Sunday, June 26, 2005

There's so much low-hanging fruit for fixing at LANL

A comment from the

http://lanl-the-real-story.blogspot.com/2005/06/retirements-at-lanl.html

post:

6/26/2005 07:03:16 PM certainly was a pessimistic posting. I don't feel nearly so pessimistic, having watched the disease at LANL take hold over the last 10 years, I think we have real potential.

I wasn't really wild about the recompete, particularly since it seemed to be initiated by the politicians in Washington, who don't have a great record of solving problems well.

But having gone through the horrible last two years with Nanos at the helm, crashing our ship into one set of rocks after another, all the while blaming the crew down below, I think we have huge potential.

The Gross Receipts tax and management fee is going to be an issue, but SNL hasn't gotten to walk on it and is, by many accounts, thriving, so I don't see how LANL is so different that we're just going to curl up our toes and die because of this.

The horrendous inefficiency in procurement, HR, facilities (including, if not especially KSL) borders on astounding. Fixing this by making these functions productive, proactive, efficient and turning their customers from the "regulations" to the Laboratory, could potentially save enough money each year to pay the GRT and management fee easily.

Throw in functional, lean, efficient program management and I think we could save that amount over again. Tarantino's organization has grown like a weed and is now bigger than I could ever imagine it would be. There are gobs of people in that program "office" that I have no idea what they do, but one thing is for sure: they're about controlling funding, not understanding the work or doing the work.

There's so much low-hanging fruit for fixing at LANL it's hard to know where to begin.

It is likely to be painful for a lot of the organizations that have been allowed to self-manage themselves into serving as useless impediments to the mission--and the front-line employees are going to suffer for the failures of the institution.

I'm sure a lot of those folks come in to work trying to do a good job, but SUP, HR, PM and PADNWP are so massive, hide-bound and clueless about who their customer is and what the mission is that there has been little hope that good people could do a good job.

Now let's add to this mix the ghastly management information systems available to these same organization to operate the business, and almost all hope of efficiency is extinguished. Just try to write PR, or check on the status of a new-hire, or see what your spending is against your budget, or see who is charging against your budget that shouldn't be (and should never have been able to) and you'll see what a nighmare our systems are.

Oh, and lets not forget the fabulous, $100M+ "Enterprise System" with it's bewildering user interface, and near-requirement to use the 4+ year old Internet Explorer, with it's hundreds of security vulnerabilities and desparate dependence on Windows--with many more vulnerabilities, and we'll see we've been pouring more money down the LANL MIS rat-hole.

The damage to programs a 12 week procurement for services incurs is not accounted for directly. We all see lost opportunity every day, and if this were fixed by competent management, the benefits to the institution would be huge.

We have a top-fuel dragster of a national laboratory, sitting burning rubber while securely chained to a 10,000 lb block of bureacracy, moving little while spending gobs of effort to do it.

Revitalizing LANL is going to hurt these dinasaur organizations, and the people who work for them, sadly. But it's either do this, or continue to watch the body of the institution die from the necrosis brought on by UC's non-management.


Comments:
I am not at all optimistic that there is any hope of fixing HR, FM, SUP, etc. These people are ingrained and tenacious. The only fix here is to change the leadership in these organizations AND to reduce their quantity of staff. Hecker attempted to reduce the overhead staff in 1995 but this turned out bad. These organizations are disproportionately staffed with females and minorities and RIFfing them while keeping the predominately white male TSMs and predominately male TECs would not be politically correct. Even though LANL prevailed in the lawsuit (the only discrimination found by the jury was against a 50+ year old white male TSM), the DOE decided against LANL in an administrative hearing and we were forced to hire a number of the RIFees back. The majority of them ended up in SUP, FM, etc. and are now getting their revenge.

