Pantex shares ideas and employees with Leadership Amarillo and Canyon
Leadership Amarillo and Canyon’s Executive Director Lisa Blake discusses the room set-up at the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Center, which has been assisting local entrepreneurs with guidance and business development since 2001. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.
At the end of every summer, a group of about 50 Panhandle area professionals come together to create a new class for Leadership Amarillo and Canyon (LAC). Formed in 1981, LAC's sole mission is to strengthen Amarillo and the surrounding communities by providing leadership development through educational programs and on-site business and industry tours, and by bringing individuals together from all walks of professional life.
“Regardless of the type of business or industry, connection to other business leaders is vital and very important to continued success,” said Lisa Blake, LAC executive director. “LAC helps open the door for leaders to serve on various boards and committees by providing connection. Our desire is for leaders to fulfill their passion by serving and helping our community.”
Once a month over the length of the 9-month program, LAC introduces participants to a wide variety of professional speakers and programs focusing on the areas of leadership development, networking, community awareness, and social consciousness.
Over the years, Pantex has been a part of the organization and has sponsored employees to participate in eachLAC class being offered. Buses filled with people from a wide variety of professions across the Panhandle area would be brought to Pantex for a full day of on-site activities. The group participated in a windshield tour in addition to lunch at the 12-103 cafeteria, along with a photo-op in front of the “Fat Boy” weapon replica. But the highlight for the tour group was always the stop at the west end of the firing site. They were informed they would be watching a controlled test shot…and inevitably, the group joined together with their collective “gasps” as the concussion of the shock wave passed by them, just a heartbeat after witnessing the explosion. The majority of responses back to LAC leadership always mentioned that Pantex event as one of their favorite activities during their time with LAC.
Pantex has sponsored a representative in almost every class since LAC began, noting that the on-site tours were both insightful and eye-opening. Participating Pantexans said they each made new friends and business contacts they probably would have never met otherwise, and each thoroughly enjoyed their time spent with LAC.
“LAC furthered my belief that we have more in common with our neighbor than we are told. Most people function based on middle-of-the-road principles rather than extremes, so there is always opportunity to learn something from each other. As leaders, we should seek out the things that we have in common with those whom we are leading. No one wants to follow a leader who does not share similar values,” said Deron Lucero, Pantex graphic designer and graduate of LAC.
“Attending Leadership Amarillo gave me an opportunity to learn about our area and meet some wonderful people,” said Darla Fish, Pantex Community and Education Outreach coordinator and another graduate of LAC.
“I had always heard great things about LAC and was excited when my name came up to join them for a year,” said Steve Myers of Pantex Communications, who is in the current LAC class. “It’s a widely diverse group of professionals from all around the area, each with their own insights on the economy, local business and industry, and their leaders…and how we can all make a connection that spurs communication and growth. We had to develop virtual tours during COVID but didn‘t miss a beat, and we always had great guests and speakers each month.”
“Many positive changes have occurred in our community as a result of our presentations, discussions, and tours of businesses and sites like Pantex. Participating in our organization also provides consistent networking among leaders of various industries, which opens doors for long-term connections,” said Blake.
LAC wants to inspire individuals who desire to make a difference by engaging them in current political and social issues, and exposing them to many of the challenges facing their communities. Through partnerships with many organizations, participants are involved in understanding the workings of local, state, and federal governments, the variety of businesses in the area, issues facing individuals in poverty, and the wonderful cultural diversity that is evident in the area. The program is designed to challenge the way people think about their communities, business, and themselves.
“Participating in Leadership Amarillo and Canyon is critically important for many reasons,” according to Blake. “Understanding our community, the challenges, successes, and obstacles, is important for all leaders and all businesses, including Pantex. Not only does our organization expose leaders to the reality of various issues, we provide the opportunity to collaborate and create solutions as well.”
As a non-profit organization, LAC is solely funded by the support of local businesses, allowing employees to participate in the annual program.
“LAC fosters community and we serve as a bridge between leaders and organizations. We often times help individuals find areas in which to serve and help meet needs. It is a win for individuals and for companies,” added Blake.
The current Leadership Amarillo and Canyon class met at the WT Enterprise Center to listen to business leaders and begin a busy day of conferences and business tours. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.
