Nov 26, 2008

New LANL Deputy Director

The following was a comment on last night's Holiday Email Quarantine post. There is also an announcement in today's LANL Daily News Bulletin. I was unable to find a photo or bio for this post, just a few stories about him being named the federal security director for O'Hare International Airport. Is he a relative of Gov. Bill Richardson? I don't know.

In typical LANS fashion, a major leadership change was announced today via LINKS - knowing full well that only 10% of the workforce is on site.
From/MS: Michael R. Anastasio, A100
Phone/Fax: 7-5101/7-2997
Symbol: DIR-08-270
Date: November 25, 2008
SUBJECT: New LANL Deputy Director

I am pleased to announce that Isaac “Ike” Richardson has been named the new deputy director of the Laboratory, effective February 1, 2009. Ike will replace Jan Van Prooyen, who – after three years at the Lab and a distinguished 43-year career in national security matters – has announced his plans to retire in early 2009.

Ike brings 37 years of leadership experience to Los Alamos. He spent 31 years in the U.S. Navy, where he attained the rank of rear admiral. He commanded the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and provided strategic direction of large, complex organizations, such as the naval aircraft carrier program. He also provided oversight of storage and compliance programs for pre-positioned U.S. nuclear weapons assigned to NATO throughout Europe. He joined Bechtel in 2003. Most recently, Ike oversaw Bechtel’s civil infrastructure projects in Qatar, where he guided development of the $11 billion New Doha International Airport. Before that, he directed Bechtel’s Defense and Space division and Aviation business line. He has a master of science degree in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida, a master of arts in strategy and policy from the Naval War College, and a bachelor of engineering degree from Vanderbilt University.

There will be a 60-day overlapping transition period between the two deputy directors. I personally want to thank Jan for his commitment to the Laboratory, valuable insights and extraordinary operational leadership over the last couple of years. Please join me over the coming weeks (and months) in wishing Jan the very best in his retirement.


Anonymous said...

It's all good.

Anonymous said...

My God, yet another Navy boy who also happens to work for Bechtel. The revolving door is spinning at warp speed at LANS LLC.

And announcing it the day before Thanksgiving when everyone is gone? Priceless.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they wanted a weak candidate who would be no threat to Wallace's eventual accession to Director.

Anonymous said...

Wallace as the next LANL Director?

Halloween has already passed this year. Please, don't scare us any more!

Anonymous said...

Adm. Bob Foley, the 80+ year old, LANL-hating fart who runs lab management from UCOP probably passed this guy's name on to LANS to be our next Dep. Director.

Thanks, Bob! Everyone at LANL would like to send you a great big "F.U." for the Holidays. Don't forget to choke on that dry turkey.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I've had my fill of Admirals. Then again, somebody has to steer even a sinking ship.

Anonymous said...

I love it! MikeandIke - Just like the candies, brilliant!

Anonymous said...

His educational background is on par with those of Mike Mallory and Glenn Mara.

"Mara holds M.S. and B.A. degrees in welding engineering (Ohio State University)."

"Mike holds an MBA degree (Rockhurst College) and a bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering (University of Missouri)."

So, three out of the top five people do not have a PhD (Mike and Terry have PhDs). Hard to believe Terry has any advantage over these guys re the Director slot, other than having a pudd'n'head.

Anonymous said...

You do not need a Ph.D. to run a construction company.

Now if Los Alamos were a scientific research institute ......

"Oh, never mind." Roseanne Roseannadanna

Anonymous said...

Lemme get this straight... Ike's qualifications for running the Nation's premier Nuclear Weapons Laboratory is that he built an airport?

Somebody please tell me that this is a joke.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to Marquez? The Executive Director position is filled by appointment only?

Anonymous said...

another dumb fricken Navy reject! barely made frag rank. lightweight equipment. no imagination. no post-doc work. another unquestioning myopic rule-follower.

