Pantex Blog

PXFD climbs stairs to honor 9/11 first responders

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 15:41

Stair climb honoring 9/11 firefighters

First responders from Pantex Fire Department wore their gear for a very special reason this past Saturday.

The group of Pantex firefighters came together in a John C. Drummond Center stairwell to participate in a stair climb honoring the hundreds of New York City firefighters and first responders who died during the attacks on September 11, 2001.

The A-shift showed up in full gear and each firefighter climbed up to the third floor and back down 10 times. While this memorial climb may not represent the true number of flights and steps climbed by first responders on September 11 (110 flights), the Pantex firefighters completed their climb in tribute to what those brave men and women did that day.

Pantex firefighters completed their climb in tribute to what those brave men and women did that day

I am Mission Success: Amanda Morgan

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 15:32

Amanda Morgan

Take 5 minutes and learn about CNS's Amanda Morgan, Pantex High Explosive Manufacturing senior manager. All views and opinions are the employees own and do not necessarily reflect those of CNS.

Congratulations to Pantexan Amanda Morgan who was recognized by the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce as a member of the 2022 Top 20 Under 40.

This award is given annually to area early career professionals who demonstrate professional excellence and bring value to the Amarillo business community.

Morgan got her start at Pantex as an intern while working on her undergraduate degree.

An Amarillo native, she graduated from Caprock High School and went on to receive a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas and a master of business administration from West Texas A&M University.

After completing a second internship with Frito Lay, Morgan started full time with Pantex.

She has worked in High Explosives Manufacturing for 16 years — the last 10 as senior manager.

Why are you mission success?
I strive every day to give my best and accomplish the job safely, securely, and with a high level of quality. I always tell everyone that works for me that product delivery on-time doesn’t count if we didn’t present our best effort or compromised safety, security, and quality. It is always worth the extra check to make sure you are giving your best work to the next level.

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?
We have a daily production meeting which helps to see how groups before/after your process are progressing and helps to understand the impact your product has on their work. It is very evident in that meeting when we are meeting our mission or when we are falling short in areas. It also helps us to have input on priorities in case they have shifted.

Are you doing what you envisioned as a young adult? If so, describe how you got here.
Not at all. My original goals were to be an accountant or a lawyer. I quickly learned during a high school accounting class that I did not want to do that job long term. It was during that time I learned about chemical engineering from my physics teacher. Definitely never thought I would be working with explosives but always knew I wanted to be more on the specialty, research side of things than full chemical plant production.

As an employee, what do you want to be remembered for?
Always helping. Whether it be helping to get the right POC, teaching someone about a process, etc., just having people know that they can come to me or ask me and get some assistance.

What work advice would you offer someone who is new to Pantex or Y-12?
Listen and take it all in. Learn from as many people as you can and be genuine with your questions and willingness to learn the mission.

What’s your favorite outside-of-work activity and why?
I still have small kids at home, so I typically don’t have a lot of time outside of their activities. When I get the chance, I enjoy reading and going to the movies.

Lessons learned from summer interns

Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 09:40

Pantex interns discussing their projects

The temperature may not feel like it, but summer is winding down. More than 50 interns at Pantex and Y-12 recently wrapped up their two month work experience with an Intern Expo. A few share what lessons they learned and memories they take with them.

Steven Keosouvanh, West Texas A&M University, major: computer information systems and business analytics

What surprised you the most during your internship at Pantex or Y-12?
I was surprised at how happy each organization is to improve their workers so they can grow to be better and find their passions. I have heard so many stories of people starting in one place and pursuing their careers start to finish here and stories of people who became passionate in a different area of work then changing careers all while at CNS.

What event or task did you enjoy the most during your time?
For me, I enjoyed building workflow process with my intern team. It was great to have an intern team that was so motivated and collaborated so well together. I don’t think we could have completed our task alone if it weren’t for everyone’s motivation and the support system we had in Project Controls.

Why should today’s college students consider Pantex and Y-12 ?
The mission we have here is important, and Pantex and Y-12 are great places to work for those with experience and those who are new. It is built into the core philosophy of the company to embrace both ends of the experience spectrum.

What is some work advice you learned from a veteran employee?
Be clear when speaking to people and make it as unambiguous as possible so people can see my vision. I hope to take this advice and make an impact using technology and data driven thinking in my career.

