SRNS leadership group hosts professional development conference

December 2, 2016

Leadership is not something that comes without time and effort, so one group at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site is investing more of each to cultivate potential.

Members of Leaders Emerging Among Professionals, or LEAP, jumped at the chance Monday to hear career advice from seasoned veterans in the nuclear industry. More than 180 employees from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the management and operations contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy, gathered for a conference beneath the banner “Emerging leaders: your future begins today.”

The group welcomed speakers Jennifer Large, vice president of Fluor talent development, and Stephen Muller, director of Fluor talent development from Irving, Texas. Fluor is the leading company in the conglomerate that makes up SRNS.

According to a prepared release from SRNS, Large told the group, “Sometimes we spend more time planning vacations than planning our careers. No matter where you are in your career – whether fresh out of college or nearing retirement, it’s vital to have a game plan. We often have more control of our situations than we give ourselves credit for.”

Large told the group not to ask where they see themselves in five years, but rather to ask what contribution they want to be known for in five years.

After the keynote address, leaders from different areas within SRNS opened a panel discussion. Panelists from environmental stewardship, materials science and technology, tritium engineering and nuclear materials disposition offered individual insights into leadership and career progression at Savannah River Site.

Current SRNS President and CEO Stuart MacVean is serving as the group’s executive sponsor.

“The LEAP organization is a valuable asset to the Savannah River Site and our region,” MacVean said. “Not only does it provide opportunities for our future leaders to expand their network, but it also impacts retention and affects who stays in the CSRA.”

LEAP President Caroline Reppert said the group was established in October 2010 by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and was originally based on Fluor’s Graduates Advancing to Professionalism, or GAP, program, which serves to help bridge the gap between Fluor and recent college graduates.

Reppert said the group hopes to build upon what it learned from the conference. She also noted that the program is entirely voluntary and is open to SRNS employees and interns who are within seven years of their college graduation.

Reppert said LEAP hosts monthly “lunch and learn” professional development events that have recently featured topics including spent fuel storage and project management, as well as a tour of the Savannah River Ecology Lab, a program of the University of Georgia.

“Our goal is to continue offering quality events in the upcoming year and to increase participation in all areas: professional development, outreach and networking, ultimately bringing employees together from different areas of the site,” she said.