Pantex Blog

CNS-developed software streamlines readiness reviews, aids small business

Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2023 - 16:14

Every day, employees at Y-12 National Security Complex solve problems in the course of serving the national security mission
Every day, employees at Y-12 National Security Complex solve problems in the course of serving the national security mission. In the course of this work, some technologies are developed that may have broader utility and impact in the private sector.

In some cases, CNS is able to grant a technology license to private businesses, as was recently the case with Weatherly Consulting, LLC, a small, woman-owned business. Weatherly Consulting now has a copyright license for Y-12’s Readiness Certification Assurance Tracking Software (RCAPTS). The software, which was developed by Y-12 program manager John Raulston and subcontractor Garrett Cook, will help streamline the readiness review process for Weatherly Consulting’s customers.

Software streamlines complex processes

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requires a disciplined, systematic, documented, performance-based examination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and management control systems. This review ensures a facility can be operated safely and provides the basis for DOE to direct startup or restart of the facility, activity, or operation.

Navigating that requirement efficiently and effectively led Y-12 to develop RCAPTS as a web-based, multi-user tool that manages readiness projects, reviews, and associated activities. By managing workflows automatically and providing real-time status updates, the software assists users in completing readiness verification and certification as required by DOE orders.

Designed to eliminate or supplement paper-based administrative tasks, RCAPTS could also be used by software companies, engineering firms during construction and/or startup activities, and operating firms using complex processes in a highly regulated environment.

Big impact for small business

Weatherly Consulting is primarily focused on readiness verification in nuclear operations. The business was established in 2008 by Janet Weatherly, Owner and Principal. Licensing RCAPTS will streamline the core business, according to Weatherly.

“I am extremely excited about gaining access to the RCAPTS technology for my business and how it will help improve the readiness review process,” said Weatherly. “Being familiar with it already, it is definitely user friendly and can be used with very little training.”

There are several administrative requirements that must be documented before starting any review or assessment. The software automates this part of the process.

“It does everything for you,” said Weatherly. “You can sort by functional area, core requirements, and prerequisites—all within a minute. It cuts out so many steps.”

Transferring technology

CNS Technology Transfer actively manages and commercializes technologies that employees created and facilitates licensing those technologies to private companies to enhance the nation’s competitiveness.

Grant Allard, University and Industrial Partnerships program manager, agreed the software would create a complementary service for Weatherly Consulting and their approach to the overall readiness review process.

“The RCAPTS software puts all of the readiness data at the user’s fingertips,” said Allard. “It allows for faster, more reliable decisions and reviews on projects in real-time, and reduces cost. Working with a small business to transfer this one-of-a-kind technology for commercial use has been especially gratifying.”

The CNS team was able to guide Weatherly through the copyright-license process so that she could begin utilizing the software.

“I definitely recommend business owners collaborate with CNS on useful technology and software for their business,” said Weatherly. “They make the process so easy.”

I am mission success: Richard Tighe

Posted: Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 07:58

Consolidated Nuclear Security President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Tighe
Consolidated Nuclear Security President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Tighe.

Take 5 minutes and learn about Consolidated Nuclear Security’s Richard Tighe, president and chief executive officer. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Tighe and his younger brother Jim played high school football for a legendary Iowa coach — their father Dick Tighe, whose career included more than 400 wins during 63 uninterrupted seasons.

Teamwork and football were familiar themes in the Tighe (pronounced “tie”) household in Webster City, Iowa. That “Friday night lights” culture of the small Midwestern town helped shape Tighe’s leadership philosophy.

“Everybody plays a part on the team,” he said. “In football, you might have to wait until your senior year to play, but the contributions you make to the team while you wait your turn are important.”

In his first few months as president and CEO, Tighe has been busy meeting National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Production Office and CNS leadership teams; local, state, and national elected officials representing the West Texas and East Tennessee areas; NNSA leadership; and site and laboratory directors from across the Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Tighe is taking advantage of the extensive knowledge of the CNS team.

“There is tremendous knowledge and experience at both sites; by working to be inclusive, I’m able to use this to the best advantage in informing decisions,” he said. “I’m new to CNS, but even the most experienced person at Pantex or Y-12 can’t be an expert in all aspects of our work or the sites. Getting input from other people helps all of us take advantage of the full expertise available.”

Before joining CNS, Tighe served in roles with Bechtel and Lockheed Martin, and he is no stranger to the Nuclear Security Enterprise, having spent more than a decade at the Nevada National Security Site. Tighe was also a postdoctoral fellow in the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California.

