Pantexans again hit the road Friday, December 7, to raise awareness about hunger in the Texas Panhandle during the second Pantex Run Against Hunger. Byron Logan, an officer from the Pantex Safeguards and Security Division, escorted by four coworkers and a Bearcat armored vehicle, made a 40-mile bicycle ride from Pantex to Panhandle schools and then to Highland Park schools. While at the schools, the Pantexans encouraged the students to support their schools’ food drives and the importance of giving to those who are in need. The students then had an opportunity to explore the Bearcat.
At Highland Park schools, four Pantexans took to the road for a 20-mile run to the High Plains Food Bank’s food drive collection center in Amarillo. Other Pantexans and family members joined them along the route. A group of Pantexans meet the runners at the food drive finish line, where they presented a $4,300 check to the food bank. The donation was from Pantex employees to support the runners.
The Pantex runners were Logan, Randy Stokes, Cliff Cawthon and Sherry Philyaw. Darla Fish joined them for the last five miles of the run.
“We wanted to do something to help people in our community who are struggling,” Logan said. “We run long distances, and we wanted to use that skill to raise awareness about hunger in our area.”
B&W Pantex was honored for its charitable giving last week during National Philanthropy Day ceremonies in Amarillo.
On behalf of the company, B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery received the Outstanding Business/Corporation Award from the Texas Plains Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
The award pointed out the generous support of Pantexans for the Coffee Memorial Blood Center, which held a total of 24 blood drives at the plant and collected more than 750 units of blood last year. Pantex was also singled out for support of the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon, High Plains Food Bank, Family Support Services, the Discovery Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters and several other agencies.
A new American Quarter Horse sculpture is now on display at Pantex outside Building 16-12, a first stop for visitors. The horse is a unifying symbol within the community, and horses with various designs are on display across Amarillo at banks, restaurants, civic organizations, hospitals, factories, schools and retail stores.
The Plant's 125-pound fiberglass American Quarter Horse sculpture was painted by artist Gary Ward and features a rendering of the American flag, an eagle, and wind turbines. It was purchased from Amarillo Center City as part of its Hoof Prints project, which began in 2002 to provide eye-catching landmarks. Proceeds benefit Center City, an organization that works to enhance downtown Amarillo.
Five Pantex volunteers recently partnered with Girl Scouts to put on a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) workshop for elementary-aged girls and assisted the Girl Scouts with their STEM-based activities.
Savannah Gates, a Pantex volunteer, said she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with the Girl Scouts in hopes of being one of the rippling sources for the younger generation of girls.
"It felt so right being surrounded by the women working effortlessly to shape, guide and enable the next generation of young women in to the strong female figures of tomorrow." she said.
Kathi Schutz, Amarillo Area Director for the Girl Scouts, said she was grateful that the women engineers came on the day the Girl Scouts were focused on engineering.
"They made the activities for the girls special just with their insight and passion for their profession." said Schutz. "This group of women spent one afternoon with girls and just by being your professional role models, influenced so many girls in a profound way."
Wind farm will fuel plant, foster research
Author Laura Ingalls Wilder said, “If enough people think of a thing and work hard enough at it, I guess it’s pretty nearly bound to happen, wind and weather permitting.” Soon, hard work, dedication and determination to do the right thing will make harnessing the Texas wind for energy a reality at Pantex.
For three years, the Pantex Site Office, now part of the NNSA Production Office, scaled such hurdles as funding, contracting strategy and Federal Aviation Administration approval to build a wind farm at the Plant, which is in a Class 4 wind zone. Explained Johnnie Guelker, assistant manager for Environmental and Site Engineering Programs, “I went into this project with at least five alternate plans to get this done. We are executing Plan E, and it will happen now.”
The Pantex wind farm, a first in the NNSA enterprise, will consist of five two- to three-megawatt turbines on 1,500 acres of government-owned property east of the Plant. A request for proposals is expected to be released this summer. The winning private energy company will enter into a 25-year contract with the NNSA and make an initial investment of $25 million.
The farm will generate approximately 10 to 15 megawatts of energy daily, though fueling Pantex requires only seven megawatts. The excess energy will be sent to the power grid for local provider, Excel Energy. Pantex will benefit from its sale, but at a reduced rate from what the Plant might spend to purchase the energy, according to Guelker.
Energy savings from the wind farm is estimated at $2.5 million annually, and the project will enable Pantex to meet the President’s energy initiatives for green energy. In fact, according to Guelker, the wind farm at Pantex will allow NNSA to meet almost all of its renewable energy goals. The wind farm also offers unique research opportunities to longtime partner in education, Texas Tech University.
“The wind farm that will be constructed at the NNSA Pantex facility will be built on public lands. As such, Texas Tech University and its research collaborators will have unprecedented access to a working, commercial-scale wind farm to study the turbine-to-turbine wake interactions across the full farm array. This working utility-scale wind farm will be the first such research facility in the nation,” said Jodey Arrington, vice chancellor for Research, Commercialization and Federal Relations at Texas Tech.
The Pantex wind farm is just the latest environmentally beneficial use of Plant land. Other uses include wildlife habitat and research, agricultural uses of non-industrial land such as crop activities and cattle grazing and archeological resource protection.
“Something worth having is worth all the effort it takes to get it done,” said Guelker. “This is the right thing for Pantex and it has substantial cost benefits. Bottom line, it is not easy to do but one must be persistent.”
The wind turbines, each 426 feet high, are expected to be constructed starting in the fall of 2012 and the farm operational in late spring or early summer of 2013.