Office of Environmental Management

Worker Enjoys Dual Job Challenge of Learning and Teaching at Hanford

February 5, 2019

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RICHLAND, Wash. – For Ben Vannah, with the EM Richland Operations Office (RL), commitment to his job is all about the people and the environment.

   “I enjoy the environmental cleanup,” said Vannah, who joined EM at the Hanford Site in 2014. “I feel like we’re making a difference.”

   Working on one of the largest nuclear cleanups at a site with such a rich history during World War II and the Cold War is one of the most rewarding parts of the job, Vannah said.

   He is the project engineer for the remediation of a highly contaminated waste site beneath a former laboratory just north of Richland and only a few hundred yards from the Columbia River, as well as the eventual demolition of the building itself.

   After joining RL, Vannah quickly learned from co-workers who were ready to help their new teammate learn about Hanford cleanup.

   “Everyone’s very receptive to new people coming in, asking questions, and they’re more than willing to mentor and give guidance,” said the South Florida native, who has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in environmental engineering.

EM Richland Operations Office (RL) Project Engineer Ben Vannah stands outside the RL building in Richland, Washington.
EM Richland Operations Office (RL) Project Engineer Ben Vannah stands outside the RL building in Richland, Washington.

   Ben is the type of person you want in a new employee,” said Mark French, federal project director for the RL project and facilities division. “He’s smart, driven, and dedicated to the mission. I believe he will be a future leader in DOE.”

   When Vannah has the opportunity to share advice with Hanford newcomers, he recommends they ask questions and seek a mentor.

   “Some of my co-workers have been at Hanford longer than I’ve been alive,” Vannah said. “They’re eager to share their knowledge and see you succeed.”

   Vannah also has a message for those who aren’t affiliated with Hanford Site cleanup.

   “Our priority is cleaning up the environment and keeping people safe, and that’s the exciting part about coming to work,” he said.

Editor's note: In an occasional series, EM Update profiles early career professionals across the EM complex.


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