I am mission success: Tony Biggs

  • Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2023, 3:03 pm

Meet Tony Biggs, Pantex Environmental Projects manager, who has more than 30 years of service and has seen a variety of successes during his time as a Pantexan.
Meet Tony Biggs, Pantex Environmental Projects manager, who has more than 30 years of service and has seen a variety of successes during his time as a Pantexan.

Take 5 minutes and learn about CNS’s Tony Biggs, Pantex Environmental Projects manager. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

It’s not that uncommon to find Pantex coworkers who have multiple decades of service along with low badge numbers. In case you don’t know him, please meet Tony Biggs with 34 years of service, badge in the 9000 range, and the current title of manager of environmental projects — not too shabby for a one‑time unemployed scientist.

“I was an out‑of‑work petroleum geologist when offered the job at Pantex,” recalled Biggs. “However, instead of chasing subsurface oil deposits, I ended up chasing contamination deposits in the soils and groundwater.”

For years as department manager, Biggs has led environmental projects, including finding innovative ways to remediate environmental concerns.

“Our staff oversees environmental construction projects, maintains and operates remediation systems, samples environmental media, and oversees contract laboratories analyzing our samples. All of this work is to address the environmental contamination resulting from legacy wastes of the Cold War era.”

Two of Biggs’ most memorable projects focused on soil cleanup both on‑site and to the southeast of Pantex.

“Back in the mid‑1990s, I managed a project to identify and clean up soil contamination in ditches by collecting the samples with a drilling rig, analyzing the samples within a couple of days using a mobile on‑site lab, determining what soil needed to be removed, and excavating and shipping the contaminated soil for disposal. It was quite a show. The prime subcontractor had talked to a couple of transportation companies, and there was a miscommunication. Both transportation companies thought they had the job and sent dump trucks. There must have been more than 50 parked down 15th Street waiting to go to work. The trucks were lined up from the traffic light and around the bend toward Building 12‑103. That was quite a sight,” recalled Biggs.

The more recent project centered on the cleanup technology known as bioremediation, removing legacy contaminants that had moved offsite to the southeast, transported within the flow of the groundwater.

“We inject locally sourced molasses down 300 feet into the perched groundwater to feed naturally occurring bacteria. As the contaminated groundwater moves through the wall of bacteria, the contaminants are broken down until the groundwater is clean. Back in the mid‑2000s when Pantex was installing the bioremediation wells, this was cutting‑edge technology, and Pantex was on forefront,” he said. “I believe Pantex has the largest bioremediation system of all the sites within the DOE complex.”

But as they say, “all good things,” and after deciding to push back retirement another year, 2023 will be Biggs’s last as a Pantexan.

“My parting advice? Be sure to ‘stop and smell the roses,’” Biggs recommends. “We can get so tied up in meeting schedules, accomplishing work scope, and completing our deliverables that we can fail to see what we have accomplished. We’ve done some cool stuff!”

Why are you mission success? “Managing an incredible group of people that performs the cleanup requirements of Pantex’s state and federal permits and allows the operations at the Plant to continue.”

Describe how your career compares or contrasts to your expectations. “Since college, I knew I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk 24/7. Early in my career, most of my work was outdoors; now most is indoors, so it’s been a nice mix. I couldn’t have asked for a better job!”

What is the greatest strength you bring to your organization? “I had a supervisor once say, ‘My job is to remove the roadblocks so you can perform your job.’ I think I’m doing that for my staff. They are really talented and get the job done.”

As an employee, how do you want to be remembered? “Being fair to my coworkers and staff; my humor — I enjoy injecting humor into meetings and discussions; and the work my group has accomplished cleaning up the environment.”

What would your coworkers be most surprised to learn about you as you plan for retirement? In the past, I enjoyed making my own beer, and when I retire I plan to do more of that. I also used to make my own biodiesel and drive an old Mercedes to work. For retirement, I’ve got to get a camper so my wife and I can go to the National Parks.