Dec. 17, 2019
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Workforce magazine names LLNL 2019 Optimas winner

Carrie L Martin, martin59 [at], 925-424-4715

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) was announced as a winner in the General Excellence category of the 2019 Optimas Awards by Workforce magazine, a Human Capital Media publication. The awards program, celebrating its 29th year, recognizes companies achieving successful measurable business outcomes through visionary and impactful human resources initiatives.

Twenty-two companies were named winners from this year’s pool of nominees. Gold, silver and bronze Optimas Awards were given in the following categories: benefits, business impact, corporate citizenship, global outlook, innovation, managing change, partnership, recruiting, training and vision. General Excellence was awarded to LLNL for demonstrating excellence in at least six of the aforementioned categories.

Workforce Magazine Cover
Susan Lowder, right, with Elizabeth Grace, a fourth-year graduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in physics and a winner of the Laboratory’s poster presentation.

“For over 29 years we’ve seen companies place increasing importance on human resources initiatives, realizing the potential a strong HR department can have on business growth,” said Rick Bell, editorial director of Workforce magazine. “This year’s finalists stand out in an ever-expanding field of qualified nominees, and we’re pleased to see so many organizations using innovative HR practices to improve their business.”

The credit for this award goes to the Laboratory’s Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM) Talent Acquisition Team for its efforts to enhance the Lab’s student programs and improve the hiring pipeline through a comprehensive and inclusive internship program. This robust program showed excellence in corporate citizenship, innovation, managing change, partnership, recruiting and training and vision categories, placing LLNL among an elite group of organizations.

"Our team is honored to be recognized for this contribution to the Lab’s success," said Renée Breyer, SHRM director. "Being acknowledged with this prestigious award further promotes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a great place to work and will certainly help us with our recruiting efforts. I also believe that this type of inspirational program will re-recruit our current employees as they make the choice to develop their career with us.”

The SHRM Talent Acquisition Team coordinates and hosts the annual two-day Student Poster Symposium for nearly 400 summer students. During the symposium, students showcase their research projects while sharpening their communication skills by presenting their work to their peers, mentors and Laboratory employees.

The Talent Acquisition Team has transformed this event into a huge success and over the years has increased student participation by 33 percent. In recent years the Scholar Programs team has built a more robust event for students to participate.

“In addition to focusing on highlighting each student’s individual skill set and talents, we set out to bring these high-performing students to the attention of more mentors, as well as all levels of management, in hopes of enhancing our hiring pipeline,” said Susan Lowder, scholars and visiting scientists group lead for Talent Acquisition in SHRM. “From 2014 to date, student hiring and Academic Cooperation Participants has increased by 56 percent.” 

Dona Crawford, board president of the Livermore Lab Foundation and former Computing associate director at LLNL, presented the awards along with monetary awards at a ceremony at the conclusion of the symposium.

“The involvement of the LLF providing support and cash awards took the annual poster symposium to the next level,” Lowder said. “It’s an honor for us to be recognized with this Optimas Award. It is due to the hard work and creativity of many people here at LLNL. I love the fact that I am surrounded by such bright people that are willing to partner with each other and make a difference.” 

Optimas Award winners were initially announced on and LLNL is profiled in the November/December issue of Workforce magazine.

For more information on the program and past winners,  visit the web and see the November/December Workforce magazine issue.