One Lab supporting science

Vicky White

In the past eight months some things have become clear to me, as I’ve had the honor and opportunity to see the entire lab as its chief operating officer.

We are here to do science and to support a worldwide community of users. This could not happen without the amazing dedication of operations people from across the lab. They maintain and operate our site and buildings, our accelerators, detectors and computing. They feed us and keep us safe, secure and healthy. They buy things, handle contracts and property, and manage people functions and finances. They even handle the press and internal communication, and they provide a myriad of administrative help. All of this work is the foundation on which great science can be built. It deserves more visibility and praise than it gets, and I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved.

Future success depends on many factors — scientific community, funding, international support. It also depends on us embracing the concept of One Lab. This means that everyone works on the same Lab Agenda in a coherent manner, embracing change and running with it. I’ve campaigned to get everyone using the enterprise calendar, not their own favorite one, and soon we will have a labwide events calendar. These are small symbolic examples of transparency and efficiency we can benefit from if people work together as One Lab using common business processes and tools that help us communicate better.

A new human resources system, called FermiWorks, for employees, visitors, users and contractors will soon replace old ways of doing things. We will then need to get behind one way of working for planning, budgeting and financial management, as well as for project management. It will be hard, but it is necessary.

One Lab also means transparency and honest self-assessment of whether or not we are working safely and with appropriate attention to work planning, quality, security, protection of information and critical examination of outcomes and results. The DOE Fermi Site Office is intimately involved in our One Lab as both a partner and oversight. The DOE orders and federal and state laws we must abide by are important — embracing this across the lab is important for success as we go forward. I hope we will continue to refine our own measures for success and provide ever more meaningful views into them through our executive dashboard FermiDash, to inform the director, DOE, Fermi Research Alliance and, eventually, the entire lab. I thank the Fermi Site Office for strong support in operating this lab as an open institution focused on science.

We take on many tasks on the path to One Lab. To the end of my tenure as COO, I will do what I can to make an impact.