Pantex’s new firetrucks await duty
Very soon after the John C. Drummond center opened in 2018, Pantex got a new firetruck, the only one of its kind in the U.S. and only second worldwide at the time. It was designed to take a rescue crew up over the ledge of the roof of the JCDC and then articulate back down to the roof to assist in rescues. Now, the Pantex Fire Department is again adding to its growing fleet with three new unique trucks being brought into the fold.
The new trucks are each designed for different response capabilities. They provide Pantex firefighters with reliable vehicles to put out fires, make rescues, mitigate hazardous material releases, and save lives on plant site while helping our mutual aid partners.
First, a traditional structure fire engine, is replacing one that’s more than 25 years old. It is a multipurpose vehicle with firefighting and rescue capabilities related to fires and motor vehicle accidents.
The second unit eliminates a truck almost 30 years old and will be used for heavy rescue and major motor vehicle accidents, along with rescues with extreme angle elevations, towers, trench rescues, and a building collapse. It will be used for highway rescue operations on major roads as well as the county roads in Carson, Potter, and Armstrong Counties.
Finally, the third is a hazardous materials unit, designed to replace a heavy rescue unit from 1986, which was re-purposed in 2003 for hazardous material. This unit will respond to hazmat releases and spills as its primary function to define chemicals including the stop, release, and isolation of the substance. It will have the capability to carry level A and B hazmat suits and equipment for decontamination of firefighters and patients.
The new hazardous materials truck
According to Daniel Gleaves, Pantex Emergency Services Senior Director, “The addition of these new fire apparatus significantly enhances responder safety and response capability for both the site and the surround community, which will in return prevent injuries to our Firefighters and potentially save lives both on and off site.”
The ergonomic designs, and new unit’s safety features inside the passenger compartment area, chevron reflectors, and LED lights will help keep Pantex Firefighters safer when they are responding to emergencies in these new vehicles, too.
“These trucks allow us to provide modern vehicles that incorporate the best features for providing service to the community and safety for our personnel. The design of the trucks allows us to provide better, more efficient service to the plant and our mutual aid partners,” added Pantex Fire Chief Mike Brock.
With the addition of the new apparatus and on-board life-saving equipment, the Pantex Fire Department offers dependable response capabilities for years to come with reduced maintenance costs due to new design and parts availability. The new firetrucks also help fulfill our mutual aid agreement with nearby towns and cities to respond and assist when requested to do so.
Building 12-106 in process of demolition at Pantex.
More than ever before, the landscape of Pantex and Y-12 is changing. In FY 2020 alone, 46 infrastructure projects were completed, and an impressive 21 facilities (11 at Pantex and 10 at Y-12) were demolished.
Diane McDaniel, senior director for Excess Facilities Disposition, has challenged the disposition team with a stretch goal to achieve 100 total demolitions within the years of FY 2015 and FY 2021.
“The disposition team is made up of approximately 50 individual contributors representing all organizations at Y-12 and Pantex. These team members, along with an outstanding subcontractor community and the NNSA Production Office, are the key to the program’s success. Because of their dedication and focus, the CNS disposition program is held up as the example for the other NNSA sites across the country,” McDaniel said.
CNS teams worked diligently to meet their FY 2020 goals during the COVID-019 mission critical operations so that they would be ready to hit the ground running to accomplish as much as possible within the safety envelope when they returned to the site.
“We have never attempted, much less achieved, that many dispositions and square footage of almost 30,000 square feet this year at Pantex,” said Pantex Excess Facility Disposition Program Manager Jennifer Simms. “We continue to achieve more facilities and square feet every single year. We are really ramping up and changing the landscape of the site one demo at a time.”
“Demolitions are important to reduce the site footprint and eliminate facilities that present significant hazards. We have to remove the old to make way for new mission essential facilities,” said Y-12 Excess Facility Disposition Program Manager Kevin Bradford.
“Because we are reducing the footprint with demos, it gives us the opportunity to work with NNSA to obtain the funding needed for new facilities,” said Laura Fox, Pantex Projects Management. “These new facilities will provide greatly improved working conditions for our personnel, as well as provide greater reliability of facility systems.”
