his work was undoubtedly apparent three years ago following an accident that seriously damaged his eyesight. “Throughout that ordeal, while he was recovering from his injury and from multiple surgeries, he never stopped showing great concern with the operation of the shop and could not wait to return to work to address the backlog of projects.
“Since joining the AE Research Laboratory Shop that he now supervises, Greg Milner has displayed every day the highest level of competence, professionalism and dedication,” Geubelle said. “He is a true role model for his colleagues and employees.”