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ORNL director moving to new post at Battelle

Thom Mason plans to depart on July 1, his 10th anniversary as lab director

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Feb. 24, 2017) – Dr. Thom Mason will step down as director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory effective July 1, 2017, exactly 10 years after becoming director of the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory.

Mason will take on a new role as Senior Vice President for Laboratory Operations at Battelle in Columbus, Ohio. Battelle, in partnership with the University of Tennessee, has managed and operated ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy since April 2000.

“Thom has been an exemplary scientific leader and we're fortunate that he will continue to be engaged with Oak Ridge National Laboratory as he uses his experience and expertise to benefit DOE, Battelle, and other labs where Battelle has a management role,” said Joe DiPietro, chairman of the UT-Battelle board of governors. Battelle has a substantial management role at six DOE labs and one lab for the Department of Homeland Security.

Mason is an experimental condensed matter physicist by training and came to ORNL in 1998 to work on the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), a facility that was under construction to serve scientists worldwide. He soon assumed responsibility for completion of the $1.4 billion project.

SNS and its sister neutron facility, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, solidified ORNL’s role as the leading source of neutrons for scientific research in the U.S. and recently welcomed their 20,000th scientific user.

Mason’s decade as lab director was marked by a number of other milestones, including:

  • Two supercomputers ranked as the most powerful in the world, bringing the power of high performance computing to a wide range of science and engineering problems;
  • Leadership of ambitious, multi-institutional research organizations such as the BioEnergy Science Center and Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors;
  • Establishment of ORNL as a center for advanced manufacturing, and creation of game-changing technologies in support of clean energy and industry;
  • Continued revitalization of laboratory infrastructure;
  • Support of national priorities in nuclear science and energy, in fission, fusion, isotope production, and nuclear security.

At Battelle, Mason will work with Executive Vice President of Global Laboratory Operations Ron Townsend by participating in governance at each Battelle-managed lab, engaging key sponsors, contributing to capture management, and leading strategic planning for lab operations that integrate with Battelle’s overall strategic plan.

ORNL has formed a search committee to seek Mason’s replacement.

UT-Battelle, a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, operates ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science.