Planning for demolition starts no less than two years before the building is actually torn down. Many times, characterization of hazards within and around the facility, location and condition of utilities, and other factors must be known ahead of even starting the drawings that must be produced and provided to contractors for bid.
“Taking down old facilities is always challenging,” Fox said. “Many times, the drawings from when these facilities were constructed are either not available or are unreliable.”
She said it is truly a team effort between organizations including Projects, Procurement, Engineering, Construction Management, and the contractor who work hand in hand to overcome issues and get these buildings down.
New behind the scenes challenges for FY 2021 demolitions are already being reviewed for another 21 planned demolitions next year and more than 25 in FY 2023.
Congratulations to Pantexans Jeremy Baker and Kim Bush who were recognized by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce as members of the 2020 Top 20 Under 40.
The award is given annually to area early career professionals who demonstrate professional excellence and bring value to the Amarillo business community.
Baker has been at Pantex almost 13 years and is currently the C-Shift captain for the Pantex Fire Department.
He graduated from Caprock High School and has Associate of Applied Science degrees in Paramedicine and Fire Protection Technology from Amarillo College. He also graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in Fire and EMS Administration from Eastern New Mexico University.
Baker holds a number of certifications in addition to Paramedic and Firefighter including Texas Infection Control Officer, American Heart Association Life Support Instructor, and Texas Commission of Fire Hazmat Tech.
In his free time, Baker teaches American Heart Association courses, works part-time as faculty for the Amarillo College Emergency Medical Services Professionals program, and works part-time as a paramedic for Amarillo Medical Services.
Baker is married and has two children.
Bush has worked at Pantex for 13 years and is currently a Materials Engineering manager. She has held many roles at Pantex and worked her way up from an entry-level scientist. She has worked as a process engineer, scientist, and Safety Analysis Engineering analyst. Other contributions include work in such departments as Manufacturing, Environmental Stewardship (NEPA and Air Quality), Tooling and Machine Design, and Explosives Technology.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Biology, master’s degree in Environmental Science, and is pursuing a doctorate in Systems and Engineering Management.
While at Pantex, Bush has been part of a group that received an NA-50 award this year.
In her free time, Bush volunteers as the committee chair for Pack 301 with the Boy Scouts, soccer coach for Kids, Inc., and a volunteer Sunday school teacher for Polk Street United Methodist Church where she is a member. When time allows, she volunteers at the High Plains Food Bank and Snack Pak 4 Kids.
Bush is married and has two children.
To be eligible for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Top 20 under 40 Award, the candidates must be employed in the area for at least three years and in the same field during that time, though not necessarily at the same businesses. Winners were selected by judges who reviewed nominations and picked the top 20 award winners as up-and-coming Amarillo professionals who are standouts in their professions.
Facility will replace 15 obsolete facilities at Pantex with average age of 68 years
AMARILLO, Texas – On Dec. 8, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) marked an infrastructure modernization milestone with an internal groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the High Explosive Science and Engineering (HESE) facility at the Pantex Plant.
Read full press release on the NNSA website.
Pantex summer intern Hector Rivero-Figueroa, left, works on a compressor air filter design with coworker Clint Hanes. Social distancing and face coverings were the norm during internship 2020.
In a typical April, interns would be finalizing travel and living arrangements for their anticipated summer internships. But in 2020, COVID-19 created pandemonium, and many interns across the country were disappointed when many companies canceled internships. CNS Human Resources and the executive leadership team wanted to make CNS's program happen, so HR enlisted help from multiple organizations, including Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Services; Communications; Performance Excellence, and Information Solutions and Services.
Cristy Landrum, intern program lead, and Recruiting & Placement’s Amy Moran stepped into motion.
“We worked with CNS leadership to establish guidelines and processes on how to proceed with our original start date of June 1,” Landrum said. “We wanted to allow time to onboard remotely and to telework until site conditions allowed for safe work on site.”
CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Michelle Reichert said, “Interns are our future workforce. We wanted to offer them the experience they had signed up for and accepted, and our team went to work to make it happen. We knew we might not be able to offer a 100% in person internship, but we knew we had the resources, creativity, and tenacity to make it the best it could be, considering the circumstances. The result allowed students to see how CNS thinks outside the box to make the undoable doable.”
The teamwork involved with this year’s program led to success.
Landrum said, “Nothing stops the CNS team from working towards the mission. We don’t buckle under pressure, and we don’t throw in the towel when times get tough. We strive for excellence, and we work together to quickly find ways to meet our goals.”
Interns leave contributions
As Pantexans and Y-12ers for the summer, the 2020 interns made valuable contributions to the CNS mission in the Development, Engineering, Operations, Security, Supply Chain Management, and Information Solutions and Services Departments. Before they left, 19 interns were even offered an opportunity to continue their CNS careers as full-time employees.
Despite changes brought by COVID-19, CNS honored its commitment to providing educational development opportunities for the 40 students this summer as a part of the CNS Internship Program. In a modified program, the 16 interns at Pantex and 24 interns at Y-12 experienced the sites, virtually and in-person.
Pantex’s Paul Mendez and Mike Hight from Personnel Security were just two who assisted in finding the solution. The team had a quick turnaround time, because the final decision to go virtual was made less than a month before the start date.
“We had some obstacles,” Mendez said. “There was short notice for almost every aspect from processing Clearance Action Requests to identification verification. Personnel Security assisted with reviewing and processing Clearance Action Requests, and we provided the required briefing and ensured appropriate access was set up.”
Hight said, “The hardest part was the short notice to process interns, and the need to stay flexible in processing them - it took some specialized effort to determine their status and work them in with all the other onboarding actions we conduct.”
Next was making a traditional program a virtual one. Landrum said, “This was my first year as the lead over the internship program, so implementing the program was a challenge, then when you throw in COVID-19, it made it even more challenging. I knew I needed to get others on board.”
That’s when Jessica Dawes and Alex Moore came into play and helped build a knowledge library, which became a partnership with others within the Nuclear Security Enterprise.
“The NSE Internship Library was established to allow interns joining the NSE in 2020 to have content about the sites and the NNSA mission,” Moore said.
Dawes added, “The library is composed of virtual content to assist interns in developing a better understanding of roles and responsibilities of the organizations within the NNSA, as well as illustrate how integrated the organizations are in order to achieve the NNSA mission.”
Currently, the knowledge library is with NNSA Public Affairs to be published online. “The NSE workforce team, made up of employees from various NSE organizations, emailed the material to their sites’ interns,” Moran said. “We paired the material, which consisted of a lot of website links, with a planned event - the NSE Virtual Intern Panel. The event was a success with seven panelists from across the enterprise and 177 participants (interns) all learning about the work across the NSE and how they can contribute to our mission.”
Last, but not least, was determining how to share on the job training, so Landrum and Moran asked Performance Excellence’s Training Compliance & Delivery to join the effort. Within a few weeks, the team had General Employee Training ready to teach virtually through WebEx. Once required training was completed, Christine Shawhan (Six Sigma) and others from PE developed a schedule for Enrichment Series classes that the interns attended virtually.
“We offered information on how to write a business case, how to facilitate a virtual meeting, and shared various Lean Six Sigma tools,” Shawhan said. “Amy and Cristy then recommended having the CNS Affinity Groups share with the interns, so they could learn about future possibilities. Teamwork makes the dream work. Seems silly to say, but it really does!”
So at the end of the 10 week internship, the 40 interns for 2020 left with a robust amount of information from a program that wasn’t sure it would even happen.
“It really ended as a win-win project,” Moran said. “One intern told me before she left Pantex that the lessons taught in the [Enrichment Series] meetings would not have come up in a typical college education. She said she was able to learn how to be a competent professional before graduating with her degree.”
Landrum said, “Change is inevitable, but we will support the mission. You simply adapt and react. By continuing the internship program, it taught the students that turmoil doesn’t stop CNS from working towards supporting the mission.”
Pantex summer intern Drew Rowlands (center) checks a pump station system with coworkers Jonathan Burkhead (left), Ronnie Anderle (black shirt), and Colton Mooney (right).