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Deputy for Operations

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Date: Nov 13, 2020

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4267 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is searching for an exceptional executive leader to serve as its Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations. As the Chief Operating Officer at one of the world’s premier research institutions, the Deputy Laboratory Director (DLD) for Operations leads the formulation and implementation of cross-cutting operational plans and integrated facilities strategy consistent with the Laboratory Director’s vision and Department of Energy (DOE) mission objectives. An ideal candidate for this position will possess an enthusiasm for DOE national laboratories and the critical roles they play among industry, academia, research institutions and other science agencies within the nation’s innovation ecosystem.


Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, ORNL demonstrated the production and separation of plutonium as its original mission. After World War II, ORNL led early work on nuclear energy, radioisotopes, radiation-resistant materials, and the effects of radiation on biological systems. Today, ORNL integrates and applies a remarkable set of core capabilities that comprises large teams of talented staff from diverse fields. They leverage distinctive scientific facilities and equipment to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and national security, and in doing so, create economic opportunity for the nation.


ORNL is distinguished by its close coupling of basic and applied R&D and by its signature strengths in biology, physics, materials, neutrons, and nuclear science and engineering; isotope R&D and production; and high-performance computing and data analytics. We design, build, and operate powerful scientific facilities that are available to the international research community. ORNL works in partnership with universities and industry to train the future science and engineering workforce and transfer the results of their R&D to the marketplace.


ORNL has a dynamic workforce of about 5,600 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $2.4 billion. UT-Battelle LLC manages ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science. The strong partnership between DOE and UT-Battelle has created a national resource that draws outstanding researchers in a wide range of disciplines to world-class facilities where they attack fundamental scientific challenges, couple discoveries with applied research, and work with industry to translate results into commercial applications. The work of the laboratory is being performed safely and efficiently in a modern campus setting. Our opportunity is to sustain our leadership and build on our success, and the DLD for Operations has the front-line responsibility for championing an operational culture that enables ORNL to excel. This position reports to the Laboratory Director.



  • With the Laboratory Director, DLD for Science and Technology, and Chief of Staff, lead formulation and implementation of cross-cutting operational plans and integrated facilities strategy
  • Act as the senior spokesperson for ORNL when needed as a stand-in for the Laboratory Director with high-level stakeholders within and outside government, including DOE, Congress, industry representatives, state and local officials, and foreign officials.
  • Work daily with the DLD for Science and Technology and the Chief of Staff to ensure seamless coordination among mission objectives and operational imperatives.
  • Represent Laboratory with DOE on operational issues
  • Assure effectiveness of Integrated Safety Management and other management systems through self-assessment programs
  • Develop and lead new cross-cutting operational improvements and productivity initiatives
  • Resolve cross-cutting operational issues
  • Assure integration of research and operations to increase effectiveness, eliminate duplication of effort, and reduce costs.
  • Continuously assess and identify opportunities to strengthen operational excellence in order to enable world-leading research.
  • Manage relationships with the Department of Energy and the UT-Battelle Board of Governors while leading and supporting ORNL’s major operational goals and strategic initiatives.
  • Ensure that ORNL meets it contractual obligations to DOE through the Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP) and objectives process.
  • Maintain working relationships with key leaders in local, state, and federal government.



  • Relevant advanced degree and minimum of 15 years of professional experience; or equivalent combination of education and experience.  
  • An established record working with the Department of Energy and senior contractor management up to and including the Board level is required.
  • Experience as a senior operations leader (COO, VP Operations) within a complex and sophisticated environment is critical. Individuals with a nuclear background leading large teams in comparable functions would be preferred.
  • A demonstrated thorough understanding of laboratory management and governance, financial planning and interdisciplinary laboratory applications is critical.
  • A successful track record of developing and sustaining deep relationships with significant stakeholders is required.
  • Must possess a successful track record involving business and organizational planning, coordination and execution within a national laboratory culture.
  • Proven experience working for a government contractor or National Laboratory in a similar capacity is highly desired.
  • Demonstrated abilities as a skilled communicator with exceptional interpersonal, relationship building, and negotiation skills applied across a broad spectrum of constituents and stakeholders.
  • A proven track record for building and maintaining diverse and inclusive workforces.
  • This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance from the Department of Energy. This position therefore is designated for Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) testing. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


Skills and Abilities:

  • A seasoned general manager with a track record of leading by influence.
  • A demonstrated ability to apply seasoned business judgment to operational issues and advise on appropriate solutions is required. 
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively, this visionary will need experience identifying problems and implementing solutions.
  • As a spokesperson for the laboratory, must have the ability to show sensitivity and to establish respect, credibility and trust in government and non-government settings.
  • Must be patient yet create a sense of accountability
  • Strong verbal and nonverbal communication skills; able to reduce complex situations into concise descriptions
  • Able to formally communicate and present ideas through written products and executive briefings


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville