Leadership Los Alamos (LLA), a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the future of Los Alamos, is pleased to recognize two outstanding leaders: LLA alumni Art Brown and community member Ron Wilkins.
Beginning in 2015, LLA alumni have nominated outstanding leaders in the community. One award is given to a LLA program graduate and one is given to a community member at large.
Brown is a 2008 LLA graduate whose passion for youth has enriched Los Alamos. His most significant leadership roles have been as a mentor/team/youth leader with the United Church Mission Trip and Los Alamos Youth Leadership. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Los Alamos Golf Course and Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation where he also has served as scholarship chair. In addition to his careers with Banda Group International LLC, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the US Air Force, Brown also is a service officer and vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Los Alamos.
His service to the United Church Mission Trip has helped numerous Los Alamos youth experience a life-changing event. Congregation and Youth Pastor Keith Lewis says, “Art has the gift of servant leadership, which means he rolls up his sleeves alongside his work crew and teaches them the skills necessary to build the home and then allows them to carry out their work assignment. Smart, funny, eager to help and always willing to teach, Art is a mentor for our young people in the community. His strong sense of personal integrity and responsibility for those around him may be rooted in his service in The United States Air Force but you get the sense after spending time with him that he has always carried the values with him and lives them out on a daily basis. His relationships with young people continue long after the trip has been completed, indeed years after they have graduated from Los Alamos High School.”
Brown talks the talk and walks the walk. He doesn’t just direct youth through his participation in the various organizations; he also works and plays beside them. If they’re building a house, he has a hammer; if it’s a youth retreat, he’s on the bus and participating in the discussions; if it’s a fundraiser, he’s baking cookies or washing the cars. He maintains the highest standards of integrity. Brown is known for his honesty, trustworthiness, and commitment to others.
Laura Erickson, co-director of the United Church Mission Trip says, “Los Alamos is a better place because Art chooses to share his energy, his enthusiasm, and his smile!”
Wilkins has a passion for preserving history, promoting the arts, discussing scientific issues and encouraging others through scholarships. Wilkins has volunteered in leadership roles with many organizations since his retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratory: Los Alamos Historical Society (four years as president of the board), the Fuller Lodge/Historic Districts Advisory Board, the Los Alamos Creative District, the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security and the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee.
Art Freed, a Historical Society Board member, commented about Wilkins’s service as president on the board, “Much occurred during that time and continues: formation of a new administrative structure providing for an Executive Director and a Museum Director, moving the Archives from Fuller Lodge to the County Municipal Building, acquisition of the Oppenheimer and Bethe Houses on Bathtub Row, a very significant fund raising campaign, renovation of the “Guest Cottage” (the building housing our museum) and re-design of exhibits to be installed there, etc. Ron sees to it that facts are collected and understood when decisions are needed and helps guide that process along in a keen way.”
One of Wilkin’s strongest talents is consensus building. Heather McClenahan, director of the Los Alamos Historical Society says, “As a leader, Ron does an amazing job at building consensus. He ensures that everyone is heard, that opinions are thoughtfully mulled, and that decisions include all stakeholders. It is a style of leadership that helps everyone feel like they are part of the process and creates strong support for the end result.”
Wilkins is a true leader by example as no job is insignificant. He can be found leading a meeting, giving a presentation, or dismantling and moving exhibits for the new museum space. He is always accessible to discuss issues and ideas. Wilkins humbly leads quietly in the background in everything he does. He creates good team building and carefully listens to all involved before making a decision.
“Without the leadership of Ron Wilkins, Los Alamos would not be as livable and dynamic as it is today,” McClenahan said.
Both Wilkins and Brown will receive a special award at the LLA Class of 2016 graduation May 13. Previous winners of the award include Roger Waterman, LLA Alumni class of 2004 and Denny Erickson, community member at large.
Leadership Los Alamos identifies, enlightens, and encourages leaders of diverse backgrounds, occupations and cultures for the purpose of broadening the understanding of our community and enhancing the quality of leadership. For more information, visit http://leadershiplosalamos.com/.