Pantex Blog

Pantexan recognized with EFCOG award

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - 10:08

Kimbel Leffew with Pantex Contractor Assurance is a member of the Human Performance Improvement Working Group team that was awarded the HPI Team Award by the Energy Facilities Contractor Operating Group at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Chris Clark, Leffew’s manager, said, “As a fairly new manager in the Contractor Assurance organization, Kimbel has been a quick study of the complex processes and tools we use. With her outstanding contacts across the nuclear enterprise, she reaches out on a regular basis to benchmark other organizations as well as offer benchmark-quality ideas emanating from our two plants.”

Leffew and Chuck Ramsey (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) accepted the award on behalf of their team. The team was recognized for exceptional performance by a group who was instrumental in addressing a key EFCOG issue. The HPI Working Group turned around its team and provided members products that add value, such as a template for building an HPI strategic plan, an HPI business plan, and HPI assessment tools.

This award also recognizes the team’s contributions to the design and implementation of the HPI curriculum with the creation of the HPI Fundamentals and HPI Lead Practitioner Training Courses under the Performance and Reliability Program in DOE.

Human Performance Improvement Working Group team was awarded the HPI Team Award

Kimbel Leffew, Pantex Contractor Assurance, and Chuck Ramsey, ORNL, accept the Human Performance Improvement Team Award from the EFCOG Safety Chair John McDonald. Team members not pictured include: Patricia Allen (Savannah River Remediation), Mike Petrowski (Los Alamos National Laboratory), and Lloyd Keith (Washington River Protection Solution).


10 Ways We Strive for Safety at Pantex

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2019 - 14:55

1. Protect your health

  • Get checked out! An annual physical is a Cigna CNS benefit.
  • Know your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and body mass index.

2. Insist on Pre-Job Briefings

  • Identify scope to be performed and how it will be done; discuss location and potential hazards; know what personal protective equipment is required.
  • Know what to do if abnormal conditions occur.

3. Perform the DRIVER steps before operating a vehicle

  • Do a 360-degree walk-around; Rely on a spotter; Identify the safety features; Verify safe conditions; Eliminate distractions; Report all accidents.
  • Ask your supervisor or safety representative if you have questions

4. Set High Standards to avoid falls in the workplace

  • Use ladders properly, including keeping three points of contact when climbing, not leaning to one side when on the ladder, setting the ladder at the proper angle, securing the ladder, etc.
  • Ensure use of a proper fall arrest system such as full body harness, self-retracting lanyard, and approved anchor point with 100% tie-off.

5. Be Aware of Hazards in the workplace

  • As you begin work, ask yourself:
    • Do I have the right tools/equipment for the job?
    • Have I inspected my tools/equipment to make sure they are in good repair?
    • Am I positioning the tool correctly? Are hands and other body parts out of the line of fire?
    • Do I need additional Personal Protective Equipment for the job?

6. Practice Hand Safety

  • Our hands are one of our most valuable tools, so protect them.
  • Evaluate your work area for potential hand hazards.
  • Use the proper tool for the task.
  • Wear the right glove for the task.

7. Commute Safely

  • Driving to and from work is one of the most dangerous activities we do each day.
  • Start SMART
    • Secure your seat belt and adjust your seat.
    • Make adjustments (check mirrors and eliminate blind spots) before putting vehicle in drive.
    • Avoid driving drowsy by getting plenty of rest each night. Lack of sleep causes you to react more slowly, and impairs judgement and vision.
    • Remain focused on driving.
    • Thoroughly check your surroundings for traffic, people, blind spots, and objects.
  • Stay SMART
    • Control your Speed.
    • Monitor for excessive speed and road conditions.
    • Avoid distractions. Follow CNS’s Cellular Telephone/Mobile Electronic Device policy to minimize risk during driving.
    • Follow the Rules of the road.
    • Take Time to reach your destination. Plan ahead. Allow for extra time.

8. Walking is Working

  • Keep these facts in mind when you consider talking or texting while walking:
    • Texting decreases your situational awareness and limits eyes on path.
    • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are not focused on the path if you are walking while texting.
    • Tripping hazards could be one step ahead.
    • Own the outcome, stop and take time out to talk or text.