“Coming back to NNSA is like coming back to my roots,” he said. “It takes me back to my foundation in nuclear physics, which helps me understand the mission of both sites and how it fits into the broader Nuclear Security Enterprise.”

What daily task lets you know you’re helping achieve the CNS mission? How/why does that task let you know you’re working toward the mission?
No two days have been the same, so far. Meeting and talking to employees during tours and all hands meetings helps me to put their work in the context of the bigger picture of our mission.

How does patriotism factor into your life?
Patriotism becomes most meaningful to me when I think of the role the U.S. plays with our allies and adversaries around the world. It’s rewarding to be involved with such an important purpose and mission.

What one thing would your coworkers be surprised to know about you?
When I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, I was the lead investigator for the work involved in the discovery of Sb 105 (antimony 105), a nuclear isotope along the proton drip line that has implications for nucleosynthesis. I proposed and planned the experiment, analyzed the data, and wrote the journal article.

What’s your favorite outside of work activity?
When we lived in Maryland, my daughters were involved in high school sports and also played on travel teams. My wife and I enjoyed traveling to their games and tournaments. My daughters and I had a tradition of running in a Turkey Trot every Thanksgiving. While I seldom run in 5Ks or other races these days, I typically run four times each week. I also really enjoy watching college football, particularly watching and attending Notre Dame games.

Betty’s “boop” provides safety, security for Pantex engineer

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 12:51

Pantexan Claire Streeter is open to educating people about Type 1 diabetes and service dogs like her standard poodle, Betty.
Pantexan Claire Streeter is open to educating people about Type 1 diabetes and service dogs like her standard poodle, Betty.

Pantex safety analysis engineer Claire Streeter has her own emergency alert system: A white standard poodle named Betty. Betty is a full-time service dog with a vital mission: Keep her person safe.

“Her job is truly just to monitor my blood sugar levels for my diabetes. She’s trained to boop her nose on my leg to get my attention,” said Streeter.

When Betty “boops,” Streeter puts a hand in front of Betty’s nose for a reading. Betty pushes Streeter’s hand up to indicate high blood sugar levels and down for low levels. Without this vital notification, Streeter could pass out or experience long-term damage to soft tissues.

“I have a lot of monitors that I wear, and she’s faster than my monitors,” said Streeter. “Not only is she faster, she’s more accurate. She runs about 90–95% accurate while the pumps and meters run about 70–80% accurate.”

Streeter is open about sharing her disability and talking about Betty’s role in her life. After all, she said, it is hard to conceal a large white standard poodle on campus.

“I want to be open about educating people in the plant both about Type 1 diabetes and service dogs,” Streeter said. “I think there are a lot of misconceptions about service dogs: how to obtain them, what they do, even the cost of obtaining one, and people are also curious about what they do – for example, people are always fascinated that she can tell me what my blood sugar is. She has a much bigger purpose and a higher responsibility – she is a much more highly trained dog than many people expect.”

“I feel it’s a helpful metric for the company to identify places where they could make things more accessible in an able-bodied world. As a company, you think of the obvious, like ramps and elevators, but you wouldn’t necessarily think to have doors set up differently so a dog could go through. It’s important to recognize who’s working for you and why some of those things might be a beneficial change,” she said.

Betty goes everywhere with Streeter: trains, planes, buses, boats, cars, and even bars.

“We went to Chicago for St. Patty’s day, and she was in the bars with me. She came out green, but she went in and she did her job,” Streeter said.

No matter where Betty is— deep in dreams on the floor of Streeter’s work area, or wide awake and keeping a close eye on Streeter’s nighttime panic button in case it needs vigorously booped— Betty’s highest role is making sure Streeter can do anything she wants to do.

“She’s a medical device in the form of a big white fluffy dog with attitude that just happens to be at the end of my arm. I see her as an attachment of my arm. So, a lot of times when I walk into the room, I don’t think people are going to look at me and think I’m disabled,” Streeter said. “I don’t think it defines me or my job. I want people to look at me and think I’m just as capable of doing any job whether I have a dog or not. It was a big step to decide to have such a visible sign that I have a disability, but I’m going to own it.”

I am mission success: Chris Ickles

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - 12:03

Chris Ickles, deputy chief information security officer at Pantex
Meet Chris Ickles, deputy chief information security officer at Pantex, who plays a key role in the security and strategic defense of our network and systems.

All views and opinions are the employee’s and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

While cybersecurity is frequently regarded as the act of protecting a network of information and systems from theft or damage, a key element of its definition and study is acknowledging how people factor into its defense and practice.