Jonas Rivero, West Texas A&M University, major: mechanical engineering

What surprised you the most during your internship at Pantex or Y-12?
My biggest surprise during this internship was having the encouragement to ask any question and having coworkers and supervisors open to answering all of those questions. I felt comfortable reaching out to anybody without feeling like I was going to annoy someone, and I knew they encouraged asking more questions.

What event or task did you enjoy the most during your time?
I most enjoyed the tours provided to us through the internship. I had various tours and saw some very impressive things that I was very grateful to see.

Why should today’s college students consider Pantex and Y-12 ?
I think there is a very high importance for college students to consider a field that supports the mission because there are various opportunities. From having the opportunity to further your educational studies to moving on to another role within the plant, the opportunities are endless, and you have an important task no matter what role you have.

What is some work advice you learned from a veteran employee?
A big piece of advice I received from a veteran employee was that there are a lot of knowledgeable people here, and you can learn something from everyone. I really listened to that advice and have really listened to what anybody who I encountered had to say. I’ve learned a lot of things that you can say I wouldn’t have learned in school, and I’m grateful I was able to experience this.

Serée Sturdivant, Texas Tech University, major: chemical engineering

What surprised you the most during your internship at Pantex or Y-12?
The thing that surprised me the most during my internship was the people. How nice and knowledgeable everyone was, how willing everyone was to help me get started and help me connect academic knowledge with industry needs and applications, and just how much I genuinely enjoyed working with my department. Everyone I reached out to wanted to help me however they could and taught me so much about where I fit in to the mission. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work/interact with!

What event or task did you enjoy the most during your time?
During my internship, I most enjoyed getting to design an advanced chemical reactor/chemical processing system for one of my projects. It was a true design project and pushed me to the limits of my current knowledge and capabilities, which allowed me to push beyond those limits and learn so much more.

Why should today’s college students consider Pantex and Y-12 ?
It is important that college students consider a field that supports the Pantex and Y-12 mission because the mission is integral to our continued safety and freedom as a country. There are so many different paths within Pantex/Y-12 — no matter what major you are or what your interests are, there is a place for you! You do your best work and are most happy/fulfilled in the work that you do when you are passionate about the mission your work supports.

What is some work advice you learned from a veteran employee?
Some work advice I learned from a veteran employee was more by what he did than what he said. My manager, Steve Velarde in Mission Engineering, tackled every problem that arose with patience, knowledge, and understanding. He always had solutions to issues that arose along the processes of the two projects that I was working on and gave me a completely different perspective on how to lead with direction while allowing maximum creativity and learning. I want to simulate his work/leadership style while I begin my career.

Delaine Stiltner, Tennessee Technological University, major: civil engineering

What surprised you the most during your internship at Pantex or Y-12?
The initial shock of the security aspects of the job were a bit surprising at first. Security at Y-12 is one of the reasons this job is so unique.

What event or task did you enjoy the most during your time?
I enjoyed getting to work on several different projects this summer. I feel that I have grown significantly and have learned so much over the short time span of my internship. My favorite part about my job was getting to meet so many great people and working with different types of engineers!

Why should today’s college students consider Pantex and Y-12?
Working at Pantex and Y-12 helps provide a service to our community and our country while allowing yourself to grow in a supportive and family driven environment.

What is some work advice you learned from a veteran employee?
Some of the best advice I learned was to always ask questions and make sure you document everything!

Recognizing winners of the NNSA security awards

Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2022 - 08:00

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 National Nuclear Security Administration’s security awards. The results were recently announced by NNSA's Associate Administrator and Chief of Defense Nuclear Security Jeff Johnson, and three of the four awards went to either Consolidated Nuclear Security or NNSA Production Office employees. A ceremony was recently held for those receiving the honors.

These awards recognize employees whose contributions to NNSA represent excellence and dedication to our national nuclear security.

Byron Logan, Pantex Plant, NNSA Security Manager of the Year

Pantex’s Byron Logan named NNSA Security Manager of the Year
Pantex’s Byron Logan, who was named NNSA Security Manager of the Year. Logan is responsible for Safeguards and Security Performance Testing, Self Assessments, and Issues Management.

