September 5, 2008

One of the ways I have learned to motivate myself is to talk about my intentions publically to the point that failure to deliver has the potential to lead to severe embarrassment. This article is the result of such folly.

I started to talk to Dean Golembeski and others about writing an occasional column for public dissemination about a month ago, and not wanting to copy other directors, I chose the name Montage. I am hoping you will find it interesting and mildly informative.

Of course, the subject of the column this week could not really be about much else than the fact that I am starting as the new Lab Director (never done that before) at JLab. With the benefit of interaction with others who have done similar jobs, I had tried to generate some down time between my previous job and this. But given that we needed to move house from Illinois, I was only partially successful. Nevertheless, coming to work on Tuesday was a significant perturbation to my system and, while excited, I was quite nervous; after 25 years at the same place I should have expected that.

I needn't have worried. I have not had a moment to think. We tried for a slightly lighter than normal agenda, but still had four full days including the weekly meeting with the Site Office and the weekly phone call to Germantown. Second day in, our team had another victory with (we have heard) a stellar ESAAB presentation from Joe May, the 12 GeV Upgrade Federal Project Director, and all-around plaudits. So, there is now nothing we know about that could get in the way of Ray Orbach's signature on CD-3, Construction Approval, on September 15.

Two days ago, I met with some of the senior staff and talked about my expectations and hopes that all of us will be able to work together to further the lab goals; I asked them for their support as I will ask everyone. I also completed my GERT training so that I was qualified to attend, without escort, the Accelerator Ops meeting with the people inside the fence at 8 a.m. today. All in all, everyone has been very friendly and kind and keen to explain to me what I should be doing. Thanks!

But the highlight was yesterday; I received an e-mail telling me that "Hanna and Ike welcome you to Virginia." I was asked to attend a meeting at midday. It was the emergency management group meeting to address the issue of severe weather. As Lab Director I am designated as the Incident Commander. I demonstrated an admirable agility and within two minutes realized the wisdom of utilizing the ability to delegate. I then enjoyed seeing a fraction of the laboratory engage in rather serious action. I was impressed and am now confident that whatever happens weather-wise, we will have done a good job of being prepared.

As the meeting finished, Mike Dallas said, "Great OJT!"

"OJT?" say I.

"On the Job Training," he explained.

That about sums up my week, On the Job Training!