For several years, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) employees have been involved in FIRST (For Inspiration of Science and Technology) as competition judges, mentors and team coaches.
“CNS depends heavily on attracting and retaining highly talented STEM educated people,” said Mark Cook, a CNS engineer and local team mentor. “There is a gap between the workforce demand in STEM careers and those pursuing education in those fields. This isn’t just about competing with other corporations, but, fundamentally, we have to reach down and encourage students’ interest to pursue these careers. One advantage of FIRST is that it rewards and recognizes robotic students for pursuing their development just as they see their peers recognized in athletics.”
FIRST learning never stops building upon itself; it starts at age 6 and continues into high school. The FIRST organization’s mission “is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting Mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including selfconfidence, communication, and leadership.”
This year’s FIRST competition challenge, “Stronghold,” was to penetrate their opponents’ fortress, weaken their defenses with boulders and capture the opposing tower. To accomplish the task, teams worked with hundreds of components from programmable radio controllers, motors and electrical circuitry to mechanical parts. Each two-and-a-half-minute match began with a 15-second autonomous period in which the robots independently implemented codes from their student programmers. During the remainder of the match, student drivers manned the robots.
CNS was a Friends of the Future sponsor to the Smoky Mountains Regional with a $5,000 donation. Individual high schools teams from Austin–East, Bearden, Farragut, Hardin Valley, L & N STEM, Oak Ridge and Roane County also were supported by CNS. Hardin Valley Academy’s RoHAWKtics team was part of a three -team alliance that took home top honors in Smoky Mountain Regionals. Hardin Valley Academy also received the FIRST Excellence in Engineering Award. Oak Ridge High School’s Secret City Wildbots, received the Gracious Professional Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award. Four teams from east Tennessee qualified for the world competition in St. Louis, including Roane County High School, Oak Ridge High School, Halls High School and Hardin Valley Academy.
“FIRST helps students develop tools they need to be successful adults in any workplace—working with teams, gracious professionalism, communication, mentoring kids, and discipline,” adds Mark Cook. “This competition is expensive, and teams rely on both the financial support of sponsors like CNS as well as professional mentors involved in these fields.”
Safeguards, Security and Emergency Services integrated, consolidated and standardized processes at Pantex and Y-12 in 2015. According to Gary Wisdom, SS&ES senior director at Pantex, “The exchange of information has been our greatest effort and our most valuable success. Integrating our knowledge, purpose and strategic initiatives can ultimately provide the greatest returns.”
In many cases, the formalization and documentation of long‑established informal processes were major accomplishments. For example, in June 2015, the National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office approved consolidated rules of engagement and hostile intent policies for unmanned aerial systems at both CNS sites.
In July, essential elements terminology was standardized, and the organization decided to proceed with incorporating all governing documents into a single Requirement Management System, which assists with consolidating the flow down of Department of Energy requirements into site‑specific documents.
The enterprise infrastructure to facilitate and support these efforts is integral to their success. Training, Supply Chain Management, Document Control and other organizations must be integrated so that they can support integration at lower levels. Representatives from SS&ES, Transformation and Supply Chain Management developed a logistics plan to make it easier for SS&ES employees to get what they need to do their work on time and cost effectively.
“If we can reduce the time spent completing repetitive purchase paperwork, reduce the time it takes to get the items and services we need, that’s a big plus for everyone,” explained Brian Deorocki of SS&ES Integration Management. Items needed at both sites may be purchased in bulk, improving employee effectiveness and reducing costs.
The logistics plan simplifies these repetitive and multi‑year procurements of specialized supplies, parts and equipment, as well as maintenance, service and repair contracts. Protective Force personnel at both sites worked together to develop a statement of work for a firearms maintenance capability at Anniston Army Depot. The depot possesses machines, parts and tools to renovate and refurbish military firearm systems and restore them to current military specifications, a capability not available at Pantex or Y-12. Both sites have provided additional statements of work for other site‑specific weapons and have coordinated with Supply Chain Management for an integrated ammunition procurement process.
During the year, Emergency Services leadership developed a common vision for the Enterprise Emergency Services organization and shared processes. Y-12’s Exercise Builder software was implemented at Pantex, along with the Communicator NXT technology and the first phase of the Emergency Management Information Notification System. Y-12 personnel offered guidance and training on each system throughout implementation.
Personnel from the sister site served as evaluators, leading to valuable discussions afterwards where processes were compared and a common balance was agreed upon.
“We continue developing common approaches to various ways of reporting and doing business across both sites, but we also realize we need to enhance our performance in terms of communications, leadership, ethics, teamwork and job satisfaction,” Wisdom said.
SS&ES teams continue integrating the Pantex and Y‑12 programs. Ken Freeman, SS&ES vice president, said, “The integration effort has been challenging, but we are very pleased with the work our employees are accomplishing. Through their continued collaborative and cooperative efforts, we anticipate having even greater success in FY 2016.”