Owners of Creek House Honey Farm, Paige and George Nester, speak with Leadership Amarillo and Canyon about starting a new businesses and their recipe for success during their presentation at the WT Enterprise Center. Note: This photo was taken in April 2021 and does not show any CNS employees.
Pantexans spare time for Big Brother Big Sisters
CNS Chief Operating Officer Bill Tindal (left) and Pantex Site Manager Todd Ailes give a $10,000 donation to Emily Nance, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle.
Many Pantexans got out and bowled to help support the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle May 1 during the Bowl for Kids’ sake event.
This annual day of bowling is one that participants look forward to every year. Pantexans form teams, come up with creative team names, and spend part of a Saturday bowling for a good cause – one aimed at matching caring adults to children in need.
Pantex has been a main sponsor of Bowl for Kids’ Sake for 18 years, and in March, donated $10,000 to help fund the event and aid BBBS in recruiting and training mentors.
“We couldn’t do any of this without community donors,” Emily Nance, BBBS of the Texas Panhandle executive director, said. “Bowl for Kids’ Sake would not be the most fun event ever without the Pantex crew. So, it means a lot. We don’t charge fees for our services; they are free to volunteers and to parents, so we must raise the money to have professional staff to track the matches and make the matches.”
BBBS has a lasting impact on the children it serves and the mentors who volunteer their time. Pantex has been fortunate to partner with this incredible organization for many years, and the enduring legacy of BBBS is featured in this video.
If you are interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, contact Emily Nance, Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle at 806.351.2210
Pantex supports Good Scout Lunch
Pantex has been a proud sponsor the Golden Spread Council of Boy Scouts Good Scout Luncheon for several years. This year, Michelle Reichert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC was the event committee chair for the Good Scout Luncheon and offered the event’s Welcome and Opening Remarks at the April 29th luncheon.
The event took place at Hodgetown Stadium and featured Rick Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, as keynote speaker. Pantex donated $3,500 to help the Golden Spread Council continue supporting scouts in the Panhandle area.
Jackie Kelly Award 2021 winners named
Congratulations to Renae Freeman of Pantex and Julie Hope of Y-12 on National Administrative Professionals Day
When you have a question about a work process, policy, or practice, who is the first person you think to ask? If you’re like many of us, you think of your organization’s administrative professional. Their jobs are wide in scope and deep in complexity, with high pressure deadlines and incessant interruptions. And of course the pandemic added many additional challenges.
To recognize their role in keeping businesses, organizations, and agencies running smoothly, official recognition was established in 1952 as National Secretaries Day. The name changed to National Administrative Professionals Day in 2000 to recognize the increasingly technical and professional skills the occupation requires.
At Pantex and Y-12 there are almost 100 of these wonder workers, who are like the oil that keeps the engine of productivity running smoothly. One such exemplary administrative professional was Jackie Kelly, who was known at Y-12 for meeting every challenge that came her way, including cancer that eventually took her life. In 2017 the Jackie Kelly Award was established in her memory to recognize one outstanding administrative professional at each site. The winners each receive a $500 cash award and a recognition plaque.
This year, 21 nominations were received from Pantex and Y-12. A panel of five judges representing both sites chose the winners based on nominations that described how each nominee demonstrated dedication, conscientiousness, caring, can-do attitude, and capability.
Zelda Martinez of Pantex considered serving as a judge an honor, and said she mistakenly thought it would be an easy decision to make. The difficulty of the decisions made her proud, she added.
“I was very wrong. The level of dedication, resourcefulness, self-motivation, and above all, the compassion that all the nominees exhibit, not only to their job responsibilities, but to the community and ultimately the country, is second to none,” Martinez said.
Renae Freeman, Pantex, Process Engineering/Tooling & Tester Engineering
Renae Freeman is the administrative professional for Tooling and Machine Engineering, and she also volunteered to provide services for Process Engineering because that division is without one.
“Despite her already significant workload, Renae stepped up and volunteered to help out our department. Being a large department of over 100 employees, this is a huge undertaking,” one of her nominations read.
Another praised her “never say no” approach, “Renae has a fantastic attitude and a consistent willingness to help. She treats every request with the utmost level of priority and consideration.”
That Freeman isn’t drawn to the spotlight motivated one nominator to shine one on her.