Logan is responsible for Safeguards and Security Performance Testing, Self Assessments, and Issues Management. In 2021, under his leadership, the Office of Enterprise Assessments completed a successful multi topic assessment of the Pantex S&S program. Working within COVID-19 federal restrictions and safety measures implemented, the Office of Enterprise Assessments completed force on force testing and 16 integrated performance tests. His performance assurance program covers performance testing, self assessments, and issues management for all S&S topical areas: Protective Force, Physical Protection, Material Control and Accountability, Information Protection, Personnel Security, and Program Management Operations.

The Y-12 Nuclear Material Control and Accountability team

Y-12 Nuclear Material Control and Accountability team
The Y-12 Nuclear Material Control and Accountability Team, NNSA's Security Team of the Year.

The Y-12 Nuclear Material Control and Accountability team has made positive contributions to national security by successfully and aggressively working to increase productivity and quality gains. This team successfully reduced inventory time and operational downtime, improved performance testing through 3-D printing and medical isotope data collection, initiated enhancements in reporting automation, and much more. The team’s collaborative efforts allowed them to exceed the previous reporting timeframe for final inventory to Nuclear Materials Management and Safeguards System.

John Fromberger, NNSA Production Office, NNSA Bradley A. Peterson Federal Security Professional of the Year

John Fromberger, NNSA Production Office
Roxanne Van Veghten, NPO assistant manager for Safeguards and Security, presents John Fromberger his award.

Fromberger, the NPO Protection Program Management federal program manager, has worked to strengthen relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to effectively carry out responses to emergency operations and events on site. Fromberger coordinated with multiple agencies to conduct a complex “Fresh Pursuit” exercise that ensures effective response to potential large scale events.

New employee orientation

Posted: Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 11:23

One of the New Employee Orientation classes
One of the New Employee Orientation classes during 2022 at Y-12’s New Hope Center.

Starting any new job is overwhelming, but starting work at a nuclear weapons production site is even more so. Human Resources and Communications led an effort to improve the onboarding experience for new hires at Pantex and Y‑12, with substantial engagement from other organizations. The goal was to create an onboarding experience that empowers employees with a clear understanding of our mission and enables them to contribute to our mission more quickly.

The enhanced orientation program acquaints new employees with goal‑setting, provides intensive employee training with presentations about both sites, and connects each new hire to an organizational ambassador from his or her business area. By the end of orientation, new employees have a deeper understanding of their individual roles in achieving the mission. They also have a clearer organizational picture, familiarity with the Pantex and Y‑12 strategic plans, and continued support through the connection and relationship built with their organizational ambassador.

As an organizational ambassador, Leslie Mathews of Y‑12 Production Operations provides one‑on‑one support to new employees during their first 90 days of employment (and often longer). “I hired in almost 15 years ago,” she said. “I did not get all of this information on day one. It takes lots of time to understand the magnitude of what we do, but with the onboarding structure, new hires have the opportunity to learn so much at the very beginning.”

“The engagement of senior leaders and organizational ambassadors in onboarding has been a game-changer,” said Senior Director of Communications Jason Bohne. “New employees are not only learning how they connect with the mission but are also gaining perspective on our priorities and beginning to build a network of people who can help them be successful in the short term and throughout their careers. Welcoming them and giving them the tools to succeed helps make us all successful.”

Making sure new employees are introduced to how they fit in our national security mission falls to Recruitment and Placement Specialists Zuleyma Carruba-Rogel and Jay Aspray.

“We’re always asking ourselves, ‘Is this the best that we can be?’ That constant reflection and adjustment lets us know we’re on the path to success,” Carruba-Rogel said. “When we see and experience the community that new hires are creating; when they respond to content and tell us they feel welcome; or when they talk about what a great experience onboarding was for them — that’s when we get to reap the fruit of those labors.”

Pantex Deputy Site Manager Kenny Steward said, “In our sites’ histories, we have rarely had to compete with a broad range of employers to attract talent to Pantex and Y‑12. Orientation is one of the opportunities we have to show new employees that they made the right choice and have joined a team they can be proud of for the rest of their careers. It’s our new employees’ introduction to life and culture in a high‑hazard, nuclear production environment, allowing us to set the stage for tying each employee to our critical nuclear deterrent mission and ensuring they know the dramatic value they add to the important work done at our sites.”