Outsourcing these support functions would also be difficult for the same reasons. One of the many remanents of Admiral Queeg was the conversion of contractor positions to UC regular postions. When most of these positions were filled with contract personnel, it would have been much easier to eliminate or outsource them. The retirements this year and next year will be mostly the higher-compensated TSMs and TECs. That will solve the budget problem brought on by the nearly ten-fold in crease in management fee and the loss of the gross receipts tax exemption. Of course, losing these people will have a very bad consequence for getting the direct-funded work done, but that has become a very low priority.
 
The "low hanging fruit" post was insightful and accurate. As a result, you may be attacked by the UC at any cost crowd.
 
Is there a lot of low hanging fruit?

Apparently, yes.

Is anyone, who has the ability to pick this fruit, willing to pick it?

Apparently not.

Many individuals seem to want a white knight to come in and pick it for them. (An odd image, I admit.)

Are a significan number of the 11,000 people at the lab willing to support a fruit picker or are they more willing to watch the fruit picker get shot?

The puzzling but strongly supported conclusion from this blog and other places is that there seem to be many people at many levels who are willing to watch and to complain but who are not actively willing to work effectively as fruit pickers.

As Paul Robinson and many others have said, you have to take ownership of a problem and be willing to work for its solution before anything happens. To steal an old quote from Malcolm X, " If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

I hope that 'taking ownership' will happen soon and that many people will do their parts.

However, anyone who might want to take ownership of their single piece of fruit needs help and support if there is to be any effect. Picking of the low lying fruit can't continue to be viewed by many as someone else's problem. As long as it is someone else's problem, as long as those attempting to pick fruit are shot in the front or the back, the lack of fruit picking should not be too surprising.

So the real question continues to be who has the courage to start picking fruit and who will support them?

Thoughts?
 
The 12:26 poster has the facts wrong. The 1995 RIF lawsuit was not a discrimination suit; it was a tort claim centering on "breach of contract". The issue was the LANL RIF process used, and violation of employee rights.
Racial discrimination in the selection process was found; in an investigation by the OFCCP. This result was used as evidence during the RIF trial.
 
Anonymous at 6/27/2005 08:02:22 AM can say whatever s/he wants. The fact is that the suit was decided in favor of LANL for four of the five plaintiffs. The only successful plaintif was a 50+ year old white male TSM.
 
Eric,

I appreciate what you wrote in your 6:42 post. Unfortunately, the bodies of many people who attempted to "pick the low hanging fruit" litter the battlefield. You would know if you were there.

It is apparent to anybody with significant tenure at the lab that the problems are so complex, and empires so well established, that it will take nothing less than the imposition of a new emperor to fix the problems. UC management has demonstrated an unwillingness and/or inability to do so.

The analogy of "low hanging fruit" is somewhat deceptive in that it is only "low hanging" for the new management team. It is out of reach for the average staff person at the lab.

-A veteran of "low hanging fruit" battles.
 
Productivity: We need to be good at fixing or terminating poor performers- instead we work around them far too often. Another problem is that probably half of us are less productive as we approach retirement- we need to know when to go. Meeting free days would help immensely- at least one per week lab-wide. Many meetings drone on and on- keeping 20 or more people stuck in a room. What if every meeting had a timed agenda? We could give a performance measure for staying on track- and keeping meetings short.

There are some basic reasons for organizational (over)growth. First, everyone wants an assistant. Then the assistant wants an assistant. Second, if you are a LANL division office, what do you do with extra high-level people? Absorb them on overhead, and most division offices are huge as a result. Third- if DOE gives you a LANL wide directive- like community outreach- you throw people at it and charge overhead.

I propose we allow excess "support side" time and incentives to retrain as "techies". Some personnel will take this option if offered. If the majority are females and minorities - that should even out the TSM and TEC ranks somewhat. The money generators often could use extra people to do their projects- but can't afford them because of high overhead rates. The support-to-tech solution will help them (in two to five years).
 
12:14, I would be very interested in seeing how many of LANL's current 2356 UC Regular employees with NO degree make use of current educational opportunities.
 
12:59

I think many would particiate if the choice was to go tech or be RIFfed.

