Pantex Blog

Pantex donates to Discovery Center

Posted: Monday, August 1, 2022 - 12:26

Senior director for Pantex Engineering, Joe Papp

On June 29, senior director for Pantex Engineering, Joe Papp visited Don Harrington Discovery Center to get a firsthand look at how the center is using a $10,000 donation from Pantex.

$5,000 of the funds went towards helping sponsor STEM Summer Camps. The center runs week-long camps all summer long, and this particular week’s camp was “Make It or Break It - Robots, buildings, and roller coasters.” Students answered questions such as, how do we build them? What can be built to withstand an earthquake? What does it take to destroy a well-built house? They tested ‘Make It or Break It’ abilities through engineering, coding, and brilliant building ideas.

“Because of Pantex support, DHDC has been able to enhance our STEM programming, which has been great for this week’s camp,” DHDC Deputy Director Regina Ralston said.

“I am so impressed with the cubits and how the campers can create with them,” Papp said.

The remaining $5,000 from the donation will be used for the “Discover Through Time Life and Earth Science Exhibit.” This exhibit will highlight the various animals and plants of the region, correlating them to the progression of ecological development throughout our rich history. It will feature breakout spaces with learning opportunities such as reading nooks, hands-on exploration activities, and a life science observation lab.

Senior director for Pantex Engineering, Joe Papp

Summer interns arrive to work, learn at Pantex and Y-12

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 11:43

Senior Director of Communications Jason Bohne explains facets of the Y-12 mission
Senior Director of Communications Jason Bohne explains facets of the Y-12 mission during a site tour for new summer interns.

The CNS summer interns have arrived to begin learning and working in organizations across Pantex and Y-12. A total of 52 interns, 35 at Y-12 and 17 at Pantex, began their summer with an orientation. Cristy Landrum, who coordinates the internship program at Y-12, said the interns represent 20 universities and 11 states, ranging from Florida to New Mexico. Of course, most hail from Texas and Tennessee, 18 and 25, respectively.

Chief Human Resources Officer Diane Grooms told the Y-12 interns that they should feel proud to have been selected from among 1,000 applicants. The internship program is integral to CNS’s recruitment efforts.

“The goal here is to see how you do,” Grooms said. “If you like us and we like you, we hope to hire you one day.”

Grooms asked the group, who got up at 4 a.m. that day, to get ready for the start of orientation at 6 a.m.

Alexander, a junior studying nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee, raised his hand, saying he plans for the worst and needed a coffee, which drew a laugh from the group. At 28, he already holds a degree in political science from the University of Michigan, but wants to focus on nonproliferation.

“Policy and history are interesting, but this is more of a hands-on experience,” Alexander said.

Joshua, a senior studying finance and management at West Texas A&M University, is joining Pantex’s Operations Support in Project Controls. He said his duties align closely to his studies, thanks to careful matching by his Pantex internship coordinator Zuleyma Carruba-Rogel.

“Executing the internship program requires yearlong coordination efforts, which all come together when those students take their first seat at New Employee Orientation,” she said. “Their enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, and eagerness to learn is infectious.”

Joshua said he has worked several unrelated jobs to help pay for college and is happy his internship role mirrors his studies.

“I’m most excited about gaining an entirely new, professional skill set,” Johsua said.

Riley will be a senior at the University of Tennessee studying business analytics. Her father also works at Y-12. Her internship in Occupational Health Services might not seem like a good match. However, OHS's Gary Hall and Karen Lacey jumped on the chance to have Riley analyze CNS's COVID-19 database to study now the sites dealt with the pandemic. While making sure Riley’s experience is enriching, Hall said a secondary goal of the program is producing value for the organizations.

“I’m really looking forward to getting into the data and being able to showcase how well OHS has been handling Y-12’s employees’ safety during the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

Meet the NOC/SOC

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 11:30

Personnel are shown in the NOC/SOC Control Room
Personnel are shown in the NOC/SOC Control Room, surrounded by monitors used to assess the quality and security of the CNS network.

If you imagine Consolidated Nuclear Security’s network as an overall body of systems, applications, and workstations, the Network Operations Center/Security Operations Center (NOC/SOC) would be its central nervous system. Tasked with a combination of responsibilities from processing network information, monitoring, and alerting any instabilities of our network, the NOC/SOC runs a 24/7 operation with 14 personnel to ensure that everything from web based applications to computer systems are protected and functioning as normal.

Established in 2019, the NOC/SOC consists of a team of information technology experts as part of Information Solutions and Services’ (IS&S) IT Operations organization. While based at Pantex, the NOC/SOC is an enterprise wide service that plays an essential role for the continuity of business operations for both Pantex and Y-12. From server equipment and firewalls to telecommunications and dashboards, the team uses their primary system to proactively observe the state of our network around the clock.

The NOC/SOC was built from the ground up. Staff have gone from working out of conference rooms to having a centralized control room with modern equipment and technology.

With security being the top priority of our network, the NOC/SOC is integral to our sites’ cybersecurity posture as they are responsible for proactively monitoring any issues that could potentially impact or threaten our computer systems. As protocol, the NOC/SOC is also notified of any planned updates or maintenance impacts to our network in order to closely monitor its performance and ensure nothing is out of the ordinary.

Every case is treated with equal value, whether investigating a suspicious email or troubleshooting an application for enhanced performance. From application management, threat analytics, to end user support, the NOC/SOC holds a variety of proven skills that have cultivated personnel to continue to build their careers within IS&S.

