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From the Acting Director of the Accelerator Directorate

(Photo - Dale Knutson)

The new Accelerator Directorate represents a big change for staff at SLAC both in the way we think about the laboratory and how we represent ourselves to the communities around us. However, it's important for staff to recognize that these changes affect management structure and how we align organizationally. These changes will be low impact when it comes to accelerator science and key technologies, the day-to-day business of delivering beams to users, and conducting world-leading R&D in accelerator science.

Most staff will see very little change in the work they are doing, the people they interact with, the processes they use to do their jobs, and the daily pace of work. The largest changes will be reflected in how senior management works, and how we define and measure effectiveness in beam delivery.

The Accelerator Directorate will take advantage of a new structure based on "core teams." Most staff associated with accelerator systems and operations already do work using this model, but the new directorate will formalize this approach for both operational and developmental improvements in beam delivery. The core teams will provide an important link to our research programs as we shape our improvement and investment strategies in the directorate.

Another key approach is the implementation of line management responsibilities for beam delivery by the new directorate, and beam utilization by the research programs and user facilities. The Accelerator Directorate will manage beam delivery via the core teams and a new division called Accelerator Operations and Safety.

It is also important for staff to understand that this reorganization is being done to set the stage for SLAC's future as a multi-program national laboratory.

This reorganization is not being done to reduce staffing levels. AD management will establish performance goals based on the needs and demands of our scientific objectives, and align staff and capabilities accordingly. There is plenty of work to be done. While we may need to mix and match a few people to take on new ideas, roles and relationships, staff should not be afraid of losing jobs as a result of this reorganization.

The new directorate faces a few near term challenges, particularly related to scale. With a large total number of staff spread across all corners of the lab, we will need better communication mechanisms across the directorate. It will take time to work through the details and bring this new organization to full strength and momentum. Your ideas and constructive criticism can help us move forward, so please talk with your colleagues and management, and send feedback my way.

óDale Knutson
SLAC Today, July 29, 2009