EM Assistant Secretary Anne White visited the Hanford Site last week. Following is her report on the trip:
Another fantastic trip to Hanford completed, my fourth in the six months since I was sworn in. I hope to compile travel like this at all the sites.
On this trip I joined Jim Herz, Associate Director at the Office of Management and Budget for Natural Resources, Energy and Science, and John Vonglis, our DOE Chief Financial Officer. We had a great tour and managers Brian Vance, Doug Shoop and I worked with folks at the site to help Jim and John understand the complexities at Hanford, and, more importantly, how we can be better stewards of the taxpayers' money. They both asked some great questions and gained a real understanding of what we’re trying to do here. Making progress through partnerships with organizations external to EM is important (you’ll be hearing me say this a lot).
And I have to give a big shout-out to Dennis Myers with Mission Support Alliance, the driver on our tour. He was incredibly efficient, got us in front of a stunning herd of elk, and took such great care of us I barely noticed I was riding backwards the whole time! Thanks Dennis for all you do.
I also spoke at the Tri-Cities Connect STEM event, a job fair that brings together labor, veterans, employers, educators, and students to see how many awesome STEM careers there are, including fantastic technical and trade opportunities. There was a student competition where teams had to try and figure out how to rescue 50 people from an island (remember the Amazon, anyone?) and those kids were impressive as all get out! The highlight of the event was presenting over $20,000 in scholarships to the top three teams: Chiawana High School in third place, Tri-Tech Skills Center in second (with impressive manners) and Kiona-Benton City High School in first place. Congratulations to all of you. I saw a lot of folks at this event, everyone from representatives of Senators Murray and Cantwell’s offices, TRIDEC, and labor unions, to science presenter Kevin Delaney, our site folks, and other members of our DOE team including Kelly Mitchell from DOE's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity – great turnout from all corners.
I was able to meet with several stakeholders, too, including the Yakama, Wanapum, Nez Perce, and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla for a Tribal dinner. It was so important to share a meal. I feel I understood the meaning of their prayers and song. It is an unbelievable experience to work with these Nations and have them share their cultures and languages so freely. I am working to find more ways to make progress through partnership with our Tribes and appreciate all the efforts of our EM team to move the ball forward here.
Thank you guys. Keep up the great work.
- Anne Marie White