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SLAC Subcouncils Facilitate Two-way Conversation

In January, the SLAC Facilities Subcouncil welcomed Craig Burkhart, head of the Power Conversion Department in the Accelerator Directorate, as its new chair. He succeeds prior chair Craig Ferguson, who is stepping down to focus on his new role as Director of the Office of Planning and Assessment. As chair, Burkhart will work closely with Director of Facilities Matt Wrona as the division sets agenda and priorities.

"Under the stewardship of Craig Ferguson and Matt Wrona, the Facilities Subcouncil has evolved into an effective body," Burkhart said. "Therefore, I will strive for continuity, endeavoring to lead the Subcouncil in its established role of liaison between the Facilities Department and the lab it serves." Prior to his new role, Burkhart represented the Accelerator Directorate on the Environment, Safety and Health Subcouncil for two years.

Subcouncils serve as advisory committees for each of the divisions within the Operations Directorate (the Office of the Chief Finance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, ES&H, Facilities, Human Resources, Procurement and Communications) and help foster two-way communication between Operations and the rest of the lab. Each subcouncil has a chairperson along with members from each of the other five directorates.

The associate laboratory directors appoint members to each subcouncil as formal representatives of their directorates. Together, the subcouncils provide input and a sounding board for each Operations division as it establishes priorities, improves or implements customer-oriented programs and evaluates initiatives. While each member represents the interests of his or her directorate, the subcouncils work toward goals that are in line with the best interests of the lab as a whole. The subcouncils not only provide customer input to Operations projects; they are also responsible for helping communicate Operations division decisions, proposals and questions back to the other directorates.

"The Facilities Subcouncil is a good working model of how the subcouncils should perform," Ferguson said. "The members are providing customer input to Facilities as they tackle some very important issues, and the Facilities leadership team is very active with the subcouncil, directly engaging them to seek feedback for program improvements."

During the year and a half while he was chair, Ferguson said the subcouncil was actively engaged in helping develop several programs, including the building engineering program, maintenance and space management, and improved maintenance requests and follow-through. Burkhart said he hopes to follow this example.

"We will continue to assist Facilities in strategically aligning their initiatives with the lab's needs and act as a conduit to the Facilities Department for lab concerns that affect it," he said.

To learn who represents your directorate on each of the subcouncils, visit the subcouncil membership listing page.

—Lauren Rugani
SLAC Today, February 8, 2011