National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA Hidden Talents: Chad Thompson

February 27, 2019

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Caber Toss at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival & Highland Games in Albuquerque, NM. Caber: 18'6" 126lb.
Caber Toss at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival & Highland Games in Albuquerque, NM. Caber: 18'6" 126lb.

Being part of the Nuclear Security Enterprise takes skill, smarts, and determination. From research scientists developing innovative new technologies to administrative professionals organizing day-to-day operations, it’s no surprise that our workforce is filled with impressive people. What some members of the NNSA family accomplish in their spare time, however, is truly unexpected.

Chad Thompson is a Package Certification Engineer for NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations.

Caber Toss at the Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Aztec, NM. Caber: 17'2" 117lb.
Caber Toss at the Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Aztec, NM. Caber: 17'2" 117lb.

What is your hidden talent?

I am a nationally-ranked Scottish Highland Games Athlete. At the end of the 2018 season, I finished in the top 3 percent of 1242 athletes nationally. In 2017, I placed 6th at the International Highland Games Federation All-American Championship.

How did you get into that hobby?

I was playing in a rugby tournament in Albuquerque around the middle of May 2008 when two fellow players and I were notified that there were some highland games athlete spots available in the Men’s C novice class the next day. We signed up and had absolutely no idea what we were getting into. I am now in the offseason preparing for my 11th throwing season.

56lb Heavy Weight for Distance throw at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival & Highland Games in Albuquerque, NM.
56lb Heavy Weight for Distance throw at the Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival & Highland Games in Albuquerque, NM. 

What do you get out of your talent?

There is quite a bit of an art form to throwing all the implements in the Scottish highland games. I like competing for the thrill of the competition, the camaraderie of fellow athletes, and entertaining the spectators, of all ages, that cheer us athletes on.

How does your talent relate to your day job?

By striving to continuously improve, you find yourself making adjustments along the way to improve the end result. Though applied differently, this mindset can be relatable in the office and on the competition field.