FYI- It is very difficult to get a BS degree completed once you are employed at LANL- as there is no local 4-year college. Once you have the BS, a technical MS is much easier through the grad center. Currently, the Lab is of little help with a further education, except to reimburse tuition.

Espanola just turned their community college into a 4-year school, so Los Alamos could do the same with the branch. Or the lab could contract with one of the schools with an active distance education program- like Princeton or Idaho. I don't know what they do over in HR (training), but helping employees find active distance ed. programs is not on their list. Neither is encouraging UNM, NMSU, or NM Tech to cooperate with each other and LANL employee/students. We need more opportunities here.
 
Regarding the 6/27/2005 04:24:11 PM comment: there really is not a lot of TSM work at LANL that can (should) be done by BS-level C students. That is what will make it tough to transition non-technical personnel to direct-funded work. Of course, if they are really stupid, there should be a place for them on the fourth floor of the Admin building.
 
I am disgusted by the arrogance I read on this page. There are worthwhile, hard working people in the lab who are not Phds. And there are plenty of Phds who were once tops in their fields who don't do jack.
Sorry, I have supported this lab for over twenty years and I got sick and tired of being treated like a retard so I retired.
I hope you geniuses enjoy the mess you are in. Too bad you can't appreciate the situation of anyone but yourselves. Have fun with Lockheed Martin. They could care less about your Phds.
 
I think all systems -- procurement, human relations, information management, and building maintenance should be populated entirely by people with Phds in the sciences because of their superior knowledge of everything -- but human relations being their greatest strength.
I am sure the toilet paper will be the finest quality and the orders will be accomplished overnight while complying perfectly with all the multitudious government regulations regarding purchasing anything including toilet paper. And imagine the quality of the pens and pencils we will receive. No C students for LANL. Yipes. Who would think of such a thing!
And these Phds in Physics and Chemistry and Materials Science, please, no lowly Biologists, will write such software as is beyond description in its perfection. It will be efficient, elegant, and of course self documenting, none of this off the shelf stuff for us.
And we will do all of our finanical transactions on Linus, for which we will write our own self-documenting programs of the greatest elegance. The manual will be 10 pages and will contain no pictures.
And the best thing of all is the price. Phd's are so smart and fast and efficient that their pathetic little salaries will be as nothing given the vast improvements that will ensue.
Gee, why didn't we think of this sooner! Naturally only about 2% of these Phds are Hispanics or Blacks, but someone let in a rather large minority of women. There goes the kingdom! What can you expect in this stupid world. All this rif-raf seems to think they deserve something and have somehting to offer.
How we geniuses have to suffer!
 
7:01, would be quite funny if it wasn't so true!!!
 
Why does it require a huge team of external consultants to deploy "off the shelf" software?
 
5:30, the numbers do not appear to support your general line of reasoning.

There are 3915 UC Regular TSMs (out of 8584 UC Regular employees). TSMs by highest degree: 1835 PhD; 1118 MA/MS; 841 BA/BS; 28 DVM/JD/MD; 93 None/Assoc/Others.

It looks like the N/A/O + Bachelors + Masters (2052) add up to more than the DVM/JD/MD + PhDs (1863).

So it looks like more than 1/2 the TSM level work can, and is, done by those with less than a PhD degree.
 
To 8:07PM, because we do not have anyone smart enough on the inside. What would all the consultant handler's jobs be if it was not so?
 
In my 20+ years at LANL I have seen alot. I can tell you that there are plenty of people with degrees that are dumb as a fence post with the personalities of a turnip. Just seems that in the last few years there are moore of them. Its called the "entitlement" generation.
 
Actually, 7:01, I was thinking the opposite to make the money go further. I doubt the lab needs 3915 TSMs out of 8584 UC regular employees. That's 46% of the Lab doing "technical" work. 1860 PhDs (22%)? Way too many. Those people need a good RIF to get their minds right.

