In the Limelight
A congressional conference committee has approved $320.9 million in Department of Energy funding for nuclear physics for fiscal year 1998. The amount is $5 million more than President Clinton's request of $315 million, which matched the 1997 appropriation. Although the increase spares Jefferson Lab a severe decrease in operating revenues, the Lab will nonetheless be forced to absorb a $1 million reduction to its FY 1998 budget request of $68.4 million.
According to Jefferson Lab director Hermann Grunder and those on the Lab's Director's Council, the net effect will be felt in decreases in available travel monies, delays of equipment purchasing and upgrades, and postponement of non-critical maintenance. A hiring freeze or deferments to raises, once deliberated as fallback options if the budget crunch intensified, are no longer under consideration.
"Look: even a million dollar cut doesn't qualify as a trivial task," Grunder said. "We're not throwing up our hands. Inflation, thank God, is low. We think this is a one-year event."
According to Ronald Sundelin, Associate Director for Technical Performance, planning for the shortfall began about four years ago. Earlier this year, Jefferson Lab administrators and members of the Virginia congressional delegation intensified their efforts to restore funding. Sundelin spent three work weeks writing cusomized computer code to optimize Jefferson Lab's spending so the Lab would remain within limits for its 15 categories of "overhead" spending. A primary concern was to minimize any disruption to operations, particularly in the case of experiments installed in Hall B.
DOE has promised Jefferson Lab that future budgets will include inflation adjustments - specifically that the fiscal year 1999 appropriateion will reflect two years' worth of inflation.
"Our ability to accommodate this [shortfall] long term would be far worse that our ability to accomodate it for one year." Sundelin said. "The following year [FY99] the budget will begin to climb again. It will nominally be on the same trajectory as fiscal year '97, plus two years inflation."
During Director's Council deliberations, participants siad they considered all possibilities. Layoffs were a worst-case scenario, dismissed in all but the grimmest of cases. More likely adjustments would come in travel, administrative and maintenance expenditures. Certain improvements to the physical plant - road repaving, roof refurbishing and the like - would have to wait. So would the purchase of the latest and best desktop computers.
Still, were it not for persistence, Jefferson Lab's budget bite could have gone as deep as $3 million.
"There were a number of things working to our advantage," said Christop Leemann, Associate Director of the Accelerator Division. "We're a brand new facility; there would be questions if we were underfunded and not able to run. By and large, we've performed quite well. We've built on cost and on schedule. The FEL gets us a lot of favorable publicity. And we're loved by our senators and congresspersons."
Now that the final figures are known, the fine-tuning remains. Monies may have to be directed, or redirected, in the weeks and months to come.
"The one aspect of the '98 budget that worries me is the funding available for polarized sources within the accelerator," said Associate Director for Physics Larry Cardman. "Half of the highest rated experiments here require beams of polarized electrons. We want to rachet it up. But it's currently underfunded."
According to Chief Scientist Nathan Isgur, part of what ails physics funding is history itself: the end of the Cold War has removed the Soviet Union as the biggest military threat physics was called upon to counter. Even though most physics research wasn't dedicated to military matters, it nevertheless recieved an overall boost from the part devoted to defense. It has been many years, said Isgur, since physicists have "rescued" the United States with such advances as radar and atomic bombs.
"All ships float in a rising sea," Isgur explained. "At the grossest level, politicians and the general public ask: What has science and technology done for me lately? If science and technology save lives, then tax dollars go to research. The global package grows - including physics.
As with other basic research, future physics funding won't be quite as simple, as it was five years ago. Jefferson's Free Electron Laser may be the kind of breakthrough that keeps physics, and the Lab, in the imaginations of Congress and the general public. While there are no guarantees, administrators are counting on support for Jefferson to remain strong.
"We're beginning to knock off experiments that people have been dreaming of for a decade," Larry Cardman said. "The equipment is performing. The quality of the beam is better than people had hoped. We're starting to see results .. The quality of our science has been too good for the funders to ignore.
On October 30, Laboratory Director Hermann Grunder and Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) President Dennis Barnes presented 12 inventors with plaques and cash awards in recognition of their achievements as inventors.
SURA recently received eight patents for these inventions and will share royalties equally with the inventors to promote the development of new technology. Federal regulations prevent Department of Energy facilities, such as Jefferson Lab, from applying for and receiving patents but SURA can apply for the patents. SURA rewards these inventors $500 for each patent awarded. SURA holds title to 15 U.S. patents developed at Jefferson Lab.
