To bid or not to bid
Lockheed Martin’s decision not to bid “as prime or lead contractor” makes a transition to a new contractor on April 1, 2000, appear very likely, although the Feb. 24 statement from corporate appeared to leave the door cracked for a bid with a partner. At press time the only announced bidder is a team comprising Battelle, the University of Tennessee and Duke Engineering and Services.
Lockheed Martin cited a desire to focus on its defense and national security programs. Last year the corporation received a five-year extension on its contract at Sandia, which is a weapons lab, but elected not to participate in the Idaho National Engineering and Environment Laboratory rebid. Energy Systems received a 15-month extension at Y-12 in December to give DOE time to study the “megacontract” proposal to combine the weapons production facilities under one contractor.
Transition details will follow if a new contractor is selected this December. One assurance has already been given: If contractors change, Lockheed Martin scholarship winners currently in the middle of their four-year scholarship terms will remain eligible for the full term of the awards.
Proper attention and care
With $214 million requested in the President’s budget for the Spallation Neutron Source, ORNL has “moved aggressively” to steer the project toward a construction start. The Lab has brought in a big-project veteran to direct the SNS: Dr. David Moncton of Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source.
Consequently, ORNL has a new deputy director to concentrate on the Lab’s overall science and technology issues. Bill Appleton, who has received praise both inside and outside ORNL for leading the SNS through its conceptual design phase as associate director for the SNS, has become ORNL’s first deputy director of science and technology.
“I have been concerned for some time that I have been neglecting certain areas of the laboratory’s science and technology portfolio due to the demands on my time in other areas,” ORNL Director Al Trivelpiece said. “In his new position, Bill will assume the responsibility to ensure that these areas receive proper attention and care.”
Office of Science Director Martha Krebs praised Appleton and what he’s done for SNS.
“The SNS would not be where it is without Bill Appleton. He is a critical contributor,” she said.
Krebs said Moncton’s experience with the APS qualified him to lead the SNS project to the construction phase. SNS is currently the largest science construction project in the United States and the largest item in DOE’s R&D budget.
Moncton, who will report to Trivelpiece but remain an Argonne employee, led the team that completed the APS. Now he’ll have the task of guiding the five-laboratory consortium—Argonne, Berkeley, Brookhaven, Los Alamos and ORNL—to its scheduled completion of the SNS in 2005.
‘Continuity and comfort’
Office of Science Director Dr. Martha Krebs spent the day at ORNL on Feb. 12, visiting the Spallation Neutron Source offices in the morning and hosting a pair of talking sessions in the afternoon with Lab staff. Krebs said she wanted to come to ORNL to convey a sense of “continuity and comfort” in the face of uncertainties arising from the impending contract competition.
In the casual and open-format talks, Krebs assured listeners that the Lab was valued by DOE and the Office of Science and that stability was crucial to ORNL’s well-being.
“You will face uncertainty surely in the next few years, but you will face surely the value that the Office of Science puts on the science at ORNL,” she told the Wigner crowd.
Krebs remarked on topics ranging from the growing importance of climate change research to how the High Flux Isotope Reactor will provide a “wonderful complement” to the SNS. Regarding ORNL’s Mouse House: “Preserving it is not the issue,” she said. “The issue is fitting it into an always changing genome program.”
Krebs stressed that ORNL will remain a key player in the Office of Science.
“Now we are facing change, and it’s too soon to say what the change is going to be,” she said. “But we in the Office of Science need you.”
by Bill Cabage
Mr. Galvin returns to tout ‘science roadmaps’
Motorola’s Bob Galvin became a household word around ORNL and the rest of the DOE labs in 1994 when Secretary O’Leary tapped him to lead a task force to study the status and future of the post-Cold War research facilities.
The subsequent Galvin report made many recommendations toward the laboratories; some were liked, some were not; some have been heeded, many have not. Galvin hasn’t stopped thinking about how science and industry—the “useful arts”—can work together, and he described some of his views as an ORNL distinguished lecturer.
“We need to learn how to work better together,” he said. To that end, Galvin proselytizes the use of “science roadmaps,” strategic plans that carry decades into the coming century.
Galvin sees clean, abundant and affordable energy as key to a happier society in the future. “Freedom and affordability are coexisting intents in our country, and they revolve around science and the useful arts,” he says. “We need to learn how to work better together.” Roadmaps, he says, not only provide a focus toward the end product of clean energy for the next century and beyond; they also make science more saleable to those holding the purse strings.
“If we have good science roadmaps, science’s believability will be higher,” he said. “Obtaining Congress’s support for funds and less micromanagement will be easier.”
However, from his commercial perspective, Galvin couldn’t resist asking his Laboratory audience: “Can’t you do it faster?”