Kelly E Sturdyvin
Kelly Sturdyvin is a Cryogenic Tech with the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Kelly started out his career with the Department of Physics in June 2006 when he was hired to work in the department's print shop. His office was renovated next to the Helium Liquefier so he could help out with the running of the liquefier in 2007.
In August 2015, Kelly was promoted to be the department's Assistant Facilities Manager, which included increasing his responsibilities with the liquefier. In December 2018, the previous Cryogenic Tech, Kenny Roemer, started transferring more responsibility for the liquefier to Kelly. Kelly passed the cryogenic tech test in January 2019. After the previous liquefier supervisor, Jerry Cook, retired in April 2019, Kelly assumed full responsibility of the liquefier.
Since assuming full responsibility of the liquefier, Kelly has travelled to other liquefier facilities, including those at Northwestern University and University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn how they run their facility and help share knowledge from our own Illinois liquefier team.
Kelly has earned quite a few recognitions of his excellent service since joining the U of I in 2006. In 2007, he received a "thank you" from the chancellor from coming into work when the university was closed due to bad weather. In 2020, Kelly received the Gary Kelly Staff Excellence Award from the physics department head, "for his innovative and tireless service in providing liquid helium at an affordable cost for the world-class research carried out in the Department of Physics and Chemistry, in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, and in the Nuclear Physics Laboratories."
In March 2021, Kelly's name was put on a wall in the Grainger College of Engineering for Covid-19 Recognition. During the pandemic, Kelly received a handful of thank you letters from multiple people. One in particular from former Physics Facilities Manager, Jerry Cook contains the following excerpt, "...Your management of the liquefier facility from the preventative maintenance program you have incorporated has added life to this current liquefier. The longevity of the current liquefier would expect to be replaced in about 8 years. With the current running capabilities what you have this liquefier running at, you could see an additional 5 years. I would compare the harmonics of this machine to that of University of Florida, with Greg Labbe. I was amazed that the production level of liters per hour you were able to accomplish with this machine, with a production rate over 45 liters per hour. We never hit this number in the past and were only told we could do this with this machine if we changed some piping. This was not the case; it was done by hours of hard work and maintenance on your part to improve the efficiency of the liquefier. I personally know that we both spent a lot of overtime in your first few months trying to keep the liquefier running. It was during this time that you started incorporating your touch to the liquefier and the preventative maintenance. The last item that supervisors don’t see, is your ability to hire and train students in the liquefier. Your vetting in the hiring process and training has a strong track record of hiring awesome students for the liquefier, which is a complete turnaround from the past..."