The Jefferson Lab scientists and inventions are:
-George Neil, for inventing an Apparatus and Method for Compensating for Electron Beam Emittance in Synchronizing Light Sources;
-Larry Phillips and Thomas Elliott for inventing a Superconducting Radiofrequency Window Assembly;
-Brian Kross, Lukasz Majewski, Stanislaw Majewski and Carl Zorn for inventing an Examination System Utilizing Ionizing Radiation and a Flexible Miniature Radiation Detector Probe and for inventing a Flexible Liquid Core Light Guide Focusing and Light Shaping Attachments;
-Fred Dylla and Viet Nguyen-Tuong for inventing an Ultra High Vacuum Broad Band High Power Microwave Window;
-Hongxiu Liu and George Neil for inventing a Beam Conditioner for Free Electron Lasers and Synchrotrons;
-Ganapati Myneni, for inventing an Ultra High Vacuum Pumping System and High Sensitivity Helium Leak Detector; and
-Brian Kross, Lukasz Majewski, Stanislaw Majewski, Randy Wojcik, and Carl Zorn for inventing an Illumination System and Method for Specialized and Decorative Lighting Using Liquid Light Guides.
The United Way of Virginia called on Jefferson Lab employees to help "Build a Caring Community" and their request was answered. "Build a Caring Community" was the theme of this year's United Way campaign.
Six Jefferson Lab employees participated in "A Day of Caring" on September 4, the official kick-off of the United Way campaign. Sandy Philpott, Brian Carpenter, Ivy Thomas, Isiah Daniels, Linda Even, and Christine Snetter assisted the elderly in their homes, installed smoke detectors, and dismantled dinosaurs at the Virginia Living Museum.
This year Jefferson Lab's goal was to raise $30,000 between October 20 and November 3. Jefferson Lab employees' generosity helped the Lab surpass the $30,000 goal by $1,215.
Employees can help the United Way in many capacities. Volunteering time to one of the 53 agencies under the United Way umbrella and financial support are great ways to help, but one of the easiest ways to contribute is to pledge financial support through payroll deduction.
"Employees can have money deducted every month from their paycheck to help the United Way," said employment representative Shilda Williams. This year 156 employees opted to have money deducted from their paycheck to help the United Way.
Employees who turned in their pledge cards during the campaign had a chance to win gift certificates from local restaurants and retailers.
Eric Hanson of the Accelerator Division won a $35 gift certificate for two at Outback Steakhouse. Christine Hummell of the Accelerator Division and Waltina Evans of the SURA Division were the lucky recipients of $25 gift certificates from Dillard's Department store.
Last year 26 percent of employees participated; this year 30 percent of employees participated - a four percent increase. Jefferson Lab has been a participant in the United Way campaign since 1985.
Employees who donate money to the United Way do so for a variety of reasons.
Janet Prater, Physics division administrator, donates money to the March of Dimes, American Veterans, and a few other agencies. She also donates money to the United Way "because of the variety of services. It's not a handout; it helps people do constructive things I'm interested in," said Prater.
Computer scientist Sue Witherspoon gives money to the American Red Cross through the United Way. "I give because the United Way makes it easy to get money where it is needed," said Witherspoon. Witherspoon has been a supporter of the United Way since 1991.
Employees should donate their time and money to the United Way because "it's a vital resource," said Williams. "It's an opportunity to help one another in time of need and crisis."
An employee or user interested in obtaining a card can do so by contacting their Division representative. After filling out the necessary paperwork, the user or employee must attend a half hour training session that instructs the potential card user on the do's and don'ts of the purchasing system.
A new phenomenon-based on a portable, plastic card- is taking the Jefferson Lab community by storm. Creating convenience for 106 lab employees, the Jefferson Lab credit card program is proving to be a win-win solution for both the Business Services department and laboratory employees.
Developed and maintained by Business Service's Danny Lloyd, the Jefferson Lab credit card program is one of the most successful implementations over the last few years. Starting in October 1995 with 24 card holders averaging approximately $7,000 in credit card buys per month, the program has grown to include 106 card holders averaging $150,000 in credit card buys per month. Lloyd anticipates that the program will continue to grow, reaching $1.5 million in total credit card buys this year.
How does all of this spending affect the laboratory's finances? Each credit card transaction saves $53 in administrative fees. For example, 778 purchases saved the Lab $41,234. Lloyd estimates the program saves the lab $300,000 per year.