I was thinking maybe more like a 10% TSM population doing some "show-and-tell" technical work to keep the money coming to Northern NM. Many technical reports produced here go unread, so a show-and-tell approach appears workable. Having fewer TSMs allows hiring more people for the dollar, what these additional employees do doesn't particularly matter.

The goal is to have the largest number of people on the payroll, with the smallest number of TSMs needed to keep the show-and-tell going to bring in the money.
 
We don't just have a lot of low-hanging-fruit at LANL. We have a lot of highly placed fruitcakes.
Only one of the 5 cases against the lab succeeded after 1995 RIF, but the lab settled with the large group of riffees who sued it and gave them money, attorney's fees and their jobs back. Is this a win for LANL? I don't think so.
 
In response to Anonymous At 6/28/2005 08:27:38 AM:
If you look closely, most of the BS level TSMs are in the overhead organizations: FM, HSR, S, PS, etc. These are precisely the organizations that are bloated and perform poorly. This is where we need to cut staff. The vast majority of the technical work of T, P, DX, etc is not going to be done by BS-level TSMs.
 
Looked closely at a few and found that:

S has 9 BA/BS, and 11 PhD TSMs; PS has 13 BA/BS and 8 PhD; HSR has 25 BA/BS and 22 PhD; FM has 46 BA/BS and 1 PhD.

DX has 47 BA/BS and 73 PhD TSMs; ESA has 86 BA/BS and 76 PhD.

In fact for all of ADWEM there are 232 BA/BS and 172 PhD TSMs; for ADWP there are 210 BA/BS and 584 PhD.

Not many BA/BS in P, X, T, B and a few others.
 
"If you look closely, most of the BS level TSMs are in the overhead organizations: FM, HSR, S, PS, etc."

The figures indicate otherwise, 10:01.

Assuming the following breakdown of Directorates:

Support - ADA, ADSFO, ADTS, DIR

Non-Support - ADSR, ADTR, ADWEM, ADWP, PADNWP

The Support Directorates have a total of 230 BS and 127 PhD TSM, while the Non-Support Directorates have a total of 611 BS and 1708 PhD TSM.
 
Your manager at LANL frankly doesn't care if you have a Ph.D. MS, BS, JD, MD, or all of these combined. If you have more degrees or a more prestigious degree than him he is going to make life miserable for you out of jealousy. If you have fewer degrees than him, he is going to treat you like a secretary and have you making coffee and doing xeroxing. Either way you can't win.
 
To Anonymous at 6/28/2005 12:38:42 PM:

thanks for the detailed info of TSM staffing. BUT, it remains that in the support organizations the ratio of BS to PhD is 230/127 = 1.8:1 while in the technical organizations the ratio is 611/1708 = 0.36:1. That's the point! It is 5X lower in the technical organizations. The technical work is more likely to be performed by a PhD than a BS. The other thing left out of the calculation is that hte support organizations have a lot of SSMs, often with an MBA from the likes of the University of Phoenix.
 
To 08:07:32:
It doesn't. I worked in the field for over twenty years and only saw huge teams of consultants for Lotus Notes -- which has now been dropped, and Oracle. The reason for the Oracle ones is that Oracle is not "off the shelf software" and LANL doesn't pay enough to hire people who really know Oracle to work here. They have to rely on consultants.
Was Oracle a great idea? I honestly don't know but it is a cash cow for Oracle. Is there something better? I don't know anyone -- even those working on the Oracle projects, who knows.
 
To 6/27/2005 12:26:35 AM:
It isn't just politically correct to rif mostly women and hispanics, it is illegal. Bummer for white males, who are, unfortunately for them, a minority attempting to hang on to their control of all resources in the country.
 
