I am mission success: Bill Tindal
Learn something new about Bill Tindal, CNS’s chief operating officer.
Take 5 minutes and learn more about Bill Tindal, CNS’s chief operating officer.
When Bill Tindal joined Y-12 in 1995, being the chief operating officer for the management and operating contractor that now manages two sites and has about 10,000 employees didn’t even cross his mind.
“There are many times I thought I had reached the pinnacle of my career,” Tindal said. “When I look back on my roles, I would have been happy with several of those being my top stop — being the production manager of Building 9212 or being the vice president of production.”
During his 25 years, he’s grown along the way and keeps those lessons learned close at hand. “I think with each role I’ve had, I understand a little more that we all have important work to do. In my early days, I always thought the most important work being done on site was what I was doing, but then as I learned about the amazing work being done in other areas and organizations, I began to see how each role contributes a piece to the puzzle. I realized I was playing a small role in a much bigger picture.”
This sentiment — that every one of us has a role that contributes to the national security mission — is something Tindal has always been vocal about and something he wants everyone to appreciate.
“Through my experience, I have learned there are no unimportant jobs at either site. They are all important,” he said. “If one doesn’t work properly, it affects another group, which affects another, and so on. Pantex and Y-12 are part of an even larger whole, and we all have to do our part for the Nuclear Security Enterprise to be successful.”
Tindal said we often feel as if our piece is the most important part, but without all sites within the NSE working together, we wouldn’t accomplish the National Nuclear Security Administration’s goals.
“Asking for help and recognizing I don’t have all the answers is important,” Tindal said. “There are a lot of great people at Pantex and Y-12. Be humble, and ask for help when you don’t understand. If you really care about mission success, you have to stop and make sure you understand what people mean, especially when going into a new position.”
As COO, Tindal now travels to Pantex and has learned (and continues to learn) more about its missions and people.
“One thing that is different is each site’s lingo, but I’m improving,” he said. “One constant at both sites is the quality of the people. All are passionate and willing to help. Pantexans have the same passion and interaction that Y-12 employees have. I’ve always felt at home at either site.”
What advice would you give to your 1995, new hire, self?
What may feel like an immense challenge is really an opportunity to gain experience. Challenges (readiness reviews, frustrations with equipment) may be frustrating, but recognize that doing the right thing is rarely the easiest path.
What advice would you offer to someone who is starting their career?
Don’t be afraid to ask why. Ask why and how your job fits into mission success.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Each bad day turns out to be something we learn from. In my office, I have a bookshelf where I have mementos that remind me of lessons learned from risks or challenges we’ve faced. One of those items is a piece of quartz glass that was part of the first microwave project. We learned several things during that project, and the trinkets on my shelf remind me of the good and bad days.
What’s your top bucket list item and why?
When I retire and COVID is behind us, my wife and I want to complete the Great Loop. We hope to take a year to complete the 6,000-mile continuous boat route of connected waterways that allow you to boat completely around the eastern United States, starting in Tennessee.