Although the card saves thousands of dollars in administrative fees, the key to its successful implementation is its convenience The card gives Lab employees and users a tool for purchasing equipment and services and eliminates a lot of the hassle associated with the previous purchasing system.
Many card users marvel at the simplicity of the process.
"It's been very beneficial," says Ed Stitts of the Accelerator Division. He says the card is convenient when he has to make small purchases such as accelerator maintenance equipment that's needed right away. Using the card eliminated the need for placing a priority one requisition order with the Business Services department.
Mary Beth Stewart agrees. "It's more convenient to place orders, which can be done by telephone, and the order arrives a lot sooner than when a purchase requisition is used." Stewart, a graphic illustrator in the Director's Office,uses the card for print orders under 5,000 copies, office supplies and office furniture.
Attention Stockroom Shoppers. The number of items available for your selection is going up, thanks to newly available on-line vendor catalogs.
Like a corner grocery, the Jefferson Lab Stockroom faces the constant challenge of giving customers what they want when they want it, within the constraints of finite space and money. Currently, 9,200 of the most frequently requested items are stocked on-site. Items not in stock are ordered on demand, but that takes time. It also costs money, when work is held up and schedules compromised by unavailable parts.
Help is at hand, thanks to an innovative program developed by JLab Stockroom Manager Bill Brisiel and his staff. Brisiel got the idea for on-line vendor catalogs a year ago, when he saw a demonstration of the technology. "I was looking for a way to make life easier for our customers," he explains, "and to increase our stock availability." He also took a good idea and made it better. Under the system he's tailored for JLab, employees will be able to view items and order them directly from their desks, thus eliminating a large percentage of JLab purchase requisitions.
On-line catalogs mean quicker access to more products -- more than 500,000 when the system is fully implemented. On-line catalogs also mean more accurate, timely information. Their bulky paper counterparts are frequently out of date before they're even printed. With on-line catalogs in place, the Stockroom will no longer have to maintain cumbersome catalog libraries at multiple locations around site. The old catalogs were useful primarily as references for item descriptions or names, since the vendor still had to be called to for prices, specs and availability
The first stage of implementation begins in November as office supplies become available via the Internet.
All items will be discounted off the catalog price, so JLab will achieve a significant savings on the many hundreds of office supply purchases that used to be ordered through Procurement. Buyers requiring immediate turn-around still have the option of purchasing products locally with a government credit card.
The current Stockroom catalog on DB1 will still be used for items that are stocked on-site. If a user tries to order an item still carried in the Stockroom, a message will flash on the computer screen indicating its on-site availability.
Once office supplies are available on-line, they will no longer be stocked on-site. The Stockroom can then focus its inventory on high-use items and on special items that cannot quickly be supplied by a vendor. As the system evolves, an orderly process will be used to determine which items no longer need to be stocked.
The contract requires delivery of high-use items within 24-hours. Stockroom staff will verify each order with what was actually received prior to delivery to customers. They will also evaluate vendors for timeliness and accuracy. The Stockroom will also serve as liaison between employees and vendors, resolving any problems that arise.
Brisiel and his staff are excited about the advantages the new system offers. To ensure a smooth transition, they'll be conducting training classes. They'll also be available to address individual groups on request. "Our customers will soon see the many advantages of this program, including savings, increased selection, and rapid delivery," Brisiel says. "This adds up to improved service to customers."
Two things are needed to order office supplies with the new system: access to the Web (via a networked PC/Macintosh/workstation) and authorization to charge to a valid JLab account. Access to the vendor's system is through the Stockroom homepage. Once there, users can view any of the vendor's 14,000 line items. (Compare this to the 225 currently carried in the Stockroom Office Supply inventory!) The Graphical User Interface [GUI] makes it easy to navigate through the system with a mouse. A vendor-supplied search engine allows users to seek an item in several ways (name, manufacturer, wildcard, stock number, etc.). There is also a picture of every item and, if required, a specification sheet. The user builds his/her order, which is then displayed on screen. Once confirmed by the user, the order is sent electronically to the vendor and executed immediately. Once filled, the order is sent to the Stockroom, from where it is delivered directly to the person who placed the order. All items listed in the catalog, which will include the 225 items formerly carried in the on-site inventory, will be delivered within 24 hours.
