After years of quality work, Bob Grant retires from Fermilab

Bob Grant

Bob Grant works to make sure products produced by Fermilab are of the highest possible standard, but soon he will be fishing instead of working. Grant, the head of the Office of Quality and Best Practices, will retire on Oct. 7.

“I help people think about how to make their operations as reliable as possible,” Grant said. “The people at Fermilab are justifiably proud of their work, and they want to do it with the highest quality.”

In 2005, Grant led the effort to develop a proposal for the Quality Assurance (QA) elements of a new management and operating contract with the DOE. It took a year, but the contract was awarded with the highest score ever given by the DOE.

“The contract completion was rewarding – it allowed us to demonstrate QA formally,” Grant said. “In 2007, we implemented QA in every part of Fermilab, in all aspects.”

Grant has also worked on the contractor assurance system, as well as the annual performance evaluation and measurement plan.

“Bob’s a strong-minded advisor with a ton of experience and the battle scars to prove it,” Mark Bollinger, the Deputy Site Office manager of DOE’s Fermi Site Office, said. “He provides sage advice, and he can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.”

Bollinger praised Grant’s work in QA, especially when it came to the most recent iteration of QA at the laboratory.

“It took a long time, but, in the end, Bob persevered,” Bollinger said. “He brought significant tools and processes that will benefit the laboratory for many years.”

Rich Karuhn, of the Computing Division, has known Grant for more than ten years, working with him closely on a variety of IT projects. He said that working with Grant was always a good experience.

“Bob is certainly well-liked and respected by project team members,” Rich said. “He gets things done. He’s a leader.”

Alicia Filak, Audit Services manager, worked with Grant to make sure they did not duplicate each other’s efforts. She called Grant a steadfast resource.

“I can always count on Bob for a frank assessment of any situation,” said Filak. “He will be missed.”

Grant is proud of the work he did to ensure a quality program and to make it fully documented, but he said the job was made enjoyable because of the people. As much as he will be missed, he will miss his colleagues.

“Fermilab’s been a great place to work,” Grant said. “There are a lot of very bright people here, with very good ideas. They see the value in QA for their programs.”

Connee Trimby, the Laboratory Financial Planning Manager, worked with Grant in the Directorate before she moved to the Finance Section. She said that QA is a worthy investment for Fermilab, but the work can be a bit dry.

“I hope Bob knows how much he has contributed to the success of the laboratory,” Trimby said. “His QA work isn’t glamorous, but it’s so important for the laboratory’s contract with DOE. It has to be done correctly, and Bob does it well.”

While the work was not that exciting, it was gratifying, according to Grant. He also said simply being at Fermilab was an excellent adventure.

“Fermilab is a marvelous place, with a tremendous amount of freedom to excel,” Grant said. “It’s an intellectually challenging place that keeps you mentally young and engaged in life.”

—Ashley WennersHerron