Consolidated Nuclear Security and other area businesses recently joined the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce in hosting a breakfast for state lawmakers in Nashville.
More than two dozen Chamber members took part in “Oak Ridge Day on the Hill” meeting with area lawmakers and state officials in their offices and in the halls of the Legislative Plaza, encouraging them to support the Chamber’s legislative and public policy agenda for 2016.
Among the requests, approved by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, was continued support of Tennessee Promise, Drive 55 and the TN Reconnect program; and the expansion of general aviation capacity by developing a regional airport in Oak Ridge.
“It was a tremendous honor to participate as part of Oak Ridge Day and represent Consolidated Nuclear Security,” said CNS Small Business Partnerships manager Lisa Copeland. “Meeting so many state senators and representatives and other dignitaries and being able to tell the Y-12 story and the importance of workforce development was our mission; and we were able to accomplish that,” she said.
In addition to CNS, other exhibitors were Advanced Management Inc., Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Utility District and the City of Oak Ridge.
An unexpected highlight of the visit was the opportunity to share a few minutes with Governor Bill Haslam and get a picture made with him.
Stacy Myers, chairman of the Chamber’s Advocacy Committee said, “Our goal was to take Oak Ridge to Nashville and share what Oak Ridge is doing for the next generation of our workforce.”
“Our scheduled and impromptu meetings with state officials in the hallways of the Legislative Plaza and the State Capitol proved to once again be productive.”
To get more girls interested and excited about science, math and technology, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) recently donated $10,000 to Girls Inc. of Oak Ridge/Knoxville (Tennessee) to help expand STEM programs.
Girls Inc. Executive Director Rhoni Basden said the donation will support science programs in Anderson and Knox counties and a fall Girls Inc. STEM conference.
“Through this conference, girls will be able to explore differing science fields and engage in interactive activities with experts in computer sciences, technology, engineering, forensic sciences and more,” said Basden.
Darrell Graddy, CNS Vice President for Operations Support, was on hand for the check presentation and was given a tour, by a group of young girls, of the Oak Ridge facility.
“We’re pleased to support the mission of Girls Inc.,” said Graddy. “The continuing success of Y-12 and Pantex and their missions, relies on developing the talent we will need for the future.”
“Girls Inc. and expansion of its STEM programs perfectly aligns with that goal,” he added.
Girls Inc. serves girls ages 5 to 18 in after-school, break camps and sports programs. The organization began in Oak Ridge in 1976 and has recently expanded into Knox County.
Y‑12 senior metallurgist Steve Dekanich will receive the 2015 International Metallographic Society (IMS) President’s Award at this year’s meeting in July.
“It brought me great pleasure that my first act as IMS president was announcing my friend and mentor, Steve Dekanich of the Y‑12 National Security Complex, as the President’s Award recipient,” said Jaret Frafjord, director of IMR Test Labs in Portland and former Y‑12 colleague of Dekanich’s. “Steve is a long‑time member of IMS, a past Jacquet‑Lucas (an international award for excellence in metallography) winner, past IMS organizer for the Microscopy & Microanalysis conference and past officer of the board of directors. Steve is currently an editor for the IMS journal, Metallography, Microstructures, and Analysis, and the unofficial IMS historian. I am forever grateful that Steve introduced me to the society and encouraged me to become involved.”
This award adds to the confirmation that Dekanich’s work is internationally known and respected among his peers, but many at Y‑12 and in the east Tennessee area also have known he does great things for years—especially when it comes to sharing his knowledge. From introducing local high schoolers to the field of materials science for the last 11 years to gaining the attention of best‑selling author Patricia Cornwell with his research on the cause of the sinking of Civil War submarine the H.L. Hunley, Dekanich has applied his expertise with metals to not only help Y‑12 successfully carry out its missions but to help shape the next generation of researchers.
“I’m grateful to Y‑12 for allowing me the opportunity to share materials science with high school students through the ASM International Materials Camp,” said Dekanich. “In the 11‑year period of the camp, we had 12 students enroll in the Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee. The best part is seeing that same spark kindled in several of the students who chose materials science as a career.”
Working with the Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing Team, the successful Plant‑Directed Research, Development and Demonstration project, Dekanich advanced the technique used to detect flaws in metal. He not only spelled a win for weld inspections at Y‑12 but also (you guessed it!) created a customized training session for inspectors at Y‑12 and externally.
While awards are not something Dekanich strives for, it certainly puts the proverbial icing on the cake.
“Receiving the President’s Award was a total surprise and never imagined. To be unexpectedly recognized for something that I enjoy doing truly adds to the fulfillment of my career,” he said. “During my 45+ year career, metallography, metallurgy and materials science became a passion. That passion led me to involvement with three uranium enrichment processes; materials applications for the U.S. space station, the Navy Seawolf program and the Star Wars program; weapons development; plasma spray filter development; and serving as chairman and principal investigator on catastrophic material failures as well as many other things. In all honesty, I’m as excited now about materials science as I was 45 years ago,” he said.