Many information theft cases are a result of human error due to negligence or lack of cybersecurity awareness. It’s important to recognize the impact we all have in safekeeping our technology.

As a key expert, leader, and direct support to the site, Pantex’s Chris Ickles is integral to the strategic development and operations of CNS's Cybersecurity programs.

By ensuring that our interconnected network of information, systems, and people are protected in the digital landscape, Ickles focuses on CNS's daily cybersecurity defense posture in analyzing risk balanced security measures and forming strategies against cyber threats.

What daily task lets you know you are helping achieve the CNS mission?
Cybersecurity is multifaceted. It has a primary responsibility to protect and defend our systems and our data. This precipitates actions across the entire enterprise that begin with security awareness, training, policies, procedures, requirements, testing, verification, and validation of all systems and users that support our mission.

Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.
My professional background originates in networking. It started while working in public school systems with a passion for technology. As far as doing what I envisioned for myself as a young adult, no. I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in science and majored in chemistry and biology with a minor in math, but I was hooked on computers by the time I graduated. This quickly became my passion.

What CNS principle drives you to be successful?
My drive comes from the principle of continuous improvement. This mindset involves personal knowledge and skill growth as well as system improvements. We all benefit from a learning environment both at work and at home. Sometimes we teach and sometimes we learn. We need to expect daily opportunities for both.

What work advice would you offer someone who is starting work at Pantex?
Fully comprehend the job they are hired to do (e.g., role, responsibility, work result, impacts of success). Your professional approach to your work is important to our mission and impacts the nation.

What one thing would your coworkers be surprised to know about you?
I taught high school chemistry three years prior to entering IT and networking.

I am Mission Success: DeRema Dalton

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 10:46

DeRema Dalton, special tooling planner scheduler at Pantex

Take five minutes and learn about CNS's DeRema Dalton, special tooling planner scheduler at Pantex. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Patriotism and the passion to fulfill the mission tasked to Pantex run in DeRema Dalton’s blood — as it has for generations of family before her.

She has worked at the plant for 28 years, the third generation of a family that has sacrificed to support this important mission since Pantex was formed.

“As the country was experiencing the Great Depression and my grandparents’ farm was failing due to drought conditions, my grandpa — Roy Hyatt — moved himself from Wellington, Texas, to Amarillo,” Dalton said. “He came to work at Pantex in 1942.”

His son — Dalton’s father, Charles — joined in 1969 as an assembly operator (now known as a production technician).

“I’m very proud of the services and sacrifices they put into their work at Pantex,” Dalton said. “Grandpa helped build this place, and my dad assembled weapons. What an honor, knowing the wars we were going through during those eras and how my grandpa and dad helped protect this country.”

Dalton’s late husband, Wendel, began working at the plant in 1972. He served most of his career as a firefighter, sacrificing many Christmas Days to ensure the plant’s safety, but also becoming a first-rate cook. (“Those guys in the fire department can cook!” she says.)

Dalton began working in 1994 as a subcontractor clerk and served in several departments before finding a home in the planning department in 2001. She works to ensure that her assigned programs run smoothly, which requires intense coordination with her team.

“My daddy walked these same hallways,” Dalton said. “It makes me feel really proud. We’ve all made our sacrifices for working out here, and I’m not far behind them. It happens, and that’s what we do. We make sure our country is safe and our freedoms are still here.

“I’m very serious when I talk about my patriotism and how proud I am of my family working out here,” she said. “It means everything to me.”

How does patriotism factor into your life?
My uncle served in World War II and my cousin in Vietnam. My patriotism runs deep, and I am very proud of the service they gave our country.

I am very proud of what we (as Pantexans) are doing to make our country safe.

I have buried family and friends—I miss them with all my heart—but one thing I know: What they did in their lifetime meant something. As my kids always said, “they protected us from the bad guys.”

So, here’s a piece of advice: Hug your loved ones (including coworkers) every day and often. What we do at Pantex means something and needs to be recognized as heroic.

What is your favorite aspect about your work environment?
How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met? In the beginning of my career, just the overall feeling of pride was everywhere. You just knew that you were a part of protecting our country and our future.

As an employee, what do you want to be remembered for?
I want people to remember me as hardworking, fun, loving to be around, honest, and truthful.

What work advice would you offer someone who is new?
Listen to the old-timers. We know what we’re talking about.

Never try to sugarcoat the truth. Be straight up. Truth sometimes hurts, but your reputation grows from that, and people know who they can trust.

What’s your top bucket list item and why?
To travel to Israel. I want to walk the streets where Jesus walked and feel that presence in my soul.