Throughout National Engineers week, February 17-23, Pantex celebrated with internal and external engineering-focused activities. From engineers reaching out to students, to students showing off their skills to Pantexans, Engineers Week was a time to celebrate whether you’re an engineer or not.
Perhaps the most talked about Engineers Week event was the robotics demonstration by the Bushland Independent School District robotics team. Three Bushland teams, one each from elementary, middle school, and high school, showcased their latest robots in the John C. Drummond Center Cafeteria on February 19. Pantexans stopped by to talk with the budding engineers and see their robots in action.
“We’re happy and excited to show off what we do,” Christina Butler, robotics coordinator at Bushland, said. “Pantex gave us numerous grants to help us start the program up, which has been phenomenal.”
Since 2015, CNS has given $30,000 to Bushland Robotics. The sponsorship aims to give more STEM opportunities to students. Because of the program, Bushland participates in the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in Texas robotics competition — an advantage they do not waste. Their middle school and high school teams advanced to the state competition this year.
Supply Chain Management hosted a Partners in Excellence workshop at Pantex for construction contractors in specific trades needed to support future work. Representatives from 14 businesses attended the workshop.
Consolidated Nuclear Security employees shared information including opportunities; environment, safety and health; quality assurance; safeguards and security; and information protection to inform the participants on the requirements to perform work at each site. A comprehensive review of the request for proposal process, including terms and conditions and site requirements, was conducted to provide potential new bidders insight into how to submit a compliant proposal.
Cindy Morgan, director of Enterprise Business Management, said these workshops are an important form of outreach to the supply base. "Working with a government contractor and on a government site demands compliance with requirements beyond those seen in typical industrial environments," she said. "It’s vital for us to proactively share that information with the suppliers that can provide goods and services to support our mission."
Amarillo's women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM fields, encouraged the next generation at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day conference sponsored by Pantex and Region 16 Education Service Center Feb. 21.
Nearly 300 girls in grades 8-12 from area schools took part in interactive presentation booths designed to encourage their interest in engineering and other technical fields. Students also attended plenary sessions led by professionals from Pantex, Bell, Xcel Energy, and West Texas A&M University, who encouraged them to consider STEM curriculum in their future career choices.
Pantex Deputy Site Manager Corey Strickland, who spoke at the event, said, “It was so exciting to see so many young women interested in learning more about STEM curriculum. Due to the nature of our work, Pantex will always have a need for scientists, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, etc. Seeing them participate in tabletop exercises, discussing what studying within the STEM curricula would mean for their career, and listening to their questions during panel discussions made my confidence level soar knowing that these students have a heart for STEM.”
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, Pantex Women in Nuclear, Pantex Outreach and Leadership Organization, and Region 16 hosted the conference as part of a week-long celebration for National Engineers Week.
Pantex and the Y-12 National Security Complex were recently named veteran-friendly employers. The Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Veterans Commission honored Pantex with the distinction in 2018, and the Tennessee Veterans Business Association recognized Y-12 in January. Together, Pantex and Y-12 employ more than 1,800 veterans.
Veterans serve in a range of roles at the sites, everything from security police officers to machinists to weapons assembly/disassembly operators to engineers. “Working at Y-12 has allowed me to continue my service to the nation in a meaningful way,” said Tom Tress, who served as a helicopter mechanic in the Marine Corps and is now a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt working on process improvement initiatives at the site. “I believe strongly in our nuclear deterrence mission.”
Sherry Philyaw, retired senior chief petty officer who now manages infrastructure assessments and corrective actions at Pantex, finds continuity in her military and Pantex careers through the structure and formality of processes. “To assure the dependability of every single one of our products, we have to follow procedures and policies, just like in the Navy,” she said. “We check and double check everything. Our customer has to know without a doubt that the product we deliver will be exactly what they are expecting.”
In addition to veterans, Pantex and Y-12 employ active-duty Reserve and National Guardsmen and women who are often deployed on tours of duty around the world.
“Military service builds skills that are very valuable to employers,” said Heather Freeman, Pantex Human Resources site manager. “Veterans have training in leadership, teamwork, loyalty, decision making, and technical skills. They have real-life experience, work well under pressure, are responsible, have a strong work ethic, and can interact with a variety of people. It is a great investment for both employers and those who have served our country.”
Moreover, since July 2014, Consolidated Nuclear Security, the managing contractor of Pantex and Y-12, has awarded veteran-owned small businesses nearly $184 million in contracts and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses more than $81 million. Those contracts represent more than 200 veteran-owned small businesses and about 100 service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.
January is National Blood Donor Month. In 2018, Pantexans donated more than 475 units of blood to the @Coffee Memorial Blood Center. Pantex has hosted the bloodmobile approximately every two weeks since the 1960s.