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AED Serves Its Customers and Wants to Do Even Better

Engineering leaders. (Photo by Frank Topper.)

Someone has to take the physicists' and scientists' brilliant ideas and turn them into reality. In SLAC's Accelerator Directorate, the Accelerator Engineering Division does it, and puts the "engineering" into the accelerator. This division is an effective, flexible, machine-designing, hardware building and installing, software-writing, vacuum-maintaining group that turns concepts into reality. We are good because we have two SLAC veterans who have been here for 45 years, six who have been here 40 or more years, twenty who have been here 30 or more years and more than one hundred with more than 15 years of SLAC service.

However, AED is not so complacent that we rest on our laurels. On April 5, the AED held an on-site, all-day planning retreat to work on ways to serve our customers better and integrate our business plans with other accelerator divisions. Our retreat followed on the heels of the Accelerator Research Division (one of our best customers, although we value all of our customers) Strategic Planning Retreat. This was an opportunity for AED's leadership from the Configuration Control, Controls, Klystron, Mechanical Engineering and Design, Mechanical Fabrication, Metrology, Power Conversion, and Systems Engineering departments to speak up and develop the next twelve-month goals consistent with the laboratory's strategic vision and customer needs. There was also the consideration of timely deployment, as AED wants to have the ability to use the developed goals and expectations in the new employee appraisal guidelines.

The session was devoted to reviewing the SLAC agenda, relevant goals and business plans. Then, each department head reflected on the missions of their departments, identified their customers, described their service models, their challenges, and the areas needing improvement. Hamid Shoaee, head of the SLAC Controls Department, provided insights regarding the value of engineering to SLAC, and suggestions on improving AED inter-department synergy. Then department heads and deputies caucused to develop the goals and business plans for their department for the next twelve months. The next step is for the department heads and deputies to convey the division and department goals to the supervisors in their departments.

After the retreat Hamid noted, "This has been a great retreat and many new ideas were discussed. It shows the engineering disciplines are heavily involved in the planning of operating new accelerators and are committed to the success of SLAC's strategic vision." I hear similar expressions from the AED leadership team everyday as they discuss quality from our customers' perspectives, as they innovate and invent, and deliver the engineering expertise and core competency that makes possible our award-winning Laboratory

—Paul Bellomo, AED deputy division director
SLAC Today, April 7, 2010