Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari, ETEC Added Preface by Homer Fisher | April 5, 2020

UT-Battelle 20 Years and 5 More to Come… As we celebrate the news of the UT-Battelle contract extension, Homer Fisher, who was Senior Vice President for the University of Tennessee at the time and a key member of the original proposal team reminds us of that important time in history which helped to shape East Tennessee into the powerful economic force that it is today…


In 1998 many folks thought the idea of UT competing for the management contract was ludicrous. Fortunately, President Johnson and Trustees Haslam and Sansom had more confidence. There were some key people at the Lab and some current and former DOE folks who encouraged us as well. The East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC) was also a strong supporter. We talked to many potential partners, but we were most impressed with Battelle, and they thought we might be a good partner. Dr. Barry Goss, Chairman and CEO of Pro2Serve, a former Battelle VP,  and the first consultant I engaged, introduced us to Dr. Bill Madia, Battelle, V.P.  and capture manager, After the UT team met with Bill, Dr. Lee Riedinger, a distinguished UT physics professor and future Associate Director of the Lab, President Johnson and I met, and Dr. Johnson made the decision that we should pursue the partnership. I then had lunch with Bill at the UT University Club, and we wrote out a teaming agreement on a napkin! We then worked with Dr. Ron Townsend, President of ORAU, to form a group of Core Universities to strengthen the breadth of the Partnership. So much had to fall in place and it did, including support from Governor Sundquist and every governor since. UT-Battelle won the contract in 1999 and began management in 2000.

Fortunately, the University has never taken the contract for granted, and both President Boyd and Chancellor Plowman have strongly supported the partnership and the commitment to the Department of Energy. The University has much to celebrate with this extension, and I applaud the University leadership for the commitment that enabled it! I am grateful to my Battelle friends who had confidence in UT as a partner and to Lee Riedinger, a great teammate, who was engaged with the Lab in substantive ways throughout his career. We would not have won that first contract without his major contributions. This narrative is an over-simplification. Lee’s forthcoming book will have the full story. It is a good success story that now continues for five more years!



The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a five-year extension of UT-Battelle’s contract to manage and operate Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The five-year extension took effect Wednesday, April 1, ORNL said in a response to questions.

The value of the extension wasn’t immediately available. The contract requires UT-Battelle to manage and operate ORNL safely, efficiently, and effectively to fulfill DOE missions. Each year, DOE sets performance expectations related to specific operational and management goals, ORNL said.

It’s the fourth time that UT-Battelle’s contract has been extended for five years since DOE selected UT-Battelle to manage and operate ORNL in 2000.

More information will be added as it becomes available.