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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Next LLNL Director?



High priced selection committees are not needed, let Google decide!

"Director Goodwin" = 48,700 hits
"Director Moses" = 19,800 hits
"Director Knapp" = 8,320 hits
"Director Younger" = 7,810 hits

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Goodwin SHOULD be director. Though who knows how this will play out.

Anonymous said...

If Knapp is chosen, get out as soon as you can; the bloodshed will start immediately.

Anonymous said...

Knapp does not have a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Knapp doesn't need a PhD. On paper, he has all the necessary experience as head of the LANL weapons program and acting Director of LLNL. Beats anyone else on the list, except maybe Goodwin, but no one knows who's really on the list. One thing is certain - the days when a PhD counted for LLNS management are over.

Anonymous said...

Knapp does not have a Ph.D.

February 20, 2014 at 1:59 AM

Everyone knows that. No one who matters cares.

Anonymous said...

I hear the axes are being sharpened now, pending the final selection of the new director. It almost does not matter who it is, because that person will take direction from LLNS on the head chopping.

Anonymous said...

just remember Ph.D = "piled high & deep"

Anonymous said...

just remember Ph.D = "piled high & deep"

February 20, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Pretty juvenile.

Anonymous said...

It will be a woman.

Anonymous said...

How about hiring any one of the many managers from Sandia that don't have a Ph.D.?

Anonymous said...

It will be a woman.

February 20, 2014 at 9:45 PM

This keeps coming up here in posts. If true, how large is the pool of candidates? Joan Woodard? Pat Falcone? Mim John?

Anonymous said...

I can't think of an obvious female candidate, but maybe there will be a dark mare.

It's almost certainly gonna be Knapp, and thinking back, I can't recall a single case where an "Acting" person was not ultimately selected for the final job. Not at any level, AD, division leader, group leader, and at least not in the past 25+ years. Can anyone else?

Usually the old director hangs around as a lame duck while the committee names a new director, so this situation is unusual. But it does not seem likely that anyone but Knapp will get the job.

Anonymous said...

Take this with as many grains of salt as you wish - but the fact is that Charlie Verdon has been chosen to be the next Director. The announcement will be made the first week of March.

Anonymous said...

Well we can say we heard it here first, that would be a blog coup. But Verdon? I'm sure he applied, but he's one of the last people I would imagine as director. A company man all the way, not obviously a visionary, but perhaps that's exactly what LLNS wants.

Anonymous said...

But Verdon? I'm sure he applied, but he's one of the last people I would imagine as director.

February 22, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Google agrees. Only 309 hits for "Director Verdon"

Anonymous said...

Almost as low as "Director Diaz de la Rubia"; 1 hit.

Anonymous said...

Rubia hit his own glass ceiling a while ago. Or rather it came crashing down on him by his own doing.

Anonymous said...

Claire MAX

Anonymous said...

Again Google agrees. 308,000hits for "Director Max"

Anonymous said...

How about hiring any one of the many managers from Sandia that don't have a Ph.D.?

February 20, 2014 at 9:46 PM

The entire upper management in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Weapons Program do not have PhDs either. James Owen (W-Division Leader), John Benner (AD for Weapons), and Craig Leasure (Acting Weapons PAD). It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

Anonymous said...

How about hiring any one of the many managers from Sandia that don't have a Ph.D.?

February 20, 2014 at 9:46 PM

The entire upper management in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Weapons Program do not have PhDs either. James Owen (W-Division Leader), John Benner (AD for Weapons), and Craig Leasure (Acting Weapons PAD). It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

Anonymous said...

It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

February 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

So that's your description of anyone without a PhD? Last I looked, PhD curricula and training did not include any mention of honesty or ethics. You only have to look at most of the high-tech companies leading the NASDAQ to find extremely competent managers who know how to make their employees happy and do not have PhDs.

Anonymous said...

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle. Adam Rowen at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

The previous 3 individuals are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead technical divisions at Sandia. A quick search on the internet shows that Adam Rowen went to a school in New Mexico.

Steve Renfro deputy AD Nuclear Weapons, BS without PhD (also comes from a New Mexico school)

John Nuckolls does not have a Ph.D. either (some may recall his previous estimate of laser energy needed for ignition)

Anonymous said...

February 23, 2014 at 2:52 PM must not have a PhD either, at least not one of value, or else he would understand why the Nuckolls comment is absurd and embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

February 23, 2014 at 2:52 PM is either absurdly sarcastic and ironic (not likely since he doesn't seem intelligent enough for that), or is an elitist who is stuck on his own value due to a PhD, which nobody else seems to recognize. Good managers are much more rare than PhDs. And much more valuable to any organization.

