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Operating a national laboratory requires more than just state-of-the-art equipment. It requires a reliable infrastructure, modern systems, clear processes and procedures, proper tools, and most importantly, people. While the legacy of a laboratory may lie in its scientific breakthroughs, the heart of a laboratory lives in the people who do the work. Our scientists, engineers, administrators, expert communicators, craft workers, and others come together on the Laboratory’s campus in support of our national security mission. Truly, our people make the mission possible.
To enable the mission, Laboratory employees are supported by a wide variety of infrastructure resources. Creating capabilities like the world’s largest and highest-energy laser or the fastest supercomputer requires specialized systems and equipment, and the technology and infrastructure supporting those systems must be adaptable to mission needs. Exceptional buildings like the National Ignition Facility, the High Explosives Application Facility, and the Computing Facility are specifically designed to host some of our most advanced systems and technologies, which not only help scientists successfully conduct their research, but also attract and retain a world-class workforce.
While the Laboratory’s scientists and engineers work on solving our nation’s biggest problems, our service support employees act as partners, ensuring work gets done efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively. Our facilities personnel maintain clear roadways, walkways, and bike paths; our chefs provide healthy food options (and much-needed coffee breaks) in our cafeterias; and our custodial staff ensures our facilities remain sanitary and clutter-free—just to list a few examples. Our service employees are the unsung heroes of the workforce, working tirelessly to ensure all of us have a comfortable place to work.
The Laboratory’s infrastructure also helps foster community. Organizations like the Lawrence Livermore Employee Services Association and the Laboratory’s Employee Resource Groups help employees find a community of colleagues and friends, as well as provide lifestyle support such as childcare, a gym, and health services. To support group events and activities, the Laboratory invests in gathering areas and strategic landscaping—the community outside of the office is oftentimes as important as the one inside.
Further, operating a national security laboratory means Livermore’s resources must be secure. The Laboratory’s chief information officer and information technology teams make sure employees have the technology they need to get their jobs done safely and securely. The Laboratory also ensures its people and facilities are safe in the event of an emergency. With over 8,000 employees spread across 531 buildings and trailers, the Laboratory currently has a $20.2 billion replacement plant value. An onsite emergency management team and security force ensure a quick response to emergency situations. Lastly, organizations like Work Planning and Control, as well as Environment, Safety, and Health ensure the Laboratory is in compliance with federal standards that define how employees do work. All of these resources support our people, and when people are fully supported, they excel.
In a campus with so many moving parts, aging infrastructure is a challenge. The Laboratory was founded almost 70 years ago, and its age shows in some of the facilities and equipment. Luckily, we find ourselves at a historical crossroads with ample opportunity for growth and improvement. The Laboratory’s demographics are changing, we are hiring at an unprecedented rate, and we’re adding new equipment and facilities while modernizing others. To ensure our infrastructure keeps up with our growth, the Laboratory is investing in extensive infrastructure planning. Master infrastructure planning helps us shape what we want the Laboratory to look like a decade, or even two decades, from now. It helps us visualize our future and align our current steps with that vision. As the Laboratory grows, we also remain conscious of sustainability and responsible stewardship of taxpayer money. The Laboratory is leading efforts to conserve water, reduce energy and fuel, and implement electric vehicle stations. As beneficiaries of Earth’s resources, we have a responsibility to protect and care for the planet.
The Laboratory faces its share of challenges in the coming decade, but the future is bright. We’re scaling up our technology and resources, improving our processes and procedures, modernizing our infrastructure, and investing in the areas that will support our mission the most. Ultimately, investments in infrastructure will ensure the Laboratory meets mission needs and fosters the growth and success of our people, now and in the future.