by Jim Campbell, ETEC President | March 20, 2020
This week I took a refresher training at Y-12 that allows me to continue to have access to that site. Part of the training was to review what to do in light of different kinds of emergencies that could happen. None of the scenarios described talked about pandemics.
We are in unchartered territory these days.
After I finished the training, I spent a few minutes with Bill Tindal, Y-12 Site manager and a member of ETEC’s leadership team, to learn what was going on at the site, and to figure out how ETEC could support Y-12’s work during this time. In turn, we talked about ETEC’s challenges at this time when meetings of large groups are discouraged.
Bill talked about the importance of focusing on the mission. Y-12’s role in protecting the nation’s security does not change because of this outbreak. The U.S. nuclear navy’s needs have not changed. The work the Y-12 plant does in non-proliferation, in support of developing new isotopes, in training first responders, and in all the other programs Y-12 facilitates… All those missions remain.
Likewise, Bill said that ETEC’s mission hasn’t changed. We need to keep on working new projects and gathering people together to build the economy of East Tennessee.
In both cases, and the same is true at ORNL, ORAU, and DOE EM’s cleanup work, it’s the ways we do things that we have to be adapted to the world’s new circumstances.
ORNL and ORAU have sent about 60 percent of their workers to work from home. Our host, the University of Tennessee, is moving its programming to remote activities for the rest of this term, including our neighbors at the Law Enforcement Innovation Center.
All this being said, we want you to know that ETEC is going to continue communicating using all the tools that are available to us. That includes our normal weekly e-newsletter and meetings using Zoom for our nuclear working group and other committees. Most importantly, we are working on figuring out how to do a virtual meeting for our membership modeled around our Friday morning gathering. We’ve found some tools that come fairly close to mimicking that sort of meeting, including one program developed by a local software company.
ETEC is still at work.
The government is working on stimulus packages to help companies in need. How does that impact you? Are there things you need to share? Are there opportunities we can all work on together? Let us know. We are on the job, working daily to grow the economy of East Tennessee, continuing to build strong partnerships with the federal programs, and looking for new opportunities for our members.