SLAC Today logo

From the Director: Making Progress

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Harvey Lynch.)

The final report from "Team 2" is available on the Web: volume 1 and volume 2 (SLAC internal). I encourage you all to read it. It has lots of valuable insights. I particularly found volume 2 with all the back-up information fascinating reading! We are starting to work to incorporate the recommendations in our ongoing efforts to improve the organizational culture at the lab and you will be hearing more about this in future communications from our Chief Operations Officer, Sandy Merola.

However I want to take a moment to highlight progress that I am already seeing. We spend a lot of time being our own harshest critics and sometimes it is important to celebrate even the small victories and this week has offered me some wonderful examples to do that.

  • CT-101, the cooling tower at the sector 30 gate, has been successfully demolished. This is a small project but one that we were having trouble executing. In the fall I had to explain to DOE how the same lab that could successfully deliver the $420M LCLS project could fail to deliver the $1M CT-101 cooling tower project in the same year! With new leadership the project is now performing very well and is on track to complete in May.
  • Our new financial model has given us new transparency into costs at the lab and is allowing us to evaluate what we are spending money on and why. This week we found opportunities to save several hundred thousand dollars because it is now clear who is responsible and accountable for costs where previously it was murky.
  • I've had several unsolicited testimonials about Radiation Physics in the ES&H division and how supportive they are of the line management in Accelerator Directorate. We have all learned that line management is responsible and accountable for safety performance and ES&H is there to support the line. These are good examples of where this relationship is working well.

The progress is really very encouraging. And it supports what was probably the most important event for the lab this past week. At a conference in Ringberg Castle in Bavaria, the first LCLS science results received an enthusiastic reception!

The week of March 29 I'll be holding "work group" meetings with the entire lab. We will be organizing the meetings in smallish (40-80 person) groups by last name rather than work groups so that different parts of the lab can share views and concerns. This will be a good chance to talk about where we are going as a lab, how we are getting there, and how we can do better. I look forward to the chance to talk with all of you!

—Persis Drell
SLAC Today, March 19, 2010