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April 2014

A team of five competitors from Panhandle Junior High School capped off an eventful visit last week to the nation’s capital with a second-place finish in the electric car race competition at the National Science Bowl.

Coach Kevin Meyer said the team competed hard, but was barely edged out at the finish line of the final race.

The academic portion of the Science Bowl is supplemented each year for middle school students with a battery-powered car race that gives competitors the chance to apply their knowledge to designing a car to compete on a 20-meter track.

The Panhandle team won the right to represent the area at the national competition by besting 40 other teams in the Pantex Middle School Science Bowl competition in February. They were joined on the trip by a team from Lubbock High School, which won the high school competition.

The Department of Energy sponsors the Science Bowl competition each year to give students across the country a chance to compete in a contest of science and math knowledge. More than 50 regional competitions are conducted, with the winners having the chance to represent their area in Washington.

The members of the team are: Bradlee Brandvik, Arianna Hann, Samuel Koone, Noah Ford and Grace Kuehler.

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Dan Krivitsky named Los Alamos Field Office Employee of the YearDan Krivitsky’s success in facilitating work between federal agencies and his efforts in counter-terrorism initiatives and Intelligence Work For Others (WFO) earned him Employee of the Year for NNSA’s Los Alamos Field Office. Krivitsky of Los Ranchos, near Albuquerque, is a member of the field office’s Security Operations Team.

He and federal employees from around the state were recognized recently at a banquet sponsored by the New Mexico Federal Executive Board.

In 2013, Krivitsky was instrumental in forming a counter-threat working group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, ensuring that disparate security and intelligence stakeholders met routinely to discuss potential threats to the laboratory. He also fostered relationships with numerous State and Federal agencies to improve the flow and expand the network of threat information providers for the Laboratory. In addition, Krivitsky is recognized for his contributions to the Intelligence WFO program. Through the WFO program, the Department of Energy and NNSA provide research and technical assistance to other federal agencies on a reimbursable, full cost recovery basis. WFO agreements are also used as a mechanism through which industry can use expertise and facilities at LANL.

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Mike Cuneo and Igal Brener have been selected Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Cuneo was selected for “developments in inertial confinement fusion with magnetically-driven-implosions and electrode cleaning.” Over the course of his 25-year Sandia career, he has pursued the goal of pulsed-power-driven thermonuclear fusion.

Brener, who joined Sandia in 2004, was selected for “contributions to terahertz science and technology.” Projects on which he has worked include chem-bio sensing, terahertz science and devices, plasmonics, metamaterials and solid state lighting.

Read more.

IEEE honors two Sandia researchers as fellowsIEEE honors two Sandia researchers as fellows

DOE today celebrated Earth Day with Community Day on the DOE Pavilion. More than 20 local green exhibitors, including various DOE departments, showcased their environmental programs. Here Fred Winter and Joyce Kim promote modernizing the grid through innovative technology.

DOE celebrates Earth Day

The first Kansas City Plant employees were hired in March 1949 and were faced with the task of getting the former Navy aircraft engine plant at the Bannister Federal Complex ready for its new role. First on the checklist was the removal of tons of sugar and tires being stored at the facility by a former tenant. By April 19, three machines had been wired and were ready for operation.

Three short days later, on April 21, the first part – an ordinary machined bushing – was produced. That simple part was the forerunner to the highly sophisticated and complicated components built in the years that followed.

This year, the National Nuclear Security Administration celebrates 65 years of dedication to national defense at its facilities in Kansas City, Missouri. While much has changed in the world in past six decades, KCP’s mission to deliver safe, secure, and reliable products is still the same.

KCP highlights first part production

Two children of Kansas City Plant employees were among 300 students from 38 countries selected to attend the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy.

Moe McClarren, daughter of Honeywell Analyst Marcia McClarren, and Michael Sebelski, son of Honeywell Engineers Brian and Sheryl Sebelski attended the week-long academy in March. This unique scholarship program uses interactive technology and science-oriented workshops and team exercises to teach students leadership skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the program engages students in team-building challenges such as building their own rockets and participating in simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moon walk. Students also meet scientists, engineers, and former astronauts, who help reinforce core leadership competencies and share their first-hand experience.

