Zerkle honored with Gov’s award

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Stimulus project leader is lab’s go- to manager

By Roger Snodgrass

Carolyn E. Zerkle, in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s stimulus project, has won one of Gov. Richardson’s distinguished public servant awards for 2009.

Zerkle normally serves as deputy director for engineering and engineering sciences, but she has a history of special assignments at the laboratory, going back to her management of the rehabilitation efforts related to the Cerro Grande Fire.

She is currently directing LANL’s multiple responses to the Department of Energy’s stimulus opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Zerkle has led an effort that has been awarded several million dollars worth of competitive grants with a high percentage of successful applications in the areas of renewable and alternative energy.

Still awaiting a decision by DOE is a multimillion dollar demonstration project, developed by Zerkle’s team on behalf of the state for a greener and smarter electrical grid of the future.

New Mexico’s project, involves 26 local, state and regional partners and millions in matching funds, although LANL itself would receive only a fraction of the funds.

“It’s very much a team effort, not just me,” she said in an interview Thursday. “We have a really great team working on this.”

The project award is expected to be announced next month around Thanksgiving.

Since April, Zerkle’s team has brought in about $36 million in stimulus awards for LANL, included in a total amount of $115 million for the partnering organizations, other national

laboratories, universities and municipalities.

Zerkle is one of

10 public servants to be recognized this year. The awards will be presented at a banquet hosted by Gov. Richardson on Nov. 12.

The awards are given to government employees who have performed at a high level and who have benefited the community beyond their job requirements.

“Carolyn’s leadership has helped secure tens of millions in Recover Act funds that will boost the economy as well as promote energy efficiency and innovative research,” said former Governor Toney Anaya, director for the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment in a press release. “Her work is a significant contribution to New Mexico.

A LANL press release said past recipients of the award included Karl Braithwaite, former director Siegfried Hacker, Pete Lyons and Carol Smith.

In the community Berkley has applied her organizational skills to a variety of tasks.

She co-directs the Tour de Los Alamos bicycle race and has recently devoted efforts on behalf o the Los Alamos Foundation Employee Scholarship Committee and the Los Alamos Family YMCA.

“The big thing for me, because of my schooling in project management and nuclear project management is the attention to detail, along with the accountability and formality in resolving situations,” she said.

For the scholarships, she focused on outreach and coordinated briefings among some 30 schools in the region to get the word out on scholarship availability.

She’s known at the laboratory as the person who gets the tough, high-risk, high visibility jobs at the laboratory.

As a crisis manager, she handled the security compliance order imposed by the former Energy Secretary Bodman after the Jessica Quintana security incident in the fall of 2006.