We've had a busy year and would like to thank everyone who has helped the Public Affairs office spread the word about Jefferson Lab's science, mission and goals. For the fourth year we participated in the annual Virginia State Fair, reaching thousands of people over an 11- day period. The Commonwealth Technology building, dedicated to promoting science and technology in Virginia, was a great attraction to the fair-goers. Volunteers also helped us spread the word on the Southside of Hampton Roads at the first Men of Color Expo on September 6, and the Farm Fresh Extravaganza on October 4. At each event, participants learned about Jefferson Lab and had a little fun, too. Thanks to each of you for realizing the importance of public outreach.
Imagine that each morning, $86,400 will be deposited in your bank account. The only condition for the daily deposit is that you have to spend the entire amount by the end of the day or there will be no deposit the following morning. What would you do? Would you forget about spending the money and go about your daily routine without thinking about it? Would you wait until the end of the day and then spend it on the first thing that comes to mind? Or would you thoughtfully and carefully plan how you will spend the money, resulting in meaningful purchases and investments?
The number 86,400 represents the number of seconds in the day. Each morning 86,400 seconds are deposited in our lifetime account. How many of us awake each morning saying: "I have 86,400 seconds to spend today. I need to carefully plan how I'm going to use this valuable resource because if I don't, I will never have a second chance to spend these particular seconds again."
Listen to how we talk about time. We never have enough time. We don't have time to do what we need to do. We run out of time. Sometimes we waste time. Some of us wish that there were more than 24 hours in a day. In reality, we all have the same amount of time: 24 hours in each day. Rather than fighting against time (a futile activity, and a time waster!), it may be more helpful to invest some time in getting organized.
But it's Not Your Fault
A Harvard University research study found that between 1969 and 1987, the average worker added 163 hours (one month) to the work year. It seems sometimes that the "information highway" passes right through the center of our lifestyle, resulting in information overload and new additions to our already complex communication systems: E-mail, pagers, voice mail, and the Internet are some of the newcomers. It may very well be that we are not more disorganized, but rather that there is too much to keep up with.
REACH, the Lab's employee assistance program, offers some ideas on better organization. If you are feeling overwhelmed and not in control of your time, your employee assistance program will take time to help you. Call REACH EAP at (800) 950-3434 to speak in confidence with a counselor.
This article provided by REACH Employee Assistance Program.
Tips for Getting Organized
Decide what's really important in life. Don't leave out family time and time to take care of yourself. There is not enough time to do everything and to do everything well. Make the important things your priorities. Whenever you reach work overload, information overload, or find competing demands on your time, stop and remind yourself what your real priorities are and attend to them.
Set aside time daily for each important task. Schedule time for yourself, family, exercise, professional development, relaxation, etc. Defend these scheduled events as if your life depends on doing these things. It just might!
Organize your work day. Make a list of what has to get done each day and a list of what would be nice to do. Then prioritize the tasks and accomplish the most important ones first. Carve out a set time to respond to requests, to complete paperwork, to interact with your subordinates and coworkers. Group similar activities like returning phone calls, drafting letters, filing papers, etc. Communicate your schedule with others and ask their cooperation in minimizing interruptions, especially when you need to focus on a particular project.
Control your own information highway. Develop a filing system that makes logical sense, and one that allows you to find what you have filed away. Go through papers once then put them in a file as soon as you have processed them. Keep an alphabetical file of the most frequently accessed names and phone numbers rather than looking them up each time. Make back-to-back rather than intermittent phone calls during the day.
Don't let disorder rule your day! Try putting these ideas to work for you, and remember assistance at REACH is only a phone call away.
Poor communication is a silent, but potent enemy. It can be blamed for production losses, missed timelines, expectations not being met, performance interruptions, low morale, and the list goes on. These are just a few of the themes pulled from the results of a Jefferson Lab employee survey taken last year by the Internal Communications Team (ICT).
Charged by the Quality Advisory Council and the Director's Council with assessing communication at the Laboratory, the ICT went a step further by taking the survey responses and creating initiatives to address areas in need of improvement. The following initiatives have been approved by the Director's Council and have been implemented or are under development. They are:
-On Target Briefs by e-mail
-Communications development page in the On Target newsletter
-Expanded use of the site-wide information system (SWIS)
-360 degree appraisal system (a soon-to-be-implemented system that will allow employees to provide feedback to supervisors)
A new survey will be distributed in early-December to assess the Lab to-date. Once again, responses will be carefully evaluated to allow the team to target additional methods for improving the Lab's communications.
"The team has embraced the importance of internal communications and would like to have constant feedback from the staff," says Karen Hokansson, ICT chair and User Liaison Office manager. "Comments and suggestions for improvements will be immediately reviewed and evaluated by the entire team."