9. Think Before You Act

  • Report it, don’t ignore it – report near misses and if something doesn’t’ seem safe report it immediately.
  • Always look for hidden hazards – be aware of changes around you and pay attention to detail and the task at hand.
  • Keep your mind on the task – remind yourself why certain safety policies and best practices are in place and stop to think before you act – keep a safety mindset!

10. Manage Stress

  • Focus on the one thing that’s always within your control: you.
  • These steps will help you manage job stress:
    • Take responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being.
    • Avoid pitfalls by identifying knee-jerk habits and negative attitudes that add to the stress you experience at work.
    • Learn better communication skills to improve your relationships with managers and coworkers.

POLO presents at WT Engineering Camp

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2019 - 14:38

Pantexans with POLO recently took part in the annual Engineering Camp held each summer at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

Milton Guerrero with Pantex Nuclear Procurement Engineering was a guest speaker at the event and spoke on the world of engineering and led students in an activity to help demonstrate how the world of engineering works.

Lance Duncan from Pantex Mission Engineering also presented at the event which was geared towards high school students.

During the presentations students learned about Pantex and Y-12, the different types of engineering (Mechanical, Environmental, Electrical, etc.), salary statistics, and the backgrounds of the guest speakers.

“This event was important to me because it was an opportunity to inspire kids to follow the path to becoming an engineer,” Guerrero said. “I attended this event to not only inspire but to also give back to my alma mater WTAMU.”

Pantexans with POLO recently took part in the annual Engineering Camp
Pantexans with POLO recently took part in the annual Engineering Camp

Recruiting for tomorrow’s workforce

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2019 - 10:43

Students at several colleges recently had the opportunity to attend a Nuclear Security Enterprise Day to learn more about jobs available to them in an industry often cloaked in secrecy. During March and April, CNS, along with our colleagues from across the NSE, visited Georgia Tech, Purdue, Texas A&M, and the University of California at Merced to communicate the importance of our national security mission and the opportunities we have available for upcoming graduates.

Alexi McCallick of Tooling and Tester Design at Pantex (left) talks with a student at the Texas A&M Nuclear Security Enterprise Day
Alexi McCallick of Tooling and Tester Design at Pantex (left) talks with a student at the Texas A&M Nuclear Security Enterprise Day

Human Resources’ Amy Moran, instrumental in recruiting and attracting top talent to CNS, noted, “In the workforce market, there is a war for talent because of our strong global economic environment. Within the NSE, we have the ‘Nuclear Security Enterprise Workforce Recruitment Strategy’ to raise awareness with universities throughout the country of what we do, the NSE mission, and our job openings.”

NSE Days include presentations, panels, and recruiting booths, allowing members of the NSE (including CNS’s Pantex and Y-12) to establish relationships with the universities. “We’re working to develop pipelines for hard-to-fill positions such as cybersecurity and engineering,” Moran said. “Pantex and Y-12 are integral to the NSE’s missions, so it’s important for us to help the enterprise attract a capable workforce to sustain our future nuclear security missions across all sites.”

Charles Herrell of Cyber Operations joined the Purdue NSE Day and thinks these events help potential employers and employees understand one another.

“I enjoyed speaking to the prospective employees for cyber security-related positions. We spoke the same language and shared a passion for protecting cyber assets,” he said. “I have been to recruiting events talking to recruiters about job openings, and they didn’t know the details of what those in my profession do, so it made me left feeling like I could not sell myself because I could see the recruiter’s eyes glaze over quickly.”

“CNS hopes to become one of the most desired places to work in the country and to fill our critical roles more quickly. This enterprise approach allows us to leverage the weight of the NSE as a whole,” she said. “As part of the NSE recruiting events, we are able to show that we are an important part of something larger than ourselves. We are contributing to the NSE recruitment strategic plan to ensure that Pantex and Y-12, and the NSE as a whole, have the workforce needed for years to come.”
Nuclear Security Enterprise Day at Purdue
Nuclear Security Enterprise Day at Purdue includes
networking time. Mike Ellis (orange shirt) of Functional Engineering and Jason Steward of Metallurgical Engineering and Processing (beside Ellis) attended.

