Sunday, March 06, 2005

What happened to Doug Beason the new ADTR?

From Anonymous:

What happened to Doug Beason the new ADTR? There were two postings
about him in Feb. He sounded like a decent, enthusiastic fellow. Did he
shortly thereafter have a little talk with Director Nano or Don Cobb?
Did he find out suddenly and brutally how things really work
for LANL senior management under Nanos?

Beason is alive and well. He is working hard to redefine ADTR, and be more institutional for "work for others" programs. This is a difficult job, and anyone looking for an immediate win is whistling in the wind.

The challenges to ADTR include moving TA-18 (control of which switched to ADWEM), justifying WFO to DP programs, and trying to operate in the Nanos envelope.
Doug Beason was joined by a new face on the SET this week -- Terry Wallace. See story below. Although I am not in ADSR, I have some experience with Wallace, and he seems sort of like Beason.

Wallace named strategic research directorate leader

Terry Wallace is Los Alamos' new associate director of strategic research (ADSR). Wallace has most recently been Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) Division leader.

Wallace takes over leadership of ADSR from acting associate director Micheline Devaurs. Devaurs and Ross Lemons will serve as acting deputy associate directors.

"Part of our ability to maintain and nurture scientific excellence at Los Alamos depends upon identifying skilled leadership. Terry Wallace is well suited to help cultivate the Lab's genius for solving our nation's most pressing scientific problems," said Laboratory Director Pete Nanos. "At the same time, Micheline and Ross have done a tremendous job of getting ADSR operations restarted and figuring out how to do great science in the context of operational excellence. Their service in the last six months is a source of pride to all of us."

Raised in Los Alamos, Wallace returned in May 2003 to take the job of EES deputy division leader. Shortly thereafter, he was named acting division leader and became permanent EES leader in December of that same year. Prior to coming back to Los Alamos, Wallace had been a professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona since 1983. Wallace also was a faculty member in the Applied Mathematics Graduate Program, curator of the University of Arizona Mineral Museum and director of the Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory.

Wallace has authored or co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in various areas of seismology and tectonics, including ground-based nuclear explosion monitoring, plate tectonics, regional Earth structure and forensic seismology. He is the co-author of Modern Global Seismology, one of the most widely used textbooks on the subject.

Wallace received bachelor's degrees in mathematics and geophysics from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 1978. He received his doctorate in seismology from California Institute of Technology in 1983. He received the Macelwane Medal in 1992 from the American Geophysical Union for outstanding research contributions by a young scientist, and in February 2003, Carnegie Museum of Natural History honored him with the 2002 Mineralogical Medal for outstanding contributions in mineralogical preservation, conservation and education.

Wallace has served in a number of professional organizations, including being elected as vice president (1995) and president (1999-2000) of the Seismological Society of America. He was a founding member of the Incorporated Research Institutions in Seismology, an NSF funded consortium of more than 100 seismology-oriented organizations, and served as chairman of that organization from 1994 until 1996.
Anyone notice that things seem to be going to the plan laid out on this page last month? A new director, a new deputy director, Beason (ADTR), Wallace (ADSR) and Hommert (ADWP). Two out of five pieces in place -- when will the others take place?
Doug Beason is a retired USAF colonel who had worked with Nanos while on active duty. Doug is an accomplished manager with oustanding technical and "people skills." He has published numerous books (techno-fiction) and has a numerous technical articles in refereed journals. Doug successfully led complex research and development activities in the Air Force. Unfortunately, Doug along with Terry Wallace who is also an accomplished manager who was selected to run the Strategic Research AD, will be like two tadpoles in a tank of piranhas as long as Nanos and Cobb are loose to cause damage. We all wish the best for both Doug and Terry.
2:22pm implied that Hommert is either brand-new or ADWP in "and Hommert (ADWP)".

Hommert has been the X-Division leader for a bit more than a year. In my view he's demonstrated very good, if not excellent, leadership skills.

Hommert was hired after Rod Wood-Schultz was handed his head by Ray J. one day.

Ironically, Ray J. "left" (pushed?) the Lab not too long after.
4:49 -- last month on the blog an organizational structure for the lab that UC will bid was "leaked". It had 3 ADs on the UC side, including P. Hommert as ADWP. In other words, Paul will be promoted above S. Seestrom. As 4:49 notes, PH is quite good, and is a respected manager. It sounds like UC has some things right, although it seems to be taking forever. Perhaps UC is worried about change in this troubled time, but all the posters to this blog know that the single most important issue to morale at the lab is leadership.

Of course, it is possible that the leaked "bid structure" is fantasy.
Whether or not the "leaked bid structure" is a fantasy, I agree that PH is a very good manager, and better yet, a leader. I cannot agree with every decision he has made, but he does solicit input, communicates his rationale, is willing to place himself in the line of fire, and makes decisions. Best of all, he seems genuinely interested in the welfare of his people, but not at the expense of the mission. It is extremely rare to have somebody like PH in a leadership position at LANL. If he does get promoted to ADWP, it will be X-div's loss, but ADWP's gain.

Lowly butthead, somewhere in X-division.
A note on the 2:22 pm comment: don't hatchet your counts before they chicken (old joke). We could be stuck with Nanos until the contract changeover, unless UC comes to their senses and realizes that his continued presence will drive off even more people. The longer Nanos is here, the less staff there will be for the new contractor to try to put a program plan around.
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