Organizational prima donas are funny people. As an Air Force veteran, the prima donas were the pilots. I spent over 20 years listening to them brag about their combat sorties and how many hours they had in various aircraft. Interestingly, the more senior the pilot, the better manager they became.
In fact, it didn't matter if they ever had any experience running your operations -- they were just going to be better because they could fly an airplane. Apparently, good hand-eye coordination and lots of time in the air was sufficient for managerial success. Then I came to LANL and found out the AF had it all wrong. It really wasn't lots of time spent in airplane cockpits that makes great managers, it's lots of time spent in school. It turns out great managers have lots of degrees, not lots of sorties. Dumb AF. They should make their pilots get PhDs.
 
Hmm. Some people think the problem is UC. Others think it is the incompetents within LANL. Others think it is the arrogant PhDs. Funny thing is, if you look around at other DOE labs, it is the SAME EVERYWHERE. What is common? DOE. Not a very hard conclusion to make. It doesn't matter who the contractor is, their efforts or lack thereof, or competence or arrogance of employees or lack thereof is irrelevant when you have the guiding hand of total idiots controlling everything.

They apparently have an idiot indoctrination program, too, since I have known decent people who went there and became useless in no time.
 
Lotus notes is by far a better mail system than eudora or others used by many LANL people. It has improved over the years and is used in many world class organizations. Same with Oracle. Both Sandia and LLNL use Oracle very effectively and most like it (it will NEVER be the case that everyone loves an administrative system-- too bad). We will never be able to enjoy good administrative systems if we choose by a vote, which has always been the method in the past. It's not a democracy when chosing administrative systems. Choose one and make it work. Period.

We do need to manage admin systems and the people in those organizations need to understand who the customer is. But they have to follow established lab procedures and if someone is not willing to follow those procedures, too bad.

Past administrations have been afraid to make the scientific staff follow procedures. Science is god. That has led us, in part, to where we are today. The administrative staff has to be allowed to be competent in their field, just like the scientists need to be competent in theirs. Lack of respect for them causes immense problems for the organization.

A cure for the sickness at LANL lies in mutual respect, working together to make things work, and helping to make the institution great again.
 
Lotus notes is by far a better mail system than eudora or others used by many LANL people. It has improved over the years and is used in many world class organizations. Same with Oracle. Both Sandia and LLNL use Oracle very effectively and most like it (it will NEVER be the case that everyone loves an administrative system-- too bad). We will never be able to enjoy good administrative systems if we choose by a vote, which has always been the method in the past. It's not a democracy when chosing administrative systems. Choose one and make it work. Period.

We do need to manage admin systems and the people in those organizations need to understand who the customer is. But they have to follow established lab procedures and if someone is not willing to follow those procedures, too bad.

Past administrations have been afraid to make the scientific staff follow procedures. Science is god. That has led us, in part, to where we are today. The administrative staff has to be allowed to be competent in their field, just like the scientists need to be competent in theirs. Lack of respect for them causes immense problems for the organization.

A cure for the sickness at LANL lies in mutual respect, working together to make things work, and helping to make the institution great again.
 
To Poster 8:08 pm -


You ask for mutual respect, but would then push crappy software like
Lotus Notes and Oracle down the throats of all the LANL staff? Sounds
like you have a strongly vested interest in these two products.

You're not looking for mutual respect. You're looking for job security.
There is ample data on the web and in business magazines discussing
just how poorly these products have performed in many corporate
work places. Their complexity has resulted in an extremely lucrative
field of "expert consultants" who make a lot of money trying to
fix up the messes left in the wake of their corporate roll-outs.

Don't believe me? Then take a look at this current article, one of many,
from the Bible of the business world, none other than Forbes.

===== IBM In Denial Over Lotus Notes - Forbes - April 6, 2005 =====

http://www.forbes.com/2005/04/06/cz_dl_0406notes.html

in which the article states:

--------------------
"Conceived in 1984 and introduced in 1989, Notes has a user interface
that some consider dated and overly complex. The product is also costly
to operate, some say."

"Meanwhile, Notes consultants have resorted to bashing market researchers
who say Notes is slipping, suggesting on blogs that these analysts are
extreme outliers who lack credibility and/or are shills who were paid off
by Microsoft."