2019 Presidential Migratory Bird Stewardship Award Winner

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 11:34

The Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds is pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award. The U. S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Pantex Plant was honored at this year’s Council meeting for their innovative work with Swainson’s Hawks, Purple Martins, and other birds across the Western Hemisphere. The Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award annually recognizes a single project or action conducted by or in partnership with a Federal agency that meets the intent and spirit of Executive Order 13186 by focusing on migratory bird conservation.

2019 Presidential Migratory Bird Stewardship Award Winner

Award winners. Pictured (from left to right) are Chris Cantwell, DOE/NNSA Pantex Plant; Beverly Whitehead, DOE; Jerome Ford, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; James Ray, DOE/NNSA Pantex Plant; and Josh Silverman, DOE. Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

About the Winning Project

Swainson’s Hawk

Project: Pantex-A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Contributing to Migratory Bird Conservation across Hemispheres

Project Lead: Department of Energy /Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (Pantex Plant)

Partners: Texas Tech University (including the USGS Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit), West Texas A&M University, University of Manitoba (Canada), York University (Canada), Purple Martin Conservation Association, Disney World Wide Fund, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and many property owners and volunteers.

Description: The Pantex Plant increased its on-going research, collaborations, and outreach programs in 2017 and 2018. Pantex added an additional partner, the Texas Ornithological Society, which donated geolocators to Pantex staff for deployment on Purple Martins.

Pantex sponsored collaborations continued the monitoring of nine species of concern and other birds in plots associated with wind energy research (West Texas A&M University), transitioned the Swainson’s Hawk research to juveniles (Texas Tech University; including the USGS Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit), and continued with analyses of data gathered on Swainson’s Hawks throughout the Hawk’s annual travels through North, Central and South America. Pantex continued to collaborate with and provide a sixth deployment site for geolocators and G.P.S. data-loggers as part of an international collaboration that has now documented and characterized core stopover regions and durations (Yucatan and Central America) and specific wintering sites of the declining Purple Martin across the Amazon Basin. The collaboration is already visiting roost sites and building relationships with managers and researchers in Brazil.

The Pantex banding and outreach program fostered continued staff participation in a graduate-level class project (Texas Tech University) which has led to a peer-reviewed journal article, the start-up of a legacy Purple Martin housing and research project for the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society (Texas Tech University), and has now resulted in the banding of more than 12,000 Purple Martins and several publications.

Pantex continued mapping of prairie dog colonies on the facility as part of a management plan that assures preferred prairie dog-manipulated habitat for four previously mentioned special status species, including Western Burrowing Owls. During 2017 and 2018, Pantex collaborations and staff shared findings and management implications from migratory bird projects through 17 technical/conference presentations and posters, four magazine articles, three peer-reviewed journal articles, and two other scholarly articles which are in review or press.

Other agency sites continued to express interest in implementing “the Pantex research model” or collaborating with the site (Las Alamos National Lab, Y-12, Oak Ridge National Lab). As testimony to the success and respect of the Pantex program, there have been three instances of university researchers wanting to include Pantex and staff in applications for grants. Building off the successes of its contributions to migratory bird conservation, Pantex has used this successful model as a springboard for similar collaborations under the national pollinator initiative. Pantex recommendations have led to USDOE/NNSA sponsorship of a Raptor Research Foundation conference and a new purple martin colony at the Amarillo Zoo.

Considering the high-level issues, data collected, shared management implications, and on-site protection strategies, the Pantex partnership may benefit the full suite (442 species) of birds that breed in, migrate through, and winter in the Southern Great Plains. Research plot data include 28 special status species and 26 others have been documented using the site. Multitudes of bird species and individuals fly through, rest, and feed on the Pantex property during migration, and all the while they must navigate through many potential threats and an ever-growing number of wind farms. Students working on projects are graduating well-versed in migratory bird issues and advanced technology. Some, having tracked Swainson’s Hawks and Purple Martins across the Americas have already contributed to migratory bird conservation of hemispheric or global significance.

Full article can be found on the US Fish and Wildlife website.