I am Mission Success: Kristy McWilliams

  • Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2023, 2:07 pm

Kristy McWilliams, vice president of SS&ES
Take five minutes and learn about CNS's Kristy McWilliams, vice president of CNS Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Services (SS&ES). All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Kristy McWilliams has lived by the life maxim that you never know where life will take you.

“I never envisioned as a young adult that I would be in a leadership role working to protect the nation’s nuclear deterrent,” she said. “I encourage everyone to open their minds to trying new things and taking on new challenges.”

McWilliams was named the vice president of CNS Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Services (SS&ES) in December 2022, and prior to that, she served as the first female senior security director at Pantex.

McWilliams is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in accounting. In her current position, she serves as the senior leader over the SS&ES organizations for both Pantex and Y-12.

McWilliams started at Pantex in 2002 in the finance organization and was quickly matrixed over to the Safeguards and Security organization to serve as its financial analyst.

“While in this role, I was fortunate to have leaders and mentors within the security organization that provided me with opportunities to learn about the operational side of Security,” she said.

She then moved into various security positions including program manager, security group leader, deputy division manager, and division manager.

McWilliams’ advice to others is to take advantage of every opportunity given to you, regardless of what the opportunity might be.

“I have a sign in my office that simply states ‘work hard and be nice to others.’ That is the advice that I give to anyone,” she said. “You truly are a product of your experiences, good and bad. So embrace them, learn from them, and be willing to share them with others.”

What daily task (specific meeting, report, etc.) lets you know you’re helping achieve the CNS mission? How/why does that task let you know you’re working toward the mission?
Being able to witness, on a day-to-day basis, all of the hard work and dedication that members of the SS&ES organization exhibit. It is by their commitment that my organization is able to meet the mission each and every day, 24/7.

What is your favorite aspect about your work environment? How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met?
My favorite aspect about my work environment has to be the people. I am fortunate to work with a team full of security and emergency management/fire department professionals. They make the mission look easy and I am so proud to be a small part of the team.

What work advice would you offer someone who is new to Pantex or Y-12?
I would encourage them to really learn all that they can about the Pantex and/or Y-12 mission. I would also encourage them, every now and then, to stop and really think about how important they are to global security. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day duties of our jobs, so I would recommend that they reflect on the fact that they are one of a very few people in the world do what we do at Pantex and Y-12. It doesn’t matter what role they play at either site; they are contributing to the very important mission for our nation.

What’s your top bucket list item and why?
I don’t really do bucket lists…. maybe I should, but I have lived my life without a lot of pre-planning. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, but so far it seems to have worked for me.