Fermi Site Office update

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

Michael Weis

The Fermi Site Office has been working hard with Fermilab’s staff to advance the mission of the laboratory. We are always looking for ways to enable success by finding innovative solutions to challenges that arise while operating a DOE national laboratory, so I thought it might be helpful to share a little more about what our team of 15 people does.

FSO serves as the local Office of Science representative and the site’s owner and landlord. We provide Federal Project Director service to all large projects; evaluate contract performance and deliverables; and deliver government-furnished services and approval necessary for mission success. We also maintain awareness of scientific and research activities to enable proactive partnering with the laboratory on evaluation of needs for facilities, equipment and scientific expertise. In essence, we work to help make sure Fermilab remains at the forefront of high-energy physics research.

FSO manages the contract with Fermi Research Alliance to make sure the high-energy physics mission and site management activities are safe for the workers, protective of the environment and provide a great scientific return on investment for DOE and the taxpayer.

Here are some recent examples of how we’ve helped and worked with the laboratory:

  • We aided Fermilab in securing land easements to facilitate local investment, and cost avoidance, for power distribution line replacement.
  • We helped Fermilab enter an electric utility curtailment program that provided over $700,000 to offset Fermilab’s electric bill.
  • We negotiated and executed an easement for fiber optic distribution, which gave the provider access across Fermilab and resulted in a much more robust data and communication system for Fermilab.
  • Our office holds environmental permits and performs environmental reviews for work at Fermilab.

We want to continue to be a good partner and advocate for the laboratory while we perform our responsibilities. FSO has facility representatives involved in Division/Section/Center activities who provide a fresh set of eyes for the review of operations and give constructive feedback. Our office also participates in ES&H subcommittees, combining our experience and resources with Fermilab to develop and implement an effective and efficient ES&H program. By proactively involving FSO, the laboratory ensures DOE understands operational needs and eliminates duplication of efforts. This joint effort has created a positive working relationship based upon trust and respect of each party’s input into the ES&H program.

We work to eliminate unnecessary or outdated requirements and approvals whenever possible. Information that we need often is already available through Fermilab business systems. Our goal is to minimize duplication and use the laboratory’s management systems in meeting our responsibilities.

My colleagues and I enjoy working with you. If you have any questions about the FSO, you can find more information about us on our website or stop by our offices in Wilson Hall anytime.

Members of the Fermi Site Office with DOE Secretary Steven Chu. Photo: Reidar Hahn