Diane McDaniel
Diane Purdy McDaniel

The National Nuclear Security Administration is celebrating the women who make up the backbone of our Enterprise. These women work across areas like project management, maintenance, disposition, sustainability and more. Their contributions and accomplishments are what make our workforce so incredible, and their backgrounds and expertise ensure that workforce is just as vibrant and important as the missions they support.

Title: Senior Director, Excess Facilities Transformation
Program/Office: Y-12, CNS
Years in infrastructure: 25


How did you become interested in infrastructure or what was your career path to this point?

I started out as an environmental scientist, characterizing contamination in soil and water resources at federal sites across the U.S. Because soil and water contamination commonly have sources associated with industrial facilities, I eventually became interested in the facilities themselves and the activities performed in them. I later got involved with demolishing and disposing contaminated facilities. Enabling the modernization of facilities by removing inactive contaminated ones from active production has been the most challenging yet rewarding job I have ever had.

Describe a proud moment or accomplishment.

My personal motto is “to leave the world better than I entered it.” I am proud of every project my team completes. I am proud every time that I see an open site where a dilapidated facility used to be. Facility removal is a technically complicated problem that my team solves to  make the world a cleaner and safer place. That’s very rewarding.

Why do you like working for NNSA?

We always receive the support we need. The demolition and disposal of facilities is very dynamic. There are always surprises in these 70-year-old buildings that we didn’t foresee. I have always gotten great support from NNSA to address newly identified challenges and keep projects moving forward.

What advice would you give to young people considering a similar career?

Don’t sell yourself short. You are smart enough to solve any problem. If a situation seems overwhelming, take it apart and solve it one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll have a solution.


*This is part of an ongoing series for Women’s History Month to recognize women in infrastructure at NNSA*