Karen Kosky to transition from FESS head to advisor to the Office of the Chief Operating Officer effective June 1

A photo of a woman with curly brown hair and glasses in a blue collared shirt and necklace in front of a natural looking blurred background.

Karen Kosky

Karen Kosky is moving from serving as the Facilities Engineering Services Section head to a new role as an advisor to the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, or OCOO, beginning June 1.

During Kosky’s tenure as the Facilities Engineering Services Section head, she initiated sweeping efforts, most notably a $340-million, campus-wide utilities infrastructure project to repair and modernize the lab’s core infrastructure. While she had the vision, she also took care of the details — developing organizational performance standards and metrics for the lab’s maintenance program.

Under Kosky’s leadership, her team strengthened partnerships with core stakeholders including the DOE High Energy Physics, Science Laboratories Infrastructure and Office of Science to earn support for improvements to Wilson Hall and other facilities.

She established a multi-year infrastructure planning and investment process to remain focused on the lab’s strategic goals and Campus Master Plan, and she streamlined the planning process to enable active engagement from the scientific divisions as well as early identification of infrastructure needs. Her team has expanded the lab’s capacity and quality of execution of the laboratory’s GPP projects to help support the lab’s science mission.

Finally, she was the champion of the lab’s Centralized Facilities Management initiative and worked to ensure the program met division needs while improving the lab’s agility, consistency and efficiency.

In her new role, Kosky will focus on an area of particular interest to her: sustainability and energy. During her tenure as the head of FESS, she identified many ways to increase the lab’s sustainability and reduce its energy requirements. She will explore those opportunities and work on a number of other performance management efforts within the OCOO.

“Under Karen’s leadership, the FESS team progressed in almost every area of its mission,” Kate Gregory, Fermilab’s chief operating officer, said, citing many of the accomplishments listed above. “But it has never been only about getting the job done well, though she did. With Karen, it’s about developing the team and every person on it. She brings a personal touch that creates a stronger team.”

In her role as head of FESS, Kosky created routine training and brown bag sessions to improve communication and feedback. She also established job rotations to enable employee professional development. Gregory said these examples highlight one the gifts Kosky brings to Fermilab.

“She’s improved the lab’s infrastructure for decades to come and has made a lasting impression on Fermliab and our community. I’m deeply privileged to work with her,” Gregory said. “I expect the same transformational impact in her new role that she brought to the FESS team.”

Mark Jeffers, FESS deputy section head, also expressed his appreciation for Kosky’s term as head of FESS.

“I am incredibly grateful to have been Karen’s deputy for the past two years. She has been an inspiring leader who not only improved Fermilab’s facilities and infrastructure, but made FESS itself more dynamic and agile,” Jeffers said. “Specifically, Karen has transformed FESS to an organization that earns trust through strengthening partnerships and taking on big, meaningful projects to improve the lab’s infrastructure.”

Jeffers agreed with Gregory that Kosky’s skills extend beyond her achievements to the kind of leadership she exemplifies.

“Karen is an advocate for being open and transparent, and communicating with all staff,” Jeffers said. “She has been a champion for equity, diversity and inclusion within our organization. As long as I have been working at the Lab, Karen has been an advocate for improving all aspects of EDI within FESS.”

Jeffers will be stepping in as acting head of FESS while Fermilab conducts a search for a new head.

“To say the least, it will be hard to follow such a great person both professionally and personally. My goal is to try to fill her shoes and continue to work towards her vision.”