Texas A&M representatives meet with Los Alamos community leaders and Regional Coalition of LANL Communities staff Friday morning at La Cocina Restaurant in Espanola. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz, left, chats with Assistant Vice Chancellor Scott Sudduth of Texas A&M University’s Office of Federal Relations and Senior Advisor Diane Hurtado for Strategic Initiatives at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station Friday in Espanola. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Los Alamos community leaders joined with Texas A&M University officials for a breakfast hosted by the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities at La Cocina Restaurant Friday morning in Espanola.
Scott Sudduth, assistant vice chancellor of the university’s Office of Federal Relations and Diane Hurtado, senior advisor for Strategic Initiatives at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station chatted with the group for a couple of hours but remained mum on whom the University is in partnership with on its proposal for the Los Alamos National Laboratory managing and operating contract, which begins Oct. 1, 2018.
Suddeth told the group that he was part of the first competition for the contract and is no stranger to some of the management challenges of the Lab and more importantly, to how important the community of Los Alamos is to the Lab.
“What you may not know is that Texas A&M has been a leader in the field of nuclear engineering for many decades. There are many schools around the country that have nuclear engineering programs but as interest in the industry and interest around the country has waned with nuclear power, many of those programs have gone away,” Sudduth said. “We have supported our program through thick and thin. It’s now the largest program in the country and one of the oldest.”
He went on to say that from the standpoint of LANL, not only has Texas A&M been a pipeline source of graduates who have worked at LANL and surrounding labs, but many of its faculty are deeply invested in research collaboration with the Lab.
“We have some of the expertise and are often there with our faculty and our students so we are no stranger to the Lab,” Suddeth said. “We certainly don’t think we can do it alone but we have brought some people to the table that have a lot of expertise and can help.”
Present at the meeting were Andrea Romero, executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities; Scarlett Rendleman, RCLC administrative manager; Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz; Val Alonzo, executive director of the Regional Development Corporation; Dr. Cindy Rooney, CEO of University of New Mexico-Los Alamos; Carmela Quintana of Sen. Tom Udall’s Office, Jenny Parks; CEO of the LANL Foundation; Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation; Liddy Martinez, Los Alamos market president for Los Alamos National Bank; Mike Lipiatt, property manager at Plateau Property Management; Kristy Ortega, executive director of United Way of Northern New Mexico and former County Councilor Kristen Henderson, a realtor who is involved with the Manhattan Project National Park and the Bradbury Science Museum.
Suddoth told the group that the University understands that they are the fabric and backbone of the community.
“So we do this as a partnership and if we have the opportunity to be here we understand that not only being a success on the mission for NNSA, it gives us a great opportunity to be successful as a community partner,” he said.
Suddoth said Texas A&M does a lot with small businesses in the state of Texas. He said people have great ideas on starting a business but that running a business is a different undertaking. He said the University brings these businesses through rigorous coursework to try to help them and that this is something they would be eager to work with the community to do.
“We are excited to be here and we believe we have a great proposal,” Suddoth said.
Asked if there is a “hard date” for announcement of the awardee, Suddoth said he expects it to be early in 2018.
“Next step is the NNSA will determine whether the bid proposal is competitive. The first line is one of compliance where they look very carefully at the requirements they put on the table, and they look to how you answered the requirements and if you forgot to dot the i’s, if you’re not technically compliant, your proposal will be rejected,” he said. “So they’ll determine if you’re compliant and then you may be invited to give an oral presentation. It’s expected that in March after the oral presentation they will make a decision.”
Suddoth said that with the current contract expiring at the end of September, it would be envisioned that the winning team would have a six-month transition period and take over Oct. 1.
Andrea Romero told Suddoth and Hurtado the Coalition is hoping to engage with both the outgoing and incoming contractors during the transition. She said NNSA has not yet been responsive to outreach from the Coalition as to how it will be involved in the process, which clearly requires the contractor to work with the community.
LANB Los Alamos Market President Liddy Martinez, left, and RCLC Executive Director Andrea Romero review the planning details for the community commitment plan for the proposed LANL managing and operating contract. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
LACDC Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, le, speaks with Assistant Vice Chancellor Scott Sudduth of Texas A&M University’s Office of Federal Relations at Friday’s meeting. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com