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P-Division says bon voyage to Shlachter

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By Kelly LeVan

Colleagues of longtime laboratory employee Jack Shlachter congregated at the Physics Auditorium Wednesday afternoon to honor – and occasionally roast – their division leader.Shlachter is retiring the helm of P-division in order to head to Vienna to work for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). He plans to return to Los Alamos National Laboratory in two-and-a-half years.Several of Shlachter’s coworkers took the stage to express their gratitude and affection, each throwing in a little wit as well.Juan Fernandez of P-24 (plasma physics group) spoke of Shlachter’s enduring ping-pong prowess, mentioning also his strength working with people.Scott Wilber from P-25 (subatomic physics group) echoed Fernandez’s sentiments, calling Shlachter a “truly unique individual ee He truly cares about every person in the division.”Acting Chief of Staff Stephen Glick added that even while Shlachter commonly put in 50-70 hours per week at the lab, “when Jack was through here, he served the community with the same energy and dedication.”Each of P-divisions groups, as well as the Chief Financial Officer division (CFO), purchased Shlachter a gift, and every single gift-box contained a sweater – in honor of their leader’s uniform of choice: a sweater and a pair of jeans.“I should mention that I get cold a lot,” Shlachter joked, before thanking his colleagues for attending the good-bye party.“I appreciate you coming out,” he said. “I know you all have some science to do.”Shlachter, who has worked at LANL since he took a post-doc position in 1979, said that division leaders don’t always get to do as much science as they might prefer to, and “sometimes the only thing that kept me going through the difficult times was the people. You made it worthwhile.”One of the many highlights of the afternoon was a presentation of “Yogurt Security,” a 10-minute skit about airport security starring Pat Beck, senior generalist in Human Resources. The play, also featuring Larry Gibbons and Kelly LeVan, was personalized by playwright Robert Benjamin and the thespians to include references to Shlachter and his family’s upcoming travels.The play is also showing at the Los Alamos Little Theater for the next two weekends, preceding “The Devil and Daniel Webster.”Shlachter has spent most of his adult life in Los Alamos. He first met his wife at the Los Alamos Little Theater in 1980, where they both played parts in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor.” He and Kate raised two children on the Hill, Orli, 12, and Dov, 15.He worked his way up through the ranks at LANL and has served as division leader since 2005. He has also served as a rabbi at the Los Alamos Jewish Center.“Jack is an extremely talented individual and it’s been a privilege to work with him,” said acting division leader Robert (Doug) Fulton in an interview after the event. “Everyone takes something positive away from working with Jack. I have something to aspire to.”Fulton said Cris Barnes has stepped up as acting deputy division leader.