"Despite all this research, IBM and its head-in-the-sand Lotus "community"
insist they're still number one. Which, paradoxically, helps explain why
they're not.
--------------------

You wouldn't be one of these Lotus Notes "shills", now, would you?
 
Haven't all of our past directors had Phds'?Including Nanos. Physics wasn't it
? Why don't we make all support persons SSMs or tecs. Is a DGL in FMd with a BS in math really a TSM? I don't think so. Leave the TSM positions for real sceintists.The rest of us are just as important but we really aren't TSMs'.
Signed a fully qualified,reasonably successful,hardworking,well paid but frustrated SSM in a support group.
 
To 6/28/2005 09:48:45 PM, What is the point of your frustration? You sound content.
 
08:05:40 PM has it right. While I'm sure that it is fun for some people within the lab to snipe at coworkers (TSMs vs SSMs vs whatever), the real problem is DOE/NNSA. While I do know a few good DOE/NNSA people, I am generally unimpressed with their skills, ability to comprehend and reason, or in their problem-solving abilities.

Yes, the lab has its share of incompetents too. Why else would ill-conceived DOE/NNSA policies be implemented so badly at LANL? It is then easy to snipe at the workers (TSMs, SSMs, Tecs, Admins, whatever) that *try* to their jobs in this screwed up environment - perhaps you might label somebody who comes up with creative ways to work as a "cowboy" or a "butthead." But the original problem was, is and always will be DOE/NNSA.

The sooner we recognize who the real set of culprits are, the easier it will be to adapt to this surreal environment called a "national laboratory" and get back to focusing on our work. The enemy is not us, although the real enemy would have you believe so. In fact, I'm sure that they get a real chuckle out of watching us snipe at each other.
 
" To Anonymous at 6/28/2005 12:38:42 PM:

thanks for the detailed info of TSM staffing. BUT, it remains that in the support organizations the ratio of BS to PhD is 230/127 = 1.8:1 while in the technical organizations the ratio is 611/1708 = 0.36:1. That's the point! It is 5X lower in the technical organizations. The technical work is more likely to be performed by a PhD than a BS. The other thing left out of the calculation is that hte support organizations have a lot of SSMs, often with an MBA from the likes of the University of Phoenix."

To 2:35 PM

In technical divisions or groups the work is more likely to be performed by technicians. In some cases the idea may have come from a TSM, but the tech. does the work (proof). In other cases the TSM does not have a clue and relies on the TECH to configure their concept. For the most part TSM's could not perform within their job descriptions without technicians doing the work for them!
 
I am apalled that TECs and SSMs can't/won't understand that there is a difference in the work they do and the work that PhD scientists do. We are here because of the scientists and for no other reason. The welfare state that supports the weapons scientists supports everyone. I happen to think what we are doing is important, but the hubris that it generates among all of us is at least hard to understand. Most of us, including me, are not brilliant, and we should be honored to help those few among us who are.
 
9:11, I tend to look at the data. That quickly gets down to salaries as the simplest measure of "worth" to an organization.

Based on that simple criterion, Lisa Gutierrez (SSM6), as Special Assistant for Morale and Performance Enhancement in ADTR with a salary of $163.5k, is "worth" more to the Lab than 40 of the 46 Lab Fellows. Lab Fellows being considered the best of the Lab's scientists.
 
To: 6/29/2005 09:11:23 PM

I sure hope that was sarcastic. If not this lab is in greater trouble than I thought!
 
Lisa Guetirrez is a "Special Assistant," sort of like a "Senior Advisor."
Would we miss her and the rest of the Special Assistants?

What is LM/UT going to do about this?
 
As physics PhD who recently left the Lab
I must say that the main traits of
most employees of LANL are arrogance
and mediocrity. This is not the Lab
of Feynman, Bethe, Oppenheimer and
Fermi and never will be again.
 