Can't we do better than retread (rear) admirals. hasn't anyone learn'd? D'Agostino, Nanos, dumbjim watkins, foolish Foley. Bozo the admiral becomes Popeye the scientist, because he can keep 90,000 tones floating in peacetime?

these are second-rate brains. in the late sixties when these guys went to Annapolis, no one with any brains was joining up willingly, only the weak wannabees survived.
Top of the class brains got deferments and went for advanced degrees.

70's educated admirals and generals are mentally weak, can't compete with the newest post-doc and they can't do anything creative or useful but follow someone else's rules without question. Even the really dumb-ideas like shutdowns and base inspections, name calling, fear-mongering, dumping excellent science for third-rate, ancient commercial practices...

He isn't fit to swab Mara's, Kuckuck's or Sewell's poopdeck.

what a lost opportunity.
thousands of better people on the mesa and mike pulls a turd from the dc sewer....

Anonymous said...

9:40, Mike *is* a turd. And you know what they say about "birds of a feather."

Anyway, folks, the Deputy Director position is intended to be filled by a Bechtelian. Better get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11/27/08 8:30 AM said...

"Anyway, folks, the Deputy Director position is intended to be filled by a Bechtelian. Better get used to it."

OK, fine, but don't they have anybody better than this guy?

Anonymous said...

Actually yes, but this is who was chosen.

Anonymous said...

Well ladies and gentleman,

A most sad occasion, when so many qualified, capable and dedicated people would have been a better choice for this position.

As an old geezer here, I shudder to think what Bradbury must be thinking as looks down upon us from the Heavens above. Rest in Peace LANL...

Anonymous said...

Navy man? Check!

Bechtel manager? Check!

Sounds like our guy. Put him up near the top of the LANS executive chain. He's got the only two qualifications that matter any longer for a perk filled LANS top positions.

And why, oh why, is UCOP still letting a semi-senile and cranky 88 year old former Admiral continue to run the job of Lab Management? Bob Foley should have been replaced many years ago. That Foley is still there at UCOP running UC's lab management demonstrates that UC really doesn't give a damn about their part in the LANS and LLNS LLCs effort.

We came so close to having a good and thoughtful group of people running this lab with the Lockheed and Paul Robinson bid. Navy Capt. Tom D'Agostino threw it all away. I suspect Bechtel will some day reward him richly for his blind obedience.

Anonymous said...

It may be worth noting that the Navy is still the single most prominent end-user of LANL's intellectual capital.

Anonymous said...

This decision is a clear cut message indicating Mikie is no longer running LANL. LANL is being run by the Bechtel tycoons wearing pin-stripped Italian suits, diamond studded Rolexes, alligator shoes sitting on their yachts smoking cuban cigars eating caviar.

Anonymous said...

Are you familiar with the movie "Groundhog Day?" Don't throw those cowboy and butthead hats away just yet!

Anonymous said...

Happy that I moved away from LANL.
my director here, scientist, aka associate professor at university,
my deputy director, scientist, grown at the lab
my division leader, scientist, former professor at top univesity.

Anonymous said...

Under LANS LLC model for lab management the Deputy Director's job is to focus on operations, not mission (weapons or science). And under the agreement between UC and Bechtel that created LANS, Bechtel gets to put one of their own in this position while UC picks the Director. Yes I know that the "Board of Governors" actually "selects/approves" but the Board is set with UC appointees controlling the votes.

Given this, on paper he's not a bad choice. He's been the head of some large complex organizations and projects - both military and civilian.

So as long as LANS is running the lab, the Director will be a weapons/science type picked by UC and the Deputy a project management/business type picked by Bechtel.

It is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Miller, then Van Prooyen and now Ike Richardson. Three Bechtelian selected Dep. Directors and LANS has been running LANL for only a little over 2 years! Bechtel executives seem to cycle through LANL at a rapid rate.

Too bad LANL has to pay for this crap with operating budget funds at a cost of over $250 million per year. From what I've seen of LANS "expertise", it is not worth it. Not even close.

It is what it is... and it sucks.

Anonymous said...

Neither LLNL nor LANL got much for the $110M that went to the LLC's last year.

No demonstrated expertise there.

Anonymous said...

"It's all good..."

I feel the same way. have turned down the effort and commitment, settling into an AWS-Friday existence of moderation and restraint.

May turn up the heat if Congress begins to care again, but for now, Vox populi whispers, "take it easy".

Anonymous said...

"Miller, then Van Prooyen and now Ike Richardson. Three Bechtelian selected Dep. Directors and LANS has been running LANL for only a little over 2 years!"

Not Miller; Mitchell. John Mitchell, the guy who left after 6 months under a cloud of suspicion -accusations of a classified material breach. Accusations that were never addressed by Mikey.

The problem with the Deputy Director being in charge of operations is that the only managerial position high enough to insist on a healthy balance between operational needs and the productivity needs of programmatic work becomes the Director. Mikey. But Mikey is in over his head, he's out of touch with the lab, and even if he was in touch he simply doesn't have the intellect to understand programmatic needs.

LANS should demote the Bechtel-lites to an AD position at most, and restore the Deputy Position to a UC position, someone who can create a healthy organizational balance and remove workload from an already overburdened Mikey.

Anonymous said...

I was browsing the job postings this weekend and noticed that HX Division Leader is up for grabs again. Hasn't it just been a couple of months since Kathi Alexander was selected as DL? Now she's out, the Division has been moved into Bret Knapp's Weapons Engineering directorate, and the previous two groups (HX-3 and HX-6) have now morphed into four groups, with a grand total of 60 people in them. (Remember when 60 people was considered a smallish group? Now it's a division!) All four groups have acting GL's in place, presumably pending the selection of the new DL. Knapp's deputy, Craig Leasure, is acting DL.

My question: what the heck is going on over there? Is there a "crisis" that's being managed, or was it just deemed necessary to bolster Knapp's fading Weapons Engineering directorate by transferring HX? Or... since Knapp has been raping and pillaing ADWE so effectively, is this a precursor to eliminating DARHT?

Anonymous said...

This is the 3 envelope scenario. Charlie opened his last envelope and failed at implementing the suggestions in it, now it is Bret's turn. All you HX people that won't get on the bandwagon need to find employment elsewhere! Bret takes no prisoners and you will quickly find yourself farmed out as a "System Engineers." Or on the next RIF list with a low ranking as far as your value to HX. He has done this exercise a couple of times with W and WT Divisions so don't say you weren't warned. As far as your next DL, look for a Chris clone.....God help you!

Anonymous said...

I pity the people moved under Brett "the Hun" Knapp. I was recently called into Knapp's office, he pointed at me with his finger and directed me to leave W-division after working for 29-years in the weapon program as a weapons engineer. Knapp is an ignorant and vindictive bulldog. He transferred me to "waste land" to clean up the LANL legacy radioactive cesspools. Knapp has singled-out Hispanics and women since his Livermore days to be moved from his evil ADWE empire. I also informed Mikey of Knapp's behavior and he only said to "work it out at your level". Mikie condons Knapp's behavior. Knapp is bad news.

Anonymous said...

11/30/08 8:37 AM

You have a nice dream but its not going to happen.

Bechtel wants the Deputy spot and unless LANS dissolves they will have it. And LANS only comes undone if LANL looks (to Congress and the public) as being worst of a mess than it did under UC control. And NNSA is doing everything it can to paint LANS in the best light. Read NNSA oversight reports and you'll notice the shift in tone, they are cutting LANS a great deal of slack compared to the hammering they gave UC. NNSA wants LANS to look good, because it make them look good. LANS does not fight NNSA like UC did on employee issues (drug testing, retirement plan, "costly" benefit programs). LANS kisses NNSA's ring and licks their backside in a way that UC never did.

Anonymous said...

What's the 3 envelope scenario??

Anonymous said...

Ever Important 3 Envelopes

A new manager spends a week at his new office with the manager he is replacing. On the last day the departing manager tells him, "I have left three numbered envelopes in the desk drawer. Open an envelope if you encounter a crisis you can't solve."

