Skip to main content

Jeff Smith


Interim Laboratory Director

Jeff Smith is serving as interim director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He previously served 21 years as ORNL’s Deputy for Operations, retiring in April 2021.

As deputy for operations, Mr. Smith led a $400 million modernization effort, which resulted in the most new construction at the Laboratory since the Manhattan Project. Under Mr. Smith’s leadership, UT-Battelle used partnerships with the State of Tennessee, private-sector financing, and innovative approaches to optimize federal resources to transform ORNL. In support of this transformation, Mr. Smith also serves as the president of UT-Battelle Development Corporation, a not-for-profit focused on the development of facilities to support the Lab’s mission.

Mr. Smith served on the White House Transition Planning Office responsible for creating the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, he has served on several Battelle acquisition efforts, supporting successful proposals by Battelle and its partners to manage the Brookhaven National Laboratory, ORNL, the Idaho National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He has also served as the chair of the Chief Operating Officers Working Group in support of the National Laboratory Director’s Council and served on numerous Department of Energy-sponsored working groups to address operational challenges facing the Department and its laboratories.

Mr. Smith was confirmed by the US Senate to serve on the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 2018 to 2022.

Before coming to ORNL, he was Deputy for Operations at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, acting as principal advisor to the Laboratory Director on operational matters. He previously served as the Quality Director at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, leading the development of several laboratory management approaches that continue to serve Battelle and the laboratories that it manages today.

A native of Logan, Ohio, Mr. Smith graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering.