Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Texas, Lockheed begin talks

Texas, Lockheed begin talks

ROGER SNODGRASS,, Monitor Assistant Editor

The University of Texas System and Lockheed Martin have opened a dialogue about a possible teaming arrangement for bidding on the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In Washington, D.C., UT Chancellor Mark G. Yudof said the university and Lockheed Martin were beginning conversations today.

The disclosure came during a press conference following a ceremony at the Capitol to sign a memorandum of understanding between UT and Sandia National Laboratories, a weapons laboratory operated by Lockheed Martin.

Michael Warden, a spokesperson for the university, said the ceremony was held in Washington for the convenience of Sens. Pete Domenici, R-NM, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who had facilitated the agreement and spoke during the occasion.

Yudof and SNL Director C. Paul Robinson also participated in the signing.

The agreement, which was announced in February, strengthens the relationship between UT and SNL.

It calls for the university to conduct a peer review process for the laboratory's science, technology and engineering programs, and proposes developing new mission-related program areas, along with opening interactions and collaborations among individual faculty, staff and students at Sandia and UT.

In an accompanying announcement, Yudof said the agreement represents "a tremendous opportunity to advance the strong, existing relationship between our system and one of the country's premier national laboratories."

After Lockheed Martin announced last week that it was once again interested in the competition for LANL, a UT statement indicated the university was also reconsidering its decision not to compete.

Warden said Yudof had been asked by UT Board of Regents Chairman James R. Huffines to determine whether there had been sufficient changes for the university to reconsider the chancellor's previous recommendation not to proceed with a proposal.

Huffines asked Yudof to report back to the board on April 28.

"Hopefully by that time, the system will have sufficient dialogue with Lockheed Martin to have some idea what partnering might look like," said Warden.

In an announcement this morning, Domenici said, "I believe that UT will be able to help Sandia on issues that are especially critical. UT's expertise in the management of a major research university system complements Lockheed Martin's expertise in engineering and major system development to cover the full suite of activity at Sandia."

Howdy Partners!
Down here at Sandia, hired hands on the technical staff have learned a tad about LockMart management and national security. There are a passel of lawsuits in progress agin Sandia Corporation for alleged illegal and unethical behavior, and I reckon these will be quietly settled afore they get in front of them hangin' judges they got down here. With UT fixin to set up shop to ride herd on all of Sandia's unclassified research, we're gettin ready for them "special case" new employees, city slickers and tenderfoot types, I mean all the UT faculty and grad students who are unable to get hired at UT, get tenure, or are retired in place, but who cain't be terminated or otherwise dislodged from the UT system. Y'all should expect the same if they hitch up their wagons with LockMart and lasso Los Alamos as they're a fixin to do. UT's got them dollar signs in their eyes, thinking huge sums are theirs for the taking in "cooperative research" programs. Cattle rustlers! Last time I checked, the DOE university budget, NSF, and NIH funding pools dwarfed the slim pickins SNL can offer...why ain't UT content with the regular feeding troughs? LockMart has successfully installed an entirely new level of management that keep reorganizing themselves and everyone under them in the management chain, for no apparent reason. Well, there's a right crowd of cowboys and cowgirls down here with 20 to 25 years under their hats, and if things start going much further south, they might just mosey on along...and from the looks of this blog, 'pears to me like they might have company. I ain't fixing to move just yet myself, but there's just so much a man can take before gettin' real ornery, and that's the time to pull up stakes. Happy Trails!
If true we're equally screwed no matter who gets the contract. I think it's time to move on down the trail. I, like many of my colleagues, have offers in "the real world".
I'm sorry but "Happy Trails" doesn't seem like a guy with a pocket protector full of pencils. Certainly, like all big organizations, we have our share of problems but believe it or not we still have no problem recruiting great engineers and scientists. How's your recruiting going up on the hill? Answer that question and you will have all the comparative information you need to chart a course to the future.
The unforetunate fact is that recruiting on the hill is not going all that bad. We still get sufficient numbers of top-level applicants to fill positions. But, the quantity of top-level applicants has gone down. The fact is that other employers (govennment labs as well as industry) are really not that much better. For the new hires, the existing problems do not seem to be that much of an issue.
Why is “recruiting on the hill is not going all that bad” an unfortunate fact?
It's unfortunate for the people who come here not yet realizing how bad things really are here. They are in for a rude awakening. The recruiters are every bit as good at lying as Nanos and his PR team are.
I agree with the 2:17 PM post: hiring officials are somewhat desparate and are not presenting the complete picture. I suspect that we are not getting the veyr top applicants that we once got and this means that our future in doing good science is bleak.

Also, if recruiting were clearly going bad somebody in the DOE might start to get the message. Of course, that is probably a naive thought.

Because the unfortunate new hires will find themselves newly employed at a LANL that is rapidly being destroyed by its present management team.
Meanwhile, all is well at SNL, we get most new technical hires from UNM, or internet MBAs for the admin side, we need UT brains because whatever technical edge we once had resides in fewer people, closer to retirement...

I detect a hidden message about life at SNL.

Believe me, it just about has to be utopia compare to LANL.
Regarding the 6:44 PM post, I do get up every morning and look in the mirror and say: "I'm glad that I am not Sandia!"
Not yet, anyway.
Senator: Sandia could be model for Los Alamos Lab
By James W. Brosnan
Scripps Howard News Service
April 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - A Texas Republican senator says an agreement between Lockheed Corp., which manages Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of Texas could be a template for operating Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison made the comment after University of Texas officials and Sandia President C. Paul Robinson signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday.

Under that agreement, the laboratories will reimburse the University of Texas for independent peer review studies to assess Sandia's science and engineering programs.

"I think we are looking at the model at Sandia that I hope can be replicated at Los Alamos, where you have a corporate business organization in partnership with a university," Hutchison said.

She said Lockheed has shown at Sandia that you "have much better results, more efficiency and more innovation" when you put a business organization in charge of a lab.

Robinson said of the agreement, "We think it will become the strongest model for academic-industrial partnerships and a new positioning of all the national labs to move forward in this century." He also noted that Lockheed is the largest employer of University of Texas engineering graduates.

University of Texas officials are in talks with Lockheed about joining the corporation's planned bid against the University of California and possibly others to manage Los Alamos. The university's Board of Regents is scheduled to discuss the bid in a special session April 28.

Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof said they also consider the Sandia agreement to be a "national model" but said speculation on their decision about Los Alamos is "premature."

Sen. Pete Domenici also was present for the signing of the agreement in Hutchison's office.

The Albuquerque Republican said the Sandia-Texas agreement "will not cause ripples, but will be accepted and will end up being good for our country, good for the state of Texas and good for Sandia." Domenici left before Hutchison made her comments to reporters about the Los Alamos contract.
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