The newly designated NA-50 Excellence Awards recently were presented at Pantex by NNSA Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations James McConnell and at Y-12 by NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz (Ret.). The award recognizes teams and individuals for outstanding accomplishments involving innovation, effectiveness, teamwork, overcoming adversity, and enabling future success.
CNS President and CEO Morgan Smith commended the honorees by saying, “The work we do is unique. We play a key role in the defense of the nation and the stability of the world. We face the challenge of meeting this important mission while working in facilities that are well past their intended life. Your work has helped tackle infrastructure issues that, if left unaddressed, could have exposed a risk to employees, the mission, or the environment.”
At Pantex and Y-12, the CNS Construction team was recognized for its operations with zero recordable injuries in fiscal year 2016, and the Development and Approval team for the Administrative Support Complex (Kirk McCutcheon at Pantex, Tom Smith at Y-12) was recognized for its work to develop the foundation and business case, as well as the extensive approval process.
One other Pantex award included the Outage Process Execution team, being recognized for the high-voltage distribution system outages conducted safely in support of the NNSA mission at Pantex.
Other Y-12 awards recognized: the team replacing some 700 fire suppression system sprinkler heads in Building 9204-2, the team that reroofed three Manhattan Project–era buildings as part of the Excess Facilities Disposition Program Roof Asset Management Program Risk Reduction project, the team that repaired the concrete beam in Building 9204-2, and the team that pursued multiple direct- and indirect-funded projects to reduce risks posed by excess facilities.
Y-12’s LiveWise program recently earned gold-level distinction from the East Tennessee Wellness Roundtable. The program recognizes East Tennessee workplaces that exemplify excellence in wellness. Y-12 is a member of the roundtable, as are several businesses, educational institutes, non-profit organizations, and medical facilities.
“To achieve ETWR gold status, worksites must demonstrate a supportive wellness infrastructure and must meet a certain number of criteria related to physical activity, nutrition, mental health and substance abuse, and tobacco use and prevention,” said Rebecca Ellison, chair of the roundtable. “You all do SO many wonderful things. …You met six out of six of the infrastructure requirements (and only four are required for gold) because you have leadership support for wellness initiatives, have a wellness plan and a wellness committee, you communicate wellness goals and initiatives with employees, you formally evaluate your wellness activities, and you conduct employee interest surveys.”
CNS Health and Wellness supervisor Karen Lacey said that while the ETWR organization is based in Knoxville with many of its resources located there, the recognition is appreciated. “We are thrilled to be recognized for all the great things CNS does to promote the health and wellness of its employees. We’ve had long-term recognition from organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society, so adding this accolade to our reputation only helps solidify our commitment to help Y 12 employees maintain the best health possible.”
Lacey added that the ETWR website does offer wellness articles and information about area farmers markets, and Knoxville residents can benefit from information about greenways and parks, as well as fitness and activities.
In an effort to better understand the changing job market, STEM teachers from across East Tennessee attended a professional development day program, sponsored by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), at the Y-12 National Security Complex on June 22, 2017.
CNS Vice President and Y-12 Site Manager, Bill Tindal, briefed the group on the history and continuing mission at Y-12; and the importance of having a qualified workforce, both now and in the future. In addition to Tindal’s introduction, the group also toured Y-12’s advanced manufacturing facilities and heard from a panel of professionals on the nature of Y-12’s business and workplace culture. The speakers focused on student learning and how it directly intersects with what is required in the workplace.
The panelists included Ashley Stowe, Renee Harper, Travis Howerton, Mea Reeves, and Mike Thompson.
Harper discussed the pressures students face at an early age and the decisions they are asked to make. She encouraged the teachers to remind their students that, while these decisions are important, they are not set in stone. “These decisions don’t have to dictate the rest of your life,” she said. “You will get plenty of other opportunities to change course.”
Howerton also had some advice for the teachers. “To me, success looks a lot like hard work. Learning the value of hard work matters a lot,” he said and encouraged the teachers to instill that work ethic in their students.
“The entire day was invigorating,” said Linda Reedy, an instructor at Concord Christian School. “We were treated to a demonstration of Y-12’s 3-D manufacturing capabilities and we heard from experts about what we can do to better prepare our students for today’s workplace.”
The visit was part of a professional development opportunity by STEMspark, the East Tennessee Education hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and the nationwide STEMx Coalition.
Y-12 recently celebrated its sixth apprentice class since reinstatement of the program in 2008. This class of 13 is the first to include apprentices in the machinist classification.
It has been a long journey for the apprentices. For the nine machinists, that journey included three years of year-round classes on Fridays and evenings at Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC). The four electricians completed their training at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training facility in Knoxville. The electricians are represented by IBEW Local Union 760, and the machinists are represented by Machinist Local Union 480.
Tim Milligan, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration chief steward, noted that the program positions Y-12 for the long term when skilled craft workers are in high demand. He said, “The apprenticeship program is our guarantee that we will be able to meet our future production goals.”
Milligan acknowledged the program’s success was a result of a partnership between Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC; the union instructors and training coordinators; the Atomic Trades and Labor Council (ATLC); PSCC administration and instructors; and Y-12’s Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, which consists of three managers and three union representatives.
CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Morgan Smith addressed the graduates and encouraged them to pay it forward. He said, “Y-12 has an enduring mission—and you will help ensure its success. As your career progresses, use the skills you hone and develop to help prepare that next generation.”
National Nuclear Security Production Office Manager Geoff Beausoleil echoed Smith’s remarks, stating “this apprenticeship program continues to help ensure an enduring workforce dedicated to Y-12’s important national security mission.”
ATLC President Mike Thompson congratulated the new journeymen and assured them they will continue to learn and become more proficient in their skills. He also acknowledged that their success comes with a responsibility. “You are the ones who will take our place and carry on the proud tradition of being some of the most skilled tradesmen in the world,” he said.
Sarah Cruise certainly has made the most of her first two years with Consolidated Nuclear Security. She’s worked rotations in engineering design, special processing, and Development — not to mention a three-month stint at Pantex as a process engineer.
For Cruise and other new hires in Mission Engineering at Y-12, the Career Opportunities for New Engineers (Career ONE) program has been a way to explore different career paths and meet new people.
When Cruise started in the Career ONE program, she was the only female in the class, and she wanted to find “a strong female role model.” With the support of program lead Mike Ellis, Cruise reached out to Rebecca Boser, senior manager, Engineering & Science.
“We connected initially because we’re both chemical engineers with MBAs,” Cruise said. “We began meeting for lunch, and she would introduce me to other female engineers in Development and on the west end, as well as people close to my age. She was open to any questions I had.”
During her job rotations, Cruise gained perspective from her engineering colleagues on the types of work performed in different areas. When the time came to decide where she wanted to work permanently, Cruise looked to Boser for advice.
“I was glad to have found someone who had been where I am and where I may want to go,” said Cruise, who now has a permanent position in Development and a new role in Career ONE — mentoring other new hires.
Meredith Manning, who joined Y-12 a year ago, said, “Sarah has been super helpful. I met her on my first day, and she introduced me to people and showed me around. She helped me get my feet wet.” As Manning completes her final rotation, the two still keep up with each other. “Sarah continues to be a good resource if I have questions,” she said.
As Cruise and Manning’s experiences prove, Career ONE’s success lies in people helping people.
“In Career ONE, we typically match engineers who have been through the program with those just coming in,” Ellis said. “They haven’t forgotten the questions and concerns that they had as a new employee, so they can help address them, but they also have gained enough experience to be able to address more technical questions and issues that a new hire may have.”