He seems to think everyone should be shocked, shocked!! that some managers don't have PhDs. He is endlessly confused about why nobody is.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! John Nuckolls doesn't have a Ph.D.?

Anonymous said...

It's almost always the same act in these situations. The LLNS Board will announce: "Gee, we look at all the candidates closely and discovered that the best candidate for the position was already here at LLNL."

It will be Knapp. It's a done deal.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break the news to you, but Google thinks a Ph. D. is essential for the position: "Director Ph. D." =503,000 hits.

Anonymous said...

Pete Nanos had a PhD. Did that make him better or worse?

Anonymous said...

We have tons of Ph.D. managers around the labs and they are terrible. Absolutely terrible. The engineers are also awful. I hope the next lab manager is not a Ph.D. as I am hoping for a good manager. Hey, I am a Ph.D. myself, I just don't think Ph.D.'s make good managers. And I have been around a lot of them.

Anonymous said...

I've had both managers that Ph.D.s and ones that didn't. I'll have to disagree with the previous post since my experience is that Ph.D. managers were much better than the ones without Ph.Ds. The ones without Ph.Ds had serious problems obtaining funding from external agencies and had no credibility whatsoever in bringing in money even internally.

Anonymous said...

It is not a surprise, I suppose, that the readers of this blog do not understand the value of a scientific Ph.D. It is one of the few measurable attributes that distinguishes candidates, and it has some importance.

To illustrate, in practice a Ph,D. alone, independant of performance, does not contribute more than a 1/4 to 1/3 of the ranking in mixed scientific or professional technical evaluations.

It represents part of the value of a scientist in positions that require research or unique deep technical knowledge. Unique, deep technical knowledge can be gained other ways, generally through continued practice in specialties.

A Ph.D. does not prequalify temperament, judgement or relevant experience for leadership of large organizations, though it does help. It alone presents competence in a specialty and also says the holder has staying power, for it takes about 30 years to make a scientist. (Birth to independent action)

It certainly not a requirement for the non-scientific divisions at Sandia any more that it assures success running the non-scientific divisions (over 80% of divisions at LANL and LLNL). Other attributes such as demonstrated performance are more relevant.

Compare the performance of Nuckolls, Tarter, Anastasio and Miller. They are similar. Emmett outperformed Campbell, but both operated in different times, and have driven personalities and talent unrelated to Ph.D. quality.

It is imperative in my judgement that the Directors of both labs have the ability to personally oversee, and to independently assess, on his/her own merits, the long-term validity of stockpile stewardship. No one else in the country does this. He/she must also be a successful lab leader, immersed in its culture and capable of protecting it from the storms (morons?) of the Potomac, so that it can continue to achieve the stewardship mission, "boom if necessary, and not otherwise."

Anonymous said...

It will be a Phd for the reason you have stated. He can leave the leadership roll to a none Phd to keep the troops moving along.

Anonymous said...

It is imperative in my judgement that the Directors of both labs have the ability to personally oversee, and to independently assess, on his/her own merits, the long-term validity of stockpile stewardship.

February 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM\

That simply does not happen. If you've ever been part of that process, it is a group process, with knowledgeable technical staff and group leaders having every bit as much clout as the Director in the final say on the assessment letter. No one second guesses hands-on direct experience and knowledge.

Anonymous said...

No one second guesses hands-on direct experience and knowledge.

February 26, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Those with "direct experience and knowledge" are becoming quite scarce at both of the nuclear weapon labs. Not many left who have felt the ground shake,and reported nuclear performance back to DC a couple of hours later. Or, who have designed a weapon that was actually tested and is in our stockpile today.

Anonymous said...

The point was that there are still people who know what the "warts" look like when the weapon case is opened. They also know whether those warts will potentially affect safety and reliability. The lab Director does not. Smart Directors listen.

Anonymous said...

The entire upper management in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Weapons Program do not have PhDs either. James Owen (W-Division Leader), John Benner (AD for Weapons), and Craig Leasure (Acting Weapons PAD). It's Knapp's legacy of picking fellow incompetent, do-nothing, con-artist, henchmen.

February 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

James Owen thinks everyone forgot he spent 2-years on the University of Colorado campus while earning a full-time LANL salary (on Lab on campus program) only to come back to the Labs without his M.S. degree. Ironically, James tries to "come off" as a a cost conscious manager with technical skills. All you folks in W-division are working for a "con artist".

Anonymous said...

The entire upper management in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Weapons Program do not have PhDs either.

February 23, 2014 at 1:05 PM

So what? No need for a PhD if you're not designing weapons.

Anonymous said...

