Getting to know your Fermi Site Office

Mike Weis, head of the DOE Fermi Site Office, wrote this week’s column.

Michael Weis

As many of you know, I joined the DOE Fermi Site Office earlier this year. By providing more information on our work and responsibilities, my colleagues and I hope to foster the good communication and strong partnership that our office enjoys with the Fermilab community. We all have the same goal: to be good stewards of the Fermilab site and keep our laboratory at the forefront of high-energy physics research.

The Department of Energy maintains local site offices such as ours at each of its major laboratories. Primarily, DOE site offices:

  • review contract performance,
  • deliver timely government services and approvals to help the laboratory execute its mission,
  • serve as the DOE Office of Science representatives for laboratory stewardship.

DOE and Fermilab’s management company, the Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, have a performance-based management and operating contract. This contract is rather long and complicated as it spells out the federal regulations and DOE rules that apply to the Fermilab site. The Fermi Site Office helps the FRA to implement the contract in the most efficient, safe, secure, and effective way, with the goal of achieving the greatest scientific output possible. Our commitments to Fermilab include:

  • empowering the laboratory to make decisions on its own whenever possible,
  • eliminating red tape that adds no value to the operations of the laboratory,
  • integrating our activities with the laboratory to avoid duplication,
  • asking tough questions to help the laboratory optimize its performance– we expect the laboratory to do the same for us,
  • maintaining a strong partnership with the laboratory.

The Fermi Site Office, located on the sixth floor of Wilson Hall, comprises three teams. The Business & Contract Support team provides oversight of the management and operating contract. The Environmental, Safety and Health and Program Support team works with Fermilab staff to assure the effective implementation of ES&H, Safeguards and Security, and other activities. The Programs, Projects & Facilities team oversees large projects such as the construction of the NOvA experiment and provides federal stewardship of the laboratory. You can find more information about these teams on our website or you can stop by our offices in Wilson Hall anytime.

Our main goal, of course, is the advancement of science. In a future column, I will explain the relationship between the Fermi Site Office and the Office of High Energy Physics, which is responsible for overseeing Fermilab’s scientific program. In the mean time, my colleagues and I are looking forward to working with you.