Three months down the track there is major drama, everything goes wrong - the usual stuff - and the manager feels very threatened by it all.

He remembers the parting words of his predecessor and opens the first envelope. The message inside says "Blame your predecessor!" He does this and gets off the hook.

About half a year later, the company is experiencing a dip in sales, combined with serious product problems. The manager quickly opens the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize!" This he does, and the company quickly rebounds.

Three months later, at his next crisis, he opens the third envelope. The message inside says "Prepare three envelopes".

Anonymous said...

Brett Knap was put in place to do the dirty work that Nanos couldn't accomplish. He will turn DARHT into a factory run by QC idiots and 3rd rate process engineers. I pity the few good employees still left at R-Site. LANL experimental programs will slowly migrate to LLNL.

Anonymous said...

"LANS does not fight NNSA like UC did on employee issues (drug testing, retirement plan, "costly" benefit programs). LANS kisses NNSA's ring and licks their backside in a way that UC never did."

And the consequence is that LANL'S quality of work is declining, productivity is decreasing, and costs are escalating. The work is moving to other labs. NNSA doesn't care, the other labs are cheaper than LANL and NNSA, being run by non-scientists can't tell the difference between quality work and pure crap. LANS doesn't care, because there are no substantial performance measures tied to the quantity and quality of technical work. Likewise, many of the LANS managers don't have the education and experience to recognize quality. They only want to earn their $79M per year and hand out big bonuses to LANS upper level managers.

Who should care? Everyone who wants to see the kind of quality work that used to be done during the UC tenure. Everyone who wants US nuclear weapons to work, effective nonproliferation measures, technical support to the intelligence community, and the defensible science and engineering underpinnings to all of the above.

Congress? GAO? Are you out there?

Anonymous said...

One major WFO sponsor has trimmed back and will likely become history after March '09. Good show, Mikey!

Anonymous said...

"Congress? GAO? Are you out there?" - 1:17 PM

No, they don't care either, as you will soon see with the next budget.

Anonymous said...

Anyone left at LANL still trying to eek out survival on WFO funding is living the life of a fool. You'll get no real help from either LANS or NNSA.

Bright guys with successful WFO programs like Roger Johnston took their WFO programs to other labs that support this work and are far more efficient with their hard earned dollars. LANS massive overhead is slowly killing off what's left of the remaining WFO projects at LANL. You get the feeling that LANS must believe the lab has unlimited money to burn. Because of this attitude, outside sponsors are fleeing.

It has become clear of late that if you want a safe job at LANL you must find a management or support position where you can charge off the ever present overhead codes. As fewer workers bring in funding, the overhead on the programs that remain just keep going higher. It's like a giant Ponzi scheme, and like all Ponzi schemes, it will end in a collapse.

Anonymous said...

Percentage of ftes (incl staff aug) on indirect:

FY07 ~ 48%
FY08 ~ 47%

Anonymous said...

12/3/08 11:29 AM, sounds about right, considering the overhead multiplier on labor is still about 2.2, and a fraction of that amount presumably goes toward keeping the lights on and phones connected.

Now, the bonus question: What is the % of time that direct-funded employees are spending on unfunded-mandate indirect activities?

Anonymous said...

So about half the LANL employees live off the never-ending overhead accounts? Wow! But this probably doesn't include staff who live off the 8% tax used to fund LDRD, plus the special cases were people are directed by the PADs and ADs to perform work funded directly out of these offices. Indirect plus all the "internally funded" FTEs would likely place the real number at close to 60%, so we have a rough 60/40 break.

And the other 40%? They're going to find that their positions are at risk when the enormous tax burdens result in projects running short of cash to support the other 60% at LANL. Therefore, with time you would expect to see more and more of the 40% side slip over to the 60% side of the house. That's been the trend over the last few years.

Yep, it sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me!

Anonymous said...

"Indirect" head counts usually include all X and W codes, so that covers LDRD and recharge work, as well as what you normally think of as "overhead" functions.

Anonymous said...

