LIVERMORE, Calif — After taking on such top assignments as deputy project manager for the National Ignition Facility, associate director for Engineering, and acting deputy director, Glenn Mara has been named as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Deputy Director for Operations.
The appointment was made by LLNL Director Michael Anastasio and confirmed by the University of California Regents and by the National Nuclear Security Administration on Thursday.
In making his appointment, Anastasio said that Mara is ideally suited for the role of deputy director. “Glenn will continue to integrate operational issues and improve efficiencies across the Lab,” said Anastasio. “He will be responsible for all LLNL operational aspects and elements and will assure our performance meets all requirements and regulations. He is a wonderful addition to our senior management team.”
Mara has served as the acting Deputy Director since July, when he was asked to take over the role held by Anastasio before being named director. As deputy director it will be Mara’s responsibility to continue to foster successful relationships between the Laboratory, University of California, National Nuclear Security Administration and external partners, such as the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, peer organizations and laboratories in the DOE complex, private industry and the community.
“It’s an honor to be selected,” said Mara. “The Laboratory is at a time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity. We have come through some challenging times with a mission that is well-established. We are hitting on all cylinders and I think that’s a wonderful position to be in. I look forward to setting the table for the next 50 years.”
Mara already has identified six initial priorities:
• Ensure the delivery of all program commitments and deliverables
• Ensure the successful retention and recruitment of a quality workforce;
• Revisit the Lab’s entire science and technology investment portfolio;
• Continue business and operational efficiencies
• Assist in the evolution of the Lab’s role in the new Department of Homeland Security;
• Build and improve upon the UC partnership and relationship.
Mara’s 31-year career at the Laboratory spans a broad range of technical and management assignments. He joined the Laboratory in 1971 as a materials scientist/welding engineer in the Chemistry Department. In 1980, he became the Metals and Ceramics Division leader. In 1983, Mara joined Engineering as the deputy of the Materials Fabrication Division. In 1985, he became the Nuclear Test Engineering Division leader. In 1987, he joined the Nuclear Test Program as R Program test engineering leader, ultimately serving as the Nevada Experiment Program leader, where he directed the LLNL field and engineering resources to support the execution of underground nuclear tests and experiments at the Nevada Test Site.
In 1998, Mara became the Weaponization Program leader and Defense Technologies Engineering Division leader. In 2001, Mara joined the National Ignition Facility Program Directorate as NIF principal deputy project manager.
Mara graduated from Ohio State University in 1971 with a bachelor’s and master’s of science in welding engineering. A registered professional engineer, Mara is also the author of several publications and holds several patents.
A resident of Fremont since 1980, Mara is married to Beth Bayert Mara, an elementary school teacher. They have three children, Nathan, Andres and Kathryn.
A special Q and A with Glenn Mara follows:
Question: How will your job as deputy director differ from your predecessors?
Glenn Mara: The current role is more strongly aligned with Laboratory operations. In that sense it is closer to the role that Bob Kuckuck played but not identical. (Kuckuck served as DDO prior to Mike Anastasio). We have a relatively new senior management team, with three associate directors focusing on critical institutional themes (Administration and Human Resources; Safety, Security and Environmental Programs; and Laboratory Services).
I believe this organization can serve the Laboratory well, and it provides a strong team operating at the AD level. One of my challenges will be to foster teamwork and effective partnering among all the directorates to best execute the mission.
Q: What are your priorities as deputy director?
G.M.: • Deliver on our institutional and program commitments with particular emphasis on the infrastructure and operations required to be successful — quality products and operations done safely and with the proper attention on security, the environment, and the health of the workforce and the community;
• Ensure a quality workforce and work environment;
• Ensure balanced science, technology, and infrastructure investments;
• Improved quality, efficiency, and flexibility of operations;
• Build and improve upon our partnerships (DOE/NNSA, UC, LANL, etc.).
A major focus will be the Workload Reduction Initiative started by Mike Anastasio and Associate Deputy Directors Merna Hurd and Lee Younker to reduce low value activities, streamline operations, and improve management systems. NNSA is committed to this effort and we are major players.