More than 60% of the original NOC/SOC staff have advanced to other positions in IT and Cybersecurity. In addition to their knowledge, they have qualities that can’t be taught, such as attention to detail, a questioning attitude, and high standards.

While forming a model of excellence within the organization, the NOC/SOC is also working to develop the future of the IS&S workforce by growing the NOC/SOCteam and will continue to serve as an enterprise solution. As technology continues to become smarter and faster, so are the NOC/SOC staff. Their goal is to stay as up to date as possible, adapt to what’s new, and deliver for our national security mission.

I am mission success: Curtis Chamberlain

Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 10:59

Curtis Chamberlain
Take five minutes and learn about CNS's Curtis Chamberlain, production manager, at Pantex. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Curtis Chamberlain has spent his entire Pantex career in Production and says it is the only mission he has known. He got his start as a production technician almost 21 years ago working on the W62 and W87 programs and then was promoted to Production section manager of the W62, W78, B53, W80, and Joint Test Assembly (JTA)/test bed activities. For the past 11 years, he has served as a production manager and in his daily role oversees his departmental activities within Weapon Operations. He has worked on almost all of the weapons systems and support systems.

He says Production must work together to ensure everyone crosses the finish line.

Recently, the Pantex Production Optimization effort was commissioned to lead and establish a path forward to deliver and maximize our production throughput this year and into the future. The focus of the effort is on both tactical and strategic improvements that will further optimize weapon production activities at the site and position the plant to deliver production output on significant increases in future work.

“If one weapon system doesn’t meet their deliverables, we all fail as a team,” Chamberlain said.

One thing that stands out for Chamberlain during his time at Pantex are times when he’s had the opportunity to see the JTA final product in use.

“It was an honor and a privilege to see all the effort, activity, and collaboration that was needed to ensure a successful flight occurred.”

When asked what he sees as the most important part of his role in the mission work at Pantex, Chamberlain said “getting our product to the military with the best quality possible to ensure the defense of our nation.”

What daily task (specific meeting, report, etc.) lets you know you’re helping achieve the CNS mission? How/why does that task let you know you’re working toward the mission?

I like helping my Production section managers with their work problems, getting a hold of the right people and removing anything that may be in their way causing them frustrations, and trying to ensure they can do their job and not worry about anything else.

Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.

I honestly didn’t know what I envisioned as a young adult. I joined the Air Force at 18 to figure it out but that didn’t help. When I left the military, I started working as a diesel mechanic which helped me get my diesel technician certification. I worked at Caterpillar for a few years before applying at Pantex and obtaining a PT position, and I have been here ever since.

What is your favorite aspect about your work environment? How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met?

My favorite part is working together as a team with many Pantex and external entities to set and meet schedules with the military and DOE, knowing that the product we are working on is making our country a safer place by maintaining our nation’s stockpile.

What’s your top bucket list item and why?

I would like to complete hiking all 53 14,000+ ft. mountains in Colorado with a friend—I am over half way there, even though the actual number is a bit of a controversy. I enjoy the challenge of hiking the mountains. It is a beautiful environment, and it is me against the mountain; nobody can help me get to the top except for myself.

What’s your favorite outside-of-work activity and why?

I enjoy spending time with my family on vacations, visiting new breweries and restaurants at those locations with my wife, and experiencing new things. I have also started working towards obtaining my private pilot’s license; it is another way to work on overcoming some of the challenges I have with heights.

I am Mission Success: Chris Howard

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 16:29

Chris Howard, HESE project manager
Take five minutes and learn about Chris Howard, HESE project manager, at Pantex. All views and opinions are the employee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Chris Howard is making an impact on the landscape of Pantex as the new project manager of the line item High Explosive Science and Engineering (HESE) Building. The main construction portion of this project will start this summer and supports the High Explosives Center of Excellence for Manufacturing within the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Howard has been at Pantex for 15 years and has worked in the Project Management organization the entire time.

“The advantage of working in this organization is we touch every part of the plant,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on IT, security, maintenance, and environmental projects throughout the plant.”

Previously, Howard was the portfolio manager for the Bay Cell Portfolio, which is upgrading the Flame Detection System, High Pressure Fire Loop, and the Radiation Air Monitoring System in the bays and cells. The upgrade of these systems is reducing risks associated with legacy systems.

Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.

From my second year of college, I planned to work in the construction field, but the locations of the construction projects are not what I thought. I never thought I would work on oil and gas projects in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai or hotel and casino projects in Las Vegas. I also never thought I would be working at Pantex. I grew up in Amarillo and never gave much thought to working here. Our kids were in second grade and kindergarten when we started talking about moving to Amarillo from Las Vegas, and Pantex was one of the few places that met our goals. You never know where your career path will lead.

What is your favorite aspect about your work environment? How does that aspect make you know the mission is being met?

I enjoy the actual construction phase and the team working together to put the plan into action. Every construction project either directly touches a system supporting the mission or a support organization need so they can better support the mission.

What work advice would you offer someone who is new to Pantex or Y-12?

I don’t think this applies to just work, but be on time, work hard, have a good attitude, learn from mistakes (both yours and others), ask questions, and be prepared.

What’s your favorite outside-of-work activity and why?

I enjoy time with the family, hunting, skiing, and occasionally mountain biking. All of these activities provide me an opportunity to unwind, relax, and enjoy a little friendly competition.