Leader's whirlwind life leads to LANL

Lab's new deputy director settles in while catching up

Sue Vorenberg | The New Mexican

Ike Richardson is looking forward to finding a house and settling into his new job as deputy director at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Just don't ask him where he's moving from.

"I have some stuff in the Middle East, some stuff in Chicago, some stuff in Las Vegas," Richardson said with a laugh. "I'm hoping I can get it all in the same place, finally."

To say Richardson has gotten around a bit in his 58 years would be an understatement.

Born in Nashville, Tenn., and working for 31 years for the Navy before joining Bechtel Corp., the friendly, outgoing former admiral has hopped all over the globe, living in France, Florida, Germany, Washington, D.C., the Marshall Islands, the Middle East and now New Mexico.

It seems there's never been a time in his life when he's not been traveling.

"My dad was a tech representative for General Motors, and we traveled a lot," Richardson said. "I went to a lot of schools. When we looked back, I went to 12 grade schools and two high schools."

Richardson got his bachelor's degree in engineering at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, then joined the Navy to get a scholarship to pay for his education. But it turned into a much longer stint than that.

Four years turned to six as he went through flight school and got his master's degree in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida.

And then there were some fun years flying F-8 Crusader fighters and F-14 Tomcats, he said.

"Then they told me I was getting old, so I decided I'd drive ships for a while," Richardson said.

The Navy sent him to nuclear power school, and soon enough he was the executive officer of the USS Enterprise and then the commander of the USS Nimitz.

"They said you're getting really old, so we'll make you an admiral," he said.

After that, it was off to Germany, where he was deputy director of European Command, which, oddly enough, covered 91 countries including 34 in Africa.

"I spent a lot of time in Africa," Richardson said, noting especially the time he spent training soldiers in Nigeria.

He was back in the states, however, and had just moved into a new space in the Pentagon, when the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, happened.

"It was a couple hundred feet away from where we had moved in," Richardson said. "It was amazing. They had installed these blast-proof windows. Even though the airplane hit and there was a huge fireball, the windows bulged, but they didn't break. That saved some lives that day."

After the attacks, he threw his name in the ring for a job at the Transportation Security Administration. He was selected to direct security at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

"Then one of my buddies says, 'I'm working for this Bechtel Corp.; it's really a good company, you should check it out.' So I threw my résumé out there and ended up at Bechtel," Richardson said.

His work at Bechtel led him to direct missile work in the Marshall Islands, then shipped him back to the U.S. to direct recovery efforts in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina and finally to the Middle East to help build the $11 million Doha International Airport in Qatar.

"All that time, I traveled through New Mexico, moving back and forth, but I'm sorry to say I only stopped in Albuquerque and stayed overnight twice," Richardson said.

So far, after spending his first few days in Los Alamos, Richardson said he's enjoying the state, although he hasn't had much time to see anything but the insides of the lab.

As he learns more about various science and security efforts, though, he said he's been impressed by "the professionalism of the people here."

It's a bit soon to cite any goals he may have, but he says he'd like to be a team builder.

"My leadership philosophy is to get all the people to agree to the important steps," Richardson said.

Stockpile stewardship and the lab's nuclear mission are very important, but he's also excited by other work going on at LANL, including alternative energy work, environmental science, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

"I'm just scratching the surface of it all right now," he said. "Pure science, though, is a very important part of the lab. The nation derives a lot of capability from both the intentional and unintentional byproducts of that."

And the biggest problem he sees so far?

"The budget is always a problem," Richardson said. "You have more people with great ideas than you have funds, and you have to find ways to prioritize. But we need to make sure we keep science in our core mission at the heart of what we do."

An outdoorsman who enjoys golfing, skiing and fishing, Richardson said he's eager to get out and explore the state.

"Being in the Middle East for the last few years, I've got brand-new skis that have never been out of the bag," he said.

He also hopes to meet with community leaders in Northern New Mexico very soon.

"Meeting the community is certainly on the schedule," he said. "I'm enjoying myself so far. I'm just very excited to be here."

Contact Sue Vorenberg at