Q: Will you participate in the upcoming workforce reviews?
G.M.: Yes. These reviews provide the opportunity for the senior managers to address, in a common forum, our most important resource — the people.
Q: Do you expect any significant institutional changes in any of the key areas?
G.M.: I would describe any changes as continued improvements. Consider the area of operational efficiency and flexibility. Over the past decade, the Lab has made significant progress in cutting costs. In concert with DOE/NNSA we are now engaged in working to streamline processes, improve management systems, and eliminate low value bureaucratic activities.
As we set G&A budgets, we are placing emphasis on institutional investments in operations and infrastructure that have broad value to all Laboratory organizations.
Our 10-year institutional plan and facility maintenance strategy have gotten excellent recognition outside the Lab; we are now placing additional emphasis on strategic investments and site utilization, particularly in light of homeland security and the need to protect LLNL physical assets.
We are committed to restructuring the performance management system, and I expect that the Workforce Reviews will reinforce attaining that objective. The AD Salary Committee and the Survey Action Team implementation are also key.
With regard to the quality of the work environment, I believe we have an exceptional workplace that we can continue to improve upon. What is needed are some enhancements, not a major overhaul. This includes the investments identified by the Survey Action Team members. We have already committed FY03 funds to make solid progress in this area.
We have an aging workforce and critical skills that must be sustained and new capabilities that must be acquired. Bringing along the next generation workforce and leaders is of paramount importance. Our projected rates of attrition coupled with modest program growth afford an excellent opportunity to hire — clearly one of the most important and lasting decisions we make in managing the workplace.
In these and other areas, we can and will make changes to enable the Laboratory to deal with the challenges and opportunities that will define our next 50 years.
Q: You have been in this job as an acting deputy for a few months. Is the view different in this job from other areas of the Lab?
G.M.: The view is not as different as one might think. It is different in the sense that my previous roles had me interact with a wide range of DOE organizations, the other labs, industry, and many University partners. But now it’s in an expanded role, with much more of an institutional perspective. It also includes greater emphasis on the community and additional parts of the University and DOE.
A concern I have is that it is very easy to become removed from the heartbeat and pulse of the Lab. You are dealing with many external drivers and pressures that take you away from the “action”. You can quickly become isolated living on the fifth floor of Bldg. 111. The key is to strike the right balance — avoid getting immersed and overwhelmed by the magnitude of Laboratory operational details, while keeping a finger on that vital pulse.
Q: How would you describe your management style?
G.M.: I’m a very hands-on manager and my view of management is that it is truly a contact sport. I wouldn’t know how to do it any other way. So that’s why I make a concerted effort to have a good fraction of my meetings and interactions out of the office and away from the fifth floor.
Q: Talk about the relationship between the director, the two deputies and the executive officer. How do you envision working with them on a day-to-day basis?
G.M.: I think it’s imperative that we develop into a well coordinated and synchronized team, particularly when one considers the number of relatively new senior managers. We’re fortunate that we have stability in the Director’s Office staff. think the chemistry of the group is very good and we have started off well. A key feature is that Michael Anastasio has made a commitment to working closely with the group of ADs and his senior staff, placing emphasis on senior management teamwork and cross-directorate partnering. I’m excited about the prospects and the potential of this team.
Q: If employees have ideas on some of the things you’ve outlined, are you open to hearing from them?
G.M.: Without question. I’m open to ideas, whether it’s how to do a program better or a new S&T investment that might pay off for homeland security, or just how we move traffic around the Lab. The best things that have come out of this Lab clearly have roots in the creativity of the workforce. It’s part of our culture and I will do everything I can to continue to foster the free flow of ideas and debate. The Lab has a rich history that includes an incredible degree of personal and professional freedom combined with prudent risk taking. We can’t lose that important element of our “genetic code.” It is a critical part of what defines LLNL as a great national laboratory, and will serve us well as we go into our next 50 years.
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and to apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
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