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Engineering has always been an in-demand skill at Pantex, and for six years, the Pantex College Pre-hire program has worked well to help meet the need. But the growing demand for employees in other hard-to-fill jobs has meant the program is branching out in a new direction.

Shane Rogers, who has managed the pre-hire program since it started in 2007, just returned from a month-long tour of seven colleges in Texas and New Mexico. In addition to engineers, Rogers was looking for scientists and IT professionals who had important knowledge they could bring to the plant.

This is the first year Rogers looked for computer science (CS) and computer information systems (CIS) majors, in addition to the traditional engineering, math and science majors. The number of high-paying jobs in the IT marketplace makes it extremely difficult to find and recruit people with that skill set.

The pre-hire program reaches out to juniors and seniors who will agree to come to work at Pantex, in exchange for reimbursement of tuition and fees for up to two years. A group of students are interviewed at the schools, then selected candidates are invited to come to Pantex for a second interview and a chance to see some of the work done at the plant. The first semester of the program in 2007, Rogers made offers to six students. This semester, he hopes to make 26 offers.

Recruiters visit a variety of schools proximate to Pantex, including West Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and University of New Mexico. Students from as far away as Tennessee and Maryland have been invited for onsite visits following phone interviews. 

Pantex College Pre-hire program helps recruit next generation employees

The Department of Energy’s Savannah River Operations Office (DOE-SR) formed a partnership with the Department of Defense and returning veterans through the Operation Warfighter (OWF) Program, offering active-duty veterans 120-day internships working among the federal workforce at the Savannah River Site (SRS). 

SRS is a key DOE industrial complex dedicated to environmental cleanup, nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and nuclear materials disposition in support of the U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts. The site also develops and deploys technologies to support radiological and chemical cleanup activities following 40 years of producing materials used for nuclear weapons, primarily plutonium and tritium.

For the last six months, DOE-SR has hosted a small group veterans based out of the Army’s Ft. Gordon in nearby Augusta, Ga. The OWF veterans serve internships in occupational disciplines like contracting, safety and information technology.

About the photo:
Veterans gaining intern experience at Savannah River Site (from left): Yadira Bonilla-Cuevas, Terry Harris, Jonathan Ginsberg (Regional Coordinator, Operation Warfighter Program), Mark Spurlock, Dirck Moise and Deanna Yates, of the DOE Savannah River Operations Office, Office of Human Capital Management, recently met to discuss the intern program. Bonilla-Cuevas recently was hired as a federal employee after serving an Operation Warfighter internship.  (DOE-SR Photo by Doug Aiken.)

Savannah River Site hosts military interns

Cooking dinner will be a lot easier for about 20 needy families in Amarillo thanks to the generosity of Pantexans, who used a grocery store promotion to secure more than $6,000 of cookware for a local charity.

More than 70 pots and pans were donated to local charities by Pantexans Scott and Lauri Minton, who had been collecting stickers donated by their coworkers. The stickers represent nearly $100,000 in groceries purchased from United Grocery Stores, an area chain that has been giving stickers redeemable for cookware since October.

Lauri Minton said she and her husband started collecting the stickers when they realized they did not need new pots and pans, but that there were people in Amarillo who did. The Mintons spread the word around the plant, and were quickly overwhelmed with the positive response.

As the promotion entered the final days, word spread through social media, and the pace of giving picked up even more.

The pots and pans – over 21 complete sets – were dropped off at Martha’s Home Friday, an Amarillo shelter that provides a place to live for homeless women with children while guiding them toward a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Several pots and pans were also donated to the Pantex Christmas Project, which has been providing Christmas gifts to needy families for more than 50 years. 

Pantexans donate more than $6,000 of cookware to families in need

Pantexans donate more than $6,000 of cookware to families in need

The National Security Campus continues to receive accolades for an outstanding safety record during the move to its new, state-of-the art facility in Kansas City, Mo. In 2013, the NSC achieved its best safety performance on record despite moving thousands of employees and, literally, tons of equipment. The on-time, on-budget move is scheduled to be completed by August.

The National Safety Council presented NSC with the Perfect Record Award, which recognizes 12 months without an occupational injury or illness that resulted in days away from work. In addition, NSC recently obtained certification of OHSAS 18001 Standard for occupational health and safety assessment.

NSC nears move completion with outstanding safety record