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SLAC Welcomes New Director of Facilities

(Photo - Matt Wrona)
Matt Wrona. (Photo by Shawne Workman.)

This week SLAC welcomes Matt Wrona as the lab's new Facilities Division director. Wrona succeeds Liam Robinson, who has been leading Facilities in an acting capacity for more than two years.

"We at SLAC are deeply grateful for Liam's willingness to shoulder this responsibility through such an extended period of time," said SLAC Director Persis Drell.

"Liam has been a key leader in helping move Facilities through a sea of change at SLAC," said SLAC Chief Operating Officer Alexander Merola.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to lead this group," Robinson said during a Facilities Division all-hands meeting Monday. "It's also been humbling because of the quality and range of contributions you guys have made to the department and the lab." Robinson noted the need to invest in facilities and infrastructure, in order to continue reaching milestones such as the successful preparations for user science at the Linac Coherent Light Source. The work calls for new skills, especially in project management, he said. "I believe we have the right person for that."

Matt Wrona brings to SLAC more than 25 years of experience in the design, construction, activation and management of research facilities. He has worked on major assignments at Department of Energy laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Hanford and Savannah River Site, and has managed facilities at NASA Ames. He has also managed facilities development and upgrades for several space launch complexes at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

"What attracted me to SLAC is the opportunity to use my experience, and to lead a high-performance team at the world-renowned laboratory," Wrona said. "SLAC has talented staff for designing, operating and using state-of-the-art research facilities." The lab also faces the challenge of older infrastructure, he noted, and the ongoing challenge to meet mission objectives on-time and safely. "I believe SLAC has the talent to meet these challenges."

Wrona earned his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University, and his graduate degree in Structural Engineering and Structural Mechanics from University of California, Berkeley. He enjoys physical activity in his off-hours and also volunteers in charity organizations.

Finding Wrona has been a long time coming, Merola noted. "We have searched actively for a Facilities Director for more than a year. We finally found the right candidate with matching background and credentials that SLAC needs. We are excited that Matt has joined us!"

—Shawne Workman
SLAC Today, October 20, 2009