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LANL Director Thom Mason Reflects On First 90 Days

on January 31, 2019 - 9:39am
LANL Director Thom Mason. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos Daily Post

Thom Mason today completes his first 90 days at the helm of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

During an interview in his office last Thursday, Mason spoke of his admiration for the scientists, engineers and staff at the Lab and his gratitude to the community for its warm welcome. He also touched on the best thing about his job as well as the challenges.

“During these first 90 days one thing that has really struck me as I’ve visited the various areas of the Laboratory is the total commitment to the Laboratory’s mission by all Lab staff that I’ve met,” Mason said. “They clearly have a sense that their efforts really matter.”

Mason describes the most enjoyable aspect of his job.

“The thing I really like is the variety that comes from the breadth of the institution. I can touch in the course of a day the science, the technology, the operations, the community engagement ... that variety really keeps me engaged,” he said.

And the challenge?

“The challenge is that same breadth of the organization and keeping on top of everything we do. It’s also a huge Lab and campus, geographically, with more than 1,000 sites dispersed over 36 square miles,” Mason said. “We have some areas we need to improve, and we've started that already and I believe we can do that because the staff believes in the mission.”

His thoughts on the Community?

“Los Alamos is a special place, by and large born at the same time as the Lab and we’ve grown up together,” Mason said. “I saw this a bit in Oak Ridge. There’s a slightly different sense of community in a place where there’s more shared purpose than other places might have and that can be positive.”

In wrapping up the interview, Mason wanted to reach out and thank the community: “There are a number of us who are part of the team who came from other parts of the country and I just want to say thank you for the welcome we’ve received.”

Mason’s prior position was senior vice president for Global Laboratory Operations at Battelle headquarters in Columbus, Ohio where he had responsibility for governance and strategy across the six national laboratories managed or co-managed by Battelle. Prior to that, he worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 19 years, including 10 years as the Laboratory director.

Mason is married with two college age sons.