The BAE Department Says Goodbye to Longtime Research Shop Supervisor.

By Olivia Rogers 


The NC State BAE Research shop has been under Neil Bain’s watchful eye for seven years. During this time, Bain has seen many changes to the shop. As his last day approaches, he takes time to reflect on his experience as supervisor of the largest machine shop on campus. 


The BAE Research Shop has large machine capabilities. It provides machining, fabrication, assembly of functional items and prototype equipment for BAE and other NC State departments.


(Left to right)- Joseph Blalock, Neil Bain and Robert Hicks
(Left to right)- Joseph Blalock, Neil Bain and Robert Hickman.


Before Bain came to the Research Shop, he already had many years of experience working as a Journeyman Toolmaker. He received his certification in 1990 and has been in the field ever since. In the past, he has worked for private and government owned facilities. Bain explains that his years of working in the private industry has allowed him to approach his profession with a different perspective. 


Bain has applied that perspective to the research shop located in Weaver Labs. As shop supervisor, he oversees the daily operations of the shop and manages a departmental fleet of vehicles. Bain says this position encompasses many roles such as “building liaison, safety person, vehicle coordinator and even the guy to call when the graduate students get stuck out in the woods on a Friday night.” 


Bain says this job is “unlike any job I’ve ever done.” He explains the position is fun because he gets to work with students. Bain enjoys showing students what a career in his field would be like. He also works closely with researchers who use the shop for their projects. 


Bain talking to graduate students about the shop.

Being the building liaison means making sure Weaver is in top shape. Bain says, “I’m here a lot of Saturdays to check the building.” He says he has even been to Weaver in the middle of hurricanes to make sure everything is okay. Bain says, “There’s a lot involved with this job that most people don’t realize.”

Bain was recognized with a 2021-2022 leadership in safety award


Bain believes that many things have changed in Weaver Labs since his start date. He explains the buildings, labs, faculty and students have changed with the times. He says, “If you told me seven years ago that Weaver would be like it is today, I wouldn’t believe you.”

As Bain’s time in the Research Shop comes to an end, he prepares for his next position as NC State CALS Facilities Operations Manager.