Oak Ridge Opens K-25 History Center to Preserve Site’s Rich History; Hanford Crew Operates Hoist in Mark of Progress for Tank Waste Treatment; and much more!

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

EM Update | Vol. 12, Issue 9 | March 3, 2020


Hanford Employees ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ Using Mini Robots, Boats

RICHLAND, Wash. – Several employees with Bechtel National, Inc., the EM Hanford Site Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant contractor, volunteered for the “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event at the Richland Public Library in Washington during the recent Engineers Week. More than 100 students participated in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities involving pocket-size robots and tests to see how many coins a makeshift boat of aluminum foil could hold. Volunteers also came from the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Bechtel control systems engineer Courtney Felt is pictured at left.
-Contributor: Greg Atencio


More than 20 engineers from EM Hanford Site contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) volunteered for Engineers Week in local elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, teaching students about the concepts of engineering and opportunities available at Hanford. Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Engineers Week is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing interest in engineering and technology careers. Hayley McClendon, a CHPRC scientist, is pictured at far left with sixth-graders in a science class at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School in Kennewick, Washington.

-Contributor: Randal Fox

Portsmouth/Paducah Cleanup Leads Contracting Officer Back Home


Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Contracting Officer Tyler Hicks.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Growing up in Kentucky’s capital of Frankfort, Tyler Hicks knew a lot of state employees.

But he didn't think civil service was for him, so he enrolled at the University of Kentucky in Lexington to study business and finance. By 2008, he had earned his bachelor’s degree, but job opportunities were scarce under the worst recession in a generation. So Hicks stayed at the university another year, earned a master’s degree, and met an Air Force representative at a campus job fair.

“I showed up for free pizza,” Hicks remembered recently from his desk at EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) in Lexington.

Although most of the graduates that day weren’t planning on government careers, a dozen of them decided to pursue internships as civilian contract specialists at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Hicks said the base offered good entry opportunities at respectable pay grades.

After his first three years at Wright-Patterson, Hicks joined the F-35 Joint Program Office in Arlington, Virginia. In 2014, knowing that PPPO was hiring, he stopped by Lexington to introduce himself at the PPPO office while visiting relatives in Kentucky.

Now in his sixth year as a PPPO contracting officer, Hicks oversees more than $4 billion worth of contracts guiding the safe execution of deactivation and decommissioning work at EM’s Portsmouth Site in southern Ohio. The site was home to one of the nation’s three large Cold-War-era uranium-enrichment plants for 50 years.

“Working myself out of a job,” as he describes it, Hicks anticipates the Portsmouth cleanup will be finished before he reaches retirement age.

With more than 10 years of federal service, the 33-year-old has had a successful career even though it’s not exactly what he once planned on doing. And with PPPO anticipating the first massive uranium-enrichment process building’s demolition starting late this year, Hicks said he and his colleagues are gratified to see the results of their efforts.

“It’s exciting to get to see the fruition of all the work,” he said.

-Contributor: Brad Mitzelfelt

Editor's note: In an occasional series, EM Update profiles early career professionals across the EM complex.

Like EM on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DOEEnvironmentalManagement


Follow EM on Twitter: @EMcleanup