Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Billy Stair ()
Communications and External Relations


Thompson, Flowers join UT-Battelle

Blake Thompson and Paula Flowers have joined the management team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 4, 2008 — UT-Battelle announced today that Blake Thompson, Deputy Staff Director of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, and Paula Flowers, former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, will join the management team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Thompson, who at ORNL will be Director of University Partnerships, served as principal advisor to Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the Ranking Member of the committee responsible for more than $850 billion in federal expenditures. His role included coordination among the President's Office of Management and Budget and the Senate and House leadership on the funding of federal departments and agencies.

Thompson received his Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi, where he also was awarded Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences. He holds an Executive Master's degree from the Georgetown University School of Business.

Thompson's role with the Mississippi delegation brought him on a number of occasions to ORNL as the Laboratory developed a variety of research relationships with Mississippi State University as well as other Mississippi universities and communities. His duties at Oak Ridge will include further development of the Laboratory's university research partnerships.

Flowers served from 2003 to 2007 as Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance for Governor Phil Bredesen. She supervised 800 employees and administered revenues of more than $400 million. Her responsibilities included the regulation of the insurance industry, the securities industry, and the array of boards that govern the state's licensed professionals. She also served as the State Fire Marshal.

A native of Monterey, Flowers previously worked as an attorney and an environmental compliance engineer at Y-12. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Tech, a Master's degree in Civil Engineering from McNeese State University, and a law degree from the University of Tennessee, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Flowers was a member of Governor Bredesen's cabinet during a period when the state of Tennessee expanded the relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, particularly through a closer partnership with the University of Tennessee. At ORNL she will serve as Manager of Independent Oversight. Her duties will include coordination of ORNL's risk management program and review of operational systems for the $1.3 billion Laboratory.

ORNL Director Thom Mason said the Laboratory "is fortunate to be able to recruit two such talented individuals" to Oak Ridge. "Blake and Paula deepen our bench in a variety of ways that will strengthen us in the years to come," Mason said.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.