Susan Lacy, the Environmental Team Leader at NNSA’s Sandia Field Office recently retired after more than 32 years of federal service with the Department of Energy and NNSA. Lacy was recognized for her service and dedication with NNSA’s Distinguished Career Service Award and the Administrator’s Award of Excellence Bronze Medal.
Lacy began her career in federal service in 1987 at the DOE Albuquerque Operations Office’s Environment and Health Division as a DOE intern and general engineer. While working in the division’s Health Protection Branch, she was nominated for two special assignments: Support for the technical safety appraisal of Rocky Flats Plant’s nuclear facilities 776/777 and support for the restart of nuclear facility 771. She was subsequently detailed to support the Rocky Flats Area Office as a member of the resumption of operations team, where she assessed waste management operations and pond waste solidification operations.
In 1990, Lacy returned to the Albuquerque Operations Office to help Sandia National Laboratories develop a graded approach to the conduct of operations program for laboratory operations. She was also the lead for a Tiger Team assessment of Sandia National Laboratories’ environment, safety, and health activities which resulted in a corrective action plan reworking most of the Labs’ ES&H program.
The following year, Lacy accepted a position at the newly established Kirtland Area Office (now the Sandia Field Office). Lacy was later selected as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance Officer for the field office and was responsible for reviewing proposals for compliance with federal and state ES&H requirements, including requirements of DOE and/or executive orders. She was the primary driver for the implementation of the NEPA Compliance Program at Sandia, which is recognized as one of the best NEPA programs within NNSA. In addition to NEPA, she was responsible for other environmental programs including air quality, a role in which she managed and led the effort to submit the first required Clean Air Act Title V permit for all seven DOE and NNSA entities on Kirtland Air Force Base.
Lacy was a member of the Accident Response Group – one of NNSA’s nuclear incident response teams – and participated in the DOE-lead Digit Pace exercise, as well as trained for the Dimming Sun exercise in England (which was cancelled due to the Kosovo War).
In 2000, she responded to the Cerro Grande Fire near Los Alamos, New Mexico, to collect air samples. Lacy subsequently developed the wildland fire management program for the field office in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, Kirtland Air Force Base, the DOE National Training Center, the DOE/NNSA Albuquerque Complex, and the DOE/NNSA Office of Secure Transportation.
As the environmental team lead for the past 15 years, Lacy not only served as the NEPA Compliance Officer, but also managed the ecology, archeology, history, wildland fire, radiological air, and environmental programs for the field office. These roles required routine interactions with federal, state and local regulators in New Mexico, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Texas, and Alaska.
During Lacy’s career, she demonstrated exemplary performance and commitment. She excelled in her field and received numerous awards in recognition of her outstanding efforts. Her legacy of accomplishments will endure through the process improvements that she was instrumental in establishing, further strengthening the mission of NNSA.