DOE created the facility representative position in 1990. Facility representatives are highly trained professionals who provide day-to-day oversight of contractor operations at the Department’s most hazardous facilities. There are approximately 175 facility representatives across the complex providing safety oversight and serving as an on-scene federal presence, monitoring mission accomplishments and worker and public safety.
The Department has presented the Facility Representative of the Year Award annually since 1995 to recognize exceptional performance. Awards for DOE’s facility representative and safety system oversight personnel will be announced at the 2018 Nuclear and Facility Safety Programs Workshop from May 21 to 24 in Las Vegas.
Here are this year’s nominees from EM sites:
Idaho - Trent Neville
Trent Neville, from the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP), is assigned to the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC), a complex of nine Hazard Category 2 nuclear facilities, and one Hazard Category 3 laboratory.
Neville’s more notable contributions to the success of the ICP included identifying numerous contractor non-compliances with worker safety and health regulations, his effective leadership during an Integrated Safety Management System Phase I Verification review, and his exceptional contributions during a safety culture assist visit to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
“Trent is an excellent facility representative for the Department; his technical knowledge, experience, and intuitive oversight of contractor operations has directly resulted in improved worker safety and health at his assigned facilities, and has been integral to the success of the Environmental Management mission at the DOE Idaho Site,” according to Mark Brown, an assistant manager with the DOE Idaho Operations Office.
Los Alamos - Lisa Salerno-Bush
Lisa Salerno-Bush is the Los Alamos Field Office’s (EM-LA) facility representative for Technical Area 54 and Technical Area 50’s Waste Characterization Reduction and Repackaging Facility. Salerno-Bush’s priorities include verifying that work is performed in accordance with the Safety Basis and DOE requirements and standards, identifying weakness in systems, and noting areas that might have room for improvement.
A facility representative since 2013, Salerno-Bush is accustomed to drawing attention to issues that are not always easy to discuss. “Part of my job is to bring up the uncomfortable issues that others may not want to see, address, or talk about. I am a strong believer in, ‘If you see something, say something.’ I am not afraid to pause work or ask those uncomfortable questions. I care about the people out here. I want them to be safe and go home safely.”
Salerno-Bush’s dedication to safety is not lost on her colleagues. “Lisa represents EM with a passion for the operations, a genuine care for the workers, and a selflessness that puts the needs of the organization above her own,” said Elizabeth Gilbertson, EM-LA’s director of Safety and Facility Operations.
Oak Ridge - Tim Noe
Tim Noe serves as a facility representative in the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) overseeing Building 3019, one of the DOE’s most sensitive and challenging facilities. The building, located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the world’s oldest operating nuclear facility, and it contains a large inventory of uranium.
Last year, Noe worked with the Isotek Systems, LLC to successfully complete the Uranium-233 Direct Disposition Campaign, which was one of OREM’s highest priorities. Through his support and leadership at the Security Category 1, Hazard Category 2 Nuclear facility, OREM completed the campaign months ahead of schedule and achieved approximately $9 million in savings.
“Tim is a tremendous asset to our program,” said OREM Manager Jay Mullis. “He has all of the technical expertise to manage one of our most complex facilities and ensure compliance with all of its rigorous requirements, and he is also a great team member who communicates well and keeps project members performing at their highest level.”
Office of River Protection - Patrick Swann
Office of River Protection (ORP) facility representative Pat Swann leads oversight of Hanford’s tank farm operations, maintenance, and construction activities. Additionally, Pat is the facility representative assigned to the 222-S Laboratory, overseeing operations of an analytical laboratory which provides analysis of radioactive samples in support of Hanford Site projects.
Swann also recently received ORP’s People’s Recognition Award given to employees who have demonstrated a clear concern for safety, and helped improve safety performance within ORP and the contractor.
“Pat’s leadership in planning oversight of operational activities has significantly improved contractor rigor and safety performance,” said Ron Frink, ORP’s Director for Tank Farm Operations. “His contributions in furthering ORP’s mission are significant, and management relies on him to assess contractor programs and ensure all facilities are operated safely and effectively.”
Richland - Ron Johnson
EM’s Richland Operations Office nominated Ron Johnson. Johnson is responsible for all aspects of oversight for the Soil and Groundwater Remediation Project and Central Plateau Surveillance and Maintenance at the Hanford Site.
In addition to his primary duties, Johnson volunteered to be the team leader responsible for all aspects of the integrated safety management system review of the 222-S Laboratory for EM’s Office of River Protection. Johnson also played an integral role in the response to the partial roof collapse of a tunnel at the Plutonium Uranium Extraction (PUREX) Plant. After the tunnel roof was temporarily secured, Johnson also volunteered to provide oversight of the more thorough tunnel stabilization work using engineered grout.
“Ron is an outstanding facility representative and was integral to the effective response and recovery from the PUREX tunnel site area emergency this spring,” said Assistant Manager for Safety and Environment Brian Stickney. “His willingness to assist another site office with an important review and provide oversight and field presence during the tunnel emergency, as well as his robust day-to-day oversight as a facility representative, demonstrates his remarkable commitment to the DOE mission.”
Savannah River Site - Tom Kohler
Tom Kohler is assigned to the H-Canyon, a Hazard Category 2 nuclear facility. H-Canyon is a production-scale, radiologically-shielded chemical separations facility which supports a variety of uranium, plutonium, and spent reactor fuel missions.
Kohler’s knowledge of his assigned facility, the Technical Safety Requirements, and the Criticality Safety Requirements drove the identification and safe resolution of operations with (then-unknown) degraded safety equipment and a potential criticality safety violation. Kohler also provided leadership and support in the disposition of highly enriched Target Residue Material from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.
Building on 25 years of experience in contractor training and qualification, Kohler has provided expertise in various ways including coauthoring a major portion of the revision to DOE O 426.2, Personnel Selection, Training, Qualification, and Certification Requirements for DOE Nuclear Facilities; assisting NNSA in performing its Triennial Contractor Training Assessment; and creating and implementing a Continuing Training Plan for facility representatives.
Carlsbad Field Office - Kenneth Princen
Ken Princen is the 2017 Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Facility Representative (FR) of the year. Arriving during the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) recovery effort in 2015, he quickly became part of a new FR program and oversight model as he gained his FR qualifications and shortly thereafter was selected as the Acting Facility Oversight Division Director.
Throughout 2017, Princen led the effort to rewrite FR program documents, and implemented improvements found necessary following the restart of WIPP operations, He created an FR watch bill to ensure coverage of functional areas, and make sure that all surveillances and assessments were planned, conducted and documented. He has qualified one new FR to the program, mentored a developmental position, and trained numerous individuals on performing WIPP readiness activities.
“Ken continues to set very high standards for himself, the WIPP contractor, and the CBFO FR program, I enthusiastically nominate him as the DOE FR of the Year,” said Ed Garza, Assistant Manager Office of WIPP, Carlsbad Field Office.