“She is a quiet leader and never seeks recognition for all her great work, which has made her even more well deserving of this award.”
Julie Hope, Y-12, Production/Enriched Uranium Operations
Julie Hope’s nominators noted she is hardworking, accountable, perseverant, and has a positive attitude.
“Julie is a model for anyone seeking to witness an employee who is dedicated to performing her job with excellence.”
She performed the work of two of her peers during COVID-19 containment one nomination read, “accepting all challenges with grace and quickly excelling at all tasks. Julie is an anchor for Building 9212 and the embodiment of a superstar employee.”
“She helps everyone with a joyful attitude such that everyone enjoys working with her. She often teaches others from her existing expertise or researches issues/questions to find solutions to provide to the team.”
One of Hope’s nominations ends with a bit of humor, “We hope we have been able to convince each of you of her excellence, but if not, please don’t hold our inabilities to write against Julie, since we didn’t have her to help us with this write-up!”
Given her selection as an award winner, the persuasion worked.
Armed Forces Day: Pantex’s Dr. Michael Paston reflects on importance of unified purpose
I have sometimes wondered what goes into designating a day an American holiday. Armed Forces Day, which is May 15 this year, began in 1949 after the armed forces were unified under one department — the Department of Defense. As someone who served in the Air Force, I have seen the benefits of people unifying for a purpose. This intangible force generates success, particularly in chaotic and uncertain times. We all agree 2020 was COVID chaotic, and 2021 will present uncertainty with the contract transition. The guiding light in these times will be steadfast adherence to our unified values; what Armed Forces Day represents. Let me clarify this.
While assigned to Air Mobility Command in 2009 at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, I oversaw the health of the pilots, maintainers, other flight line operators, and their families. AMC,/abbr> tasked Charleston AFB to deliver cargo all over the world. Charleston provided airlift of troops and passengers, military equipment, cargo, and aeromedical equipment and supplies worldwide. In other words, the airlift mission flew to all continents, delivering people and cargo, beans and bullets, anytime, anywhere. However, let me tell you a secret.
The actual operation of a successful airlift mission is about as glamorous as drops of water on stone. There’s no frenzy, no flap, just the inexorable process of getting the job done. In a successful airlift, you don’t see planes parked all over the place; they’re either in the air, onloading or unloading, or being worked on. You don’t see personnel milling around; flying crews are either flying or resting so they can fly again the next day. Everyone else is also on the job, working quietly and efficiently.
The real excitement from a successful airlift comes from seeing lines climbing steadily on PowerPoint charts — tonnage delivered, aircraft utilization, and so on (while lines representing accidents and injuries remain down). That’s where the glamour lies in air transport. It is this beat, this precise rhythmical cadence, which determines the success of an airlift. Nevertheless, it’s not enough.
One key factor for success of an airlift (or any large operation) is everyone working toward unified goals. On a cold, windy January night, I was making rounds on the flight line (my rounds were not only in the hospital) because the mission called for launching 20 or so C-17s at 3 minute intervals — a colossal orchestration. I knew 3,000 or so airmen would be working 24 hour operations under floodlights toward this task. I always thought making myself available to the pilots and crew members, seeking them out and listening to their complaints, gave me insight into the true health and operations of the mission, which I could never have gotten sitting at my desk reading e mails and secondhand reports.
“How’s it going?” I asked an airman, who looked about 18 years old, as she crouched over a wheel well to tighten some bolts. She looked up, quite perturbed, and said, “Sir, I can’t talk. If I don’t finish this, we won’t launch these 20 birds.” Then it dawned on me that this 18-year-old sensed mission success depended on her. She knew her responsibility involved working collectively toward a mission. Seeing her dedication, I was reassured all 20 planes would launch at the precise time as ordered.
It’s this perspective that affects my current mission here at Pantex. That’s why I took particular pride when the American Association of Ambulatory Health Care inspected our clinic on April 30 and the inspector said, “It is very clear that your staff are aligned with the higher calling of national security that is the mission of Pantex.” I cannot imagine a higher praise.
We unify for a purpose — across all of CNS — despite the challenges we’ve faced this past year and the uncertainty ahead. As a doctor, I care about the health and welfare of people, and as a Pantexan, I contribute to achieving our mission — a mission that unifies us and embodies what Armed Forces Day celebrates.