The introduction of Dr. Thom Mason came during a conversation at the Headliners Club of Austin that was moderated by Carlos Sanchez, the news and politics editor at Texas Monthly. Nearly 100 people attended the event to hear about the importance of The Texas A&M University System being part of the team to manage the Los Alamos lab and the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The Texas A&M System is part of the consortium Triad National Security LLC, along with Battelle Memorial Institute and the University of California. The group last month beat out other organizations – with their university partners – when it was awarded a $2.5 billion annual contract by the National Nuclear Security Administration to oversee the lab.
Chancellor Sharp highlighted Aggies’ unwavering dedication to national service during the discussion. He mentioned the university’s top-ranked nuclear engineering program, too. Chancellor Sharp also made sure to credit M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering, for Texas A&M winning the contract.
“It began with her,” Chancellor Sharp said. “We wanted to serve our country.”
Much of the discussion included Dr. Mason, senior vice president for global laboratory operations at Battelle, who joined Chancellor Sharp and Mr. Sanchez for the discussion. Dr. Mason is serving as director designate of the lab during the transition period and president of Triad. Mason is a former director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
During Tuesday’s discussion, Dr. Mason praised Texas A&M for its dedication to national security and service, and Triad took notice.
“Aggies are all in,” he said. “When Los Alamos came up, there was no question we wanted to partner with them.”
Chancellor Sharp told crowd that the contract marks the first time in history that a Texas entity has been an equal partner in managing a national lab.
Sharp added, however, that Texas A&M has been a partner with The National Nuclear Security Administration for many years, and the university has offered technical education and research related to safeguarding nuclear materials and reducing nuclear threats.
In addition, Texas A&M, which has been involved in nuclear science for almost 60 years, is home to the largest nuclear engineering program in the nation. Going forward, Texas A&M faculty and students will lend their expertise in workforce development and emergency management and crisis preparedness training in the effort to manage Los Alamos.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.7 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Laylan Copelin
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