Managers need to understand how the people they manage think and work, so if you are managing a highly technical program executed by PhDs then it's at least a huge disadvantage if you don't have one too. But the director and his top people don't directly manage those technical programs and PhDs, so it's hard to see why a PhD is necessary at the upper management level. No one complains that Obama does not have a PhD, even though he's ultimately responsible for all of DOE - he leaves the direct managment to the little people, and far enough down those little people probably ought to have PhDs.

Anonymous said...

No one complains that Obama does not have a PhD...

March 1, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Unfortunately, we don't know what he has, or how he got it. A lot of people have conspired to keep a lot of information about him and his past hidden. Just guarding his privacy? You mean the kind that he is willing to violate for every American citizen? Why don't people who support him tell him what they tell everyone else: "If you don't have anything to hide, you don't have anything to worry about"?

Anonymous said...


James Owen thinks everyone forgot he spent 2-years on the University of Colorado campus while earning a full-time LANL salary (on Lab on campus program) only to come back to the Labs without his M.S. degree. Ironically, James tries to "come off" as a a cost conscious manager with technical skills. All you folks in W-division are working for a "con artist".

March 1, 2014 at 6:38 AM

A perfect example of "a failure" being promoted to the upper ranks at LANL. I mean the guy was rewarded for failing to earn his M.S. while making more than $100K!

Anonymous said...

I mean the guy was rewarded for failing to earn his M.S. while making more than $100K!

March 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Lots of people with only a BS or BA earn over $100k at LANL. If you aren't one of them, you aren't making yourself useful enough, or aren't making yourself known enough as being useful.

Anonymous said...

Altogether, know. We want Knapp! We want Knapp! We want Knapp!

Anonymous said...

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle. Adam Rowen at Sandia Livermore does not have a Ph.D. either.

The previous 3 individuals are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead technical divisions at Sandia. A quick search on the internet shows that Adam Rowen went to a school in New Mexico.

Steve Renfro deputy AD Nuclear Weapons, BS without PhD (also comes from a New Mexico school)

John Nuckolls does not have a Ph.D. either (some may recall his previous estimate of laser energy needed for ignition)

Anonymous said...
It is not a surprise, I suppose, that the readers of this blog do not understand the value of a scientific Ph.D. It is one of the few measurable attributes that distinguishes candidates, and it has some importance.

Anonymous said...

What value does a PhD have to a high level manager? The notion that you have to have an expert's understanding of everything done by your organization is silly. Plus, most PhDs don't have an expert's understanding of what their neighbor across the hall does. A PhD simply indicates a deep understanding of a very narrow subject. That, plus the willingness to isolate yourself from the rest of the world for years in order to gain a credential. Neither is particularly useful to the manager or to his employees.

Page, Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs, Barra, many, many more. No PhDs.

Anonymous said...

March 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM

This is the truth and alot of Phd's don't want to hear it. Do we really need Phds at the lab? Maybe in the old days but now? I think they are far more trouble then they are worth. Just ask yourself this question. The most advanced technology on earth right now is being made by Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Do you any of these places even have Phd,s? Do any of these places use anything that came from a Ph.d? No. So why does LLNL and LANL who do not do anything nearly as complex or hard as these places do, need Ph.ds? Since the salary is related to education level we could save a whole lot of money by having a lot less Phd's. and I bet we would have less problems as well.

Anonymous said...

Your use of "Ph.d" instead of the correct "Ph.D." marks you as the perennial poster who hates Ph.D.'s presumably because you failed to get one. Of course the labs need Ph.D.'s; just not in upper management. Any organization that does cutting-edge research employs Ph.D.'s for their specific expertise. Facebook, Google, and Twitter do not do scientific research. They provide engineering solutions to technical needs, whose solutions have the potential to make lots of money quickly. Scientific research has none of that urgency or greed. Just the desire to further knowledge in a way that builds upon itself and might eventually allow engineers to actually make new things.

Anonymous said...

"The most advanced technology on earth right now is being made by Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

March 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM "

Giving this some thought I realized that these really are the new weapons of mass destruction, as dangerous as any designed by LANL or LLNL. They have managed to zap a whole generation into mindless blathering, while contributing absolutely nothing of lasting value to modern society. They have turned you into something more frightenly close to the drones of the Borg Collective than Gene Roddenberry could ever have imagined. The blogs are proof.

Anonymous said...

They have turned you into something more frightenly close to the drones of the Borg Collective than Gene Roddenberry could ever have imagined.

March 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Priceless!!

Anonymous said...

Adam Rowen is no longer the manager of the materials chemistry department at Sandia! You should hear what many of the former staff members in his former department have to say about him.

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