Maggie Rando, known to many as "Main Gate Maggie," greets almost every visitor to the Laboratory. Rando, who resides in the trailer at the Lab's main gate, is responsible for following U.S. Department of Energy and Lab procedures relating to site visitors. She processes main gate access forms, checks identification and completes necessary forms for all visitors, with special attention to foreign nationals.
Maggie (seated) greets a new BNL employee.
Rando says she loves her job. "Every day is diverse," she said. "I've met many different people from all over the world. Besides many employees, I've also met elected officials, contractors, and scientists coming to the Lab with their families to start new jobs."
During my interview with Rando, a truck driver entered the trailer and said he was from the Kiwanis organization and had come to pick up a car that a BNL employee was donating to them. Rando checked her computer and found that the employee hadn't completed an online gate access form, but that didn't seem to stop her from getting the job done. She called the employee, who confirmed he was donating a car to the Kiwanis. Since no access form had been submitted, Rando called one of the police officers to escort the truck driver to the appropriate Lab location. All of this was done in a flash and all parties left happy. It was interesting to watch Rando in action and get a better understanding of her job and how she does it. But Rando stresses that employees shouldn't assume that main gate access forms aren't necessary. She said visits to the Lab go much more smoothly if employees follow procedure. "There are occasions when a visitor does not gain access to the site. We need to remember that after the tragedy on 9-11, these procedures were put in place to protect our site and everyone on it. I take my job very seriously," she said.
Many BNLers refer to Rando's work area as the "trailer of shame" -- a phrase coined by employees and guests who have lost or forgotten their BNL I.D. badge and need to see Rando to get a temporary pass. The pass, a sticker that must be worn, is an obvious symbol to co-workers that you have misplaced your badge and entered the "trailer of shame" to gain access to the Lab site. But Rando has certainly worked hard to make the trailer a comfortable place where everyone feels welcome. There are plants and personal artifacts and a bulletin board full of photos.
Rando, who recently received a BNL Spotlight Award, lives in Ridge. She spends her free time playing scrabble and volunteering at her local church. A Juilliard scholarship winner, she says she plays piano "to help me relax."