Director’s Awards honor ‘exceptional contributions’
Fourteen employees have received Director’s Awards, representing the “best of the best” of the year’s Pacesetter Awards.
Pacesetter Awards recognize specific performance efforts or achievements that significantly exceed normal requirements of an employee’s position, project assignment and individual situation. Awards may be given for innovation, discovery, extraordinary effort, program development, safety initiative, peer recognition or a significant cost reduction.
A committee comprising representatives from each directorate chooses those Pacesetter Award recipients whose performance or contribution is judged worthy of additional recognition with a Director’s Award.
“This group has made exceptional contributions to Argonne’s leadership in science and engineering and operational excellence,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. “Each of you went above and beyond in helping Argonne fulfill its scientific missions and reinforce our world-class reputation with important stakeholders.”
Award winners included:
Todd Kimmell (EVS), who built greater trust with a key Environmental Science division sponsor, leading to new funding and more opportunities for EVS staff. He also strategically worked to provide potential sponsors with technical support, gaining a credibility that boosts our success in future funding situations.
Natalia Saraeva (NSE), who did an impressive job of summarizing public comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear Fuel Storage and Transportation Planning Project. This is the most important milestone in the five-year project. She submitted her contributions ahead of deadline, earning important recognition for Argonne. Saraeva was recognized by DOE leadership for a “thoughtful, nuanced, non-defensive and well written” report.
Alex Mitchell, Dan Harris, Cara Carpenter Hotz, Mark Lopez and Justin Breaux (all CPA). This group managed one of the most successful media and public relations campaigns in lab history, promoting our Oleo Sponge to people around the globe. Their efforts resulted in more than 750 media placements worldwide, reaching more than 100 million people and drawing more than 50 million to view a video about the sponge. Their work also attracted 190 serious inquiries from companies looking to license the oleo sponge technology.
Harold Gaines (BIO), Eva Stringer (NST), Sharon Gunter (PSC) and Arista Thurman (AES), who led the Argonne African-American Employee Resource Group (AAA-ERG) in championing the ACT-SO high school research program for African American students. This program raises funds for scholarships for economically challenged African-American students. The resource group also hosted events such as the Mantua Cultural Event during Black History Month and the annual Taste of AAA-ERG.
Michael Merritt (AES) and Oliver Schmidt (ASD), recognized for jumping in to help during an emergency. In early February, a synchrotron device designed and built at the Advanced Photon Source was on a truck bound for SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California when the truck was in an accident. These employees went to the scene, assessed damage and instructed accident recovery personnel on handling a device with a high magnetic field. They secured it for storage and transportation back to Argonne. Thanks to the efforts of these employees, SLAC received the cleaned and reworked device in late February.
Eugene Stewart (NST), who maximized cost savings and minimized operational downtime spent repairing critical components for a signature transmission electron microscope for the Center for Nanoscale Materials. He saved $20,000 on repairs to three key electrical components damaged due to a power issue and enabled user projects to get underway again quickly.