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Jerry Ethridge has been selected as the new executive staff director for Los Alamos National security, LLC, the partnership that manages the laboratory.
Ethridge comes to the position having previously worked at Hanford and Idaho national laboratories, as well as having had senior management positions at LANL, as associate director for the former Infrastructure and Site Services Directorate and then as program manager in Weapons Physics.
He replaces Joe Scarpino, who departed for a new assignment in December 2008, according to a laboratory announcement.
Ethridge said he doesn’t foresee any big changes.
“LANS has been here now going on three years,” he said. “So there is an opportunity with a new director to look at what services are being provided and determine if there are changes that need to be made for improvement.”
In that sense, he said, he is taking stock, but in the 48 hours he’s been in the position, he has not come to any conclusions.
The executive staff director has responsibilities to the laboratory director and the LANS board of governors. LANS is made up of four entities, the University of California, Bechtel, Babcock & Wilcox, and URS Washington Division.
LANS has a requirement under its contract with the Department of Energy to tap the pool of resources available through the parent companies and to bring to bear whatever resources may be needed on laboratory practices, whether it is business or maintenance practices or facility operations.
Another part of the job has to do with serving as the face and voice of the corporation in the community, as the laboratory director’s agent in dealing with the county and other stakeholders.
Ethridge said the office basically has one employee each from the parent companies, plus administrative support. The company representatives are the ones who reach back into their corporate resources to find the right people to handle the assessments and other responsibilities.
With potential funding constraints on the horizon, Ethridge said that the impact on the LANS office would be essentially the same as for the rest of the laboratory, since the government funds both.
“They pay for those services,” he said. “If there were a reduction, then our activities would be prioritized along with the rest of the lab’s activities.
Ethridge has a PhD in ceramic engineering and a master’s in nuclear engineering, both from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley.
He serves on the board of the United Way, where he just finished a term as president. He’s also on the board of the YMCA.
He is a bicycling enthusiast and has a trip to rural Austria and Germany planned with friends.
“I’m doing the LA loop trying to get in shape for that,” he said.
Another commitment, he said, has to do with the fact that his daughter Sarah, is graduating and will be playing soccer next year at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
“We’d like to be there for every home game,” he said.