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NNSA Announces Safety Professional of the Year Awards

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the winners of the federal and contractor Safety Professional of the Year awards for 2010. These awards recognize distinguished service and outstanding safety-related achievements and contributions that serve to accomplish the NNSA mission.

At an all hands meeting in Amarillo, Texas, NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino presented the Federal Safety Professional of the Year Award to Bryan T. Rhodes, the Fire Protection Engineer at the Pantex Site Office (PXSO). Rhodes is responsible for the Safety System Oversight of nuclear and explosive facility fire protection systems and the Pantex Fire Protection Program.

NNSA also announced that Gerhardt (Gary) R. Griess, Director of Environment, Health, Safety & Quality for National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec) at the Nevada Site Office, was named the 2010 NNSA Management and Operating (M&O) Contractor Safety Professional of the Year. Griess is responsible for environmental programs, industrial hygiene, ecological and environmental monitoring, occupational safety, quality assurance, aviation safety, radiological control, and the Nuclear Testing Archives for NSTec, the M&O contractor for the Nevada National Security Site.

“In our line of work, operating at the highest levels of safety and security is an absolute necessity and these gentlemen exemplify the excellence, professionalism and drive to do better that each of us should aspire to,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook.” An emphasis on continuous improvement is engrained in the safety culture, but that same idea is also essential to the future of the nuclear security enterprise as we invest the resources we need to accomplish our mission and implement the president’s nuclear security agenda.”

Bryan T. Rhodes demonstrated strong leadership in the implementation of a robust Fire Protection Program at the Pantex Plant and in promoting high standards of performance through numerous document reviews and field observations, during which he identified and oversaw numerous improvements. He has a keen ability to identify and solve process weaknesses that have resulted in substantial improvements to both the systems he oversees and to the contractor’s fire protection program. Rhodes also worked closely with the contractor to develop fire protection performance indicators, which provide important metrics for the overall program.

Gerhardt (Gary) R. Griess demonstrated outstanding leadership in orchestrating a value-added integrated approach to implementation of the NSTec Environment Safety & Health program. Due in part to this initiative, NSTec was awarded in 2010 the DOE VPP Superior Star Award, which cited NSTec as a leader in safety and health performance. Griess also led the NNSA, NSTec Aviation Programs to receive the DOE Office of Aviation Management – Jeff Snow Aviation Program Memorial Award and the GSA Federal Aviation Program Award (Small Programs) during 2010.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.