When John Christman enlisted in the U.S. Navy the day after his 18th birthday, he was hoping to work as either a welder or machinist. But he scored too high on the skills assessment and instead ended up studying advanced electronics. It was one of those twists of fate that set his whole career in motion. On June 29, Christman will leave the lab after 29+ years, the last 10 as a network engineer with ESnet.
He started out with two years of electronics school in the Navy, going to class eight hours a day and learning about vacuum tubes, transistors and programming. And while the technology changed, the nature of Christman’s work has remained constant – understanding and maintaining systems to ensure that users were able to reliably get the information they needed.
“Every year you learn something new – that’s what I love about the lab,” he said. “You’re always at the cutting edge, nothing gets stale.”