Doug and Cliff would probably miss Lisa. According to the following from "Cliff's Notes" to ADTR:

"...A Slice of Time

On June 15, Doug and I had the great pleasure of sharing pizza and conversation with about a dozen of you. This event, which Lisa Gutierrez has named "A Slice of Time: Lunch and Dialogue with Doug and Cliff," is a part of Doug's Morale and Performance initiative."

Most impressive. Setting up lunch for employees with Doug and Cliff. Clearly SSM-6 level work. Truly deserving of a Distinguished Performance Award at a minimum. Perhaps even a large raise.
 
I doubt LM would allow such a public display of high-priced "morale" farce.

How much does Lisa make, again?
 
A PhD degree in science is best employed in knowledge generation, theoretical or experimental. A PhD in engineering is best employed in devising new means and inventing systems for knowledge generation or practical benefit. If talented, they may manage a group doing the same, or teach students and apprentices from experience. An MS degree in science is understood to represent competence in the practice of scientific discovery. In engineering, an MS is increasingly seen as the necessary preparation for engineering professional practice. A BS degree is an accomplishment that can vary depending on the person and the institution. I have seen BS thesis work that justified a PhD, and seen PhD thesis work that was borderline incompetent. Many accomplished scientists and engineers of the modern era lacked a PhD or even MS degree. And Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, took Microsoft out of Albuqueruque, and made more money in interest while I was typing this than I will make in my entire life. So get real, people. Degrees do matter, up to a point. Money matters, up to a point. Discipline and hard work matter, up to a point. What matters after that? Ah yes, the eternal question...
 
Surely political and personal connections matter as well. More important than a degree, discipline and hard work in many, many cases.

Ever wonder how many people at LANL were hired or promoted through connections?
 
To 6/30/2005 09:50:39 PM, nice post. How true, how true!
 
Regarding the comment by Anonymous at 6/30/2005 08:30:18 PM, I suspect that most of what Lisa does could be done just as well by a Group Office Administrator at ~ $45K per year. At $163,500 per year, Lisa would have to do such tasks more than three times fast/better.
 
"RE the necrosis brought on by UC's non management," which I would characterize more as the inability to manage --- A PREDICTION: don't be surprised if UC can't get it together enough to meet the bid deadline, and end up asking for an extension; or worse yet, work behind the scenes to get NNSA to come up with a lame rationalization for extending the bid deadline.
 
If they will need an extension, it begs the question: What was Rich Mah doing all those months?
 
Good question, 03:39:43. I have heard that Mah has not been "in charge" of the UC bid writing effort for some while now; rather that Bechtel people are running that show.
 
3:39:43 --- what's Rich been doing? Why, just what he's always done.
 
I got my lab job as a PhD by answering a small classified ad in the back of a trade magazine. I had left it on my desk in grad school for months with the ad circled, never got around to sending in a resume, finally did late one night. Got an interview, got a job, knew no one at all. People when I was hired kept asking me who I knew, how did I get the job...I told them the story and they were amazed, maybe even not believing....maybe nepotism and old boy/old girl/military retiree does figure in for others, but I'm a total walk-on.
 
Same here, 6:20 pm. I saw an ad many years ago in a trade magazine, answered the ad with my resume, came out for an interview and landed a wonderful job at the Lab as a scientist. My only regret has been the heartache of the last few years.
 
Regarding the previous two posts, that is exactly how I got my job as a scientist. BUT, when my wife (not a scientist) tried to get a job at LANL it became quite clear that you had to know somebody and have a connection to get employed in a support group.
 
The days getting a job at the Lab via answering an advertisement are gone. These days everyone gets hired through someone they know. Same goes for jobs at DOE/NNSA.
 
Broad brush statements like the previous few are not useful. As a hiring manager for a support group, I can offer several recent examples where the best qualified candidates were hired. None of these individuals had "connections" to either me or my team leaders. Qualified applicants are still applying for LANL positions and getting selected.

Signed, a support group GL
 
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