On May 11, the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) dedicated the second building of the Mercury Modernization program to Steven J. Lawrence, former manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Nevada Field Office (NFO). Throughout his distinguished career, Lawrence gave more than 30 years of service to the NNSS and is largely credited with shaping NNSS’ modern national security mission.
Mercury Bldg. 2 represents an important accomplishment for the NNSA, a second milestone in the NNSS modernization program serving as a pilot infrastructure initiative for standardization and efficiency. It is a significant step in revitalizing and replacing aged infrastructure at the NNSS, some of whose buildings were erected in the 1950s and 1960s when it was still known as the Nevada Test Site.
Speakers at the dedication ceremony included NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Frank A. Rose, current NFO Manager Dr. David R. Bowman, Mission Support and Test Services (MSTS) President Garrett Harencak, and Steven Lawrence himself.
“Today’s complex national security environment differs greatly from the one President Truman dealt with 72 years ago,” Principal Deputy Administrator Rose said. “It is perhaps the most complex security environment ever, and that is why our nation’s nuclear deterrence mission is so critical,” he continued, noting that modern infrastructure like the new Bldg. 2 is vital in supporting this mission.
Taking the podium at the end of the ceremony, Lawrence offered a range of thoughts on the nature of his service and his impressions of the new building. “It’s so high-tech,” he said. “It kind of felt like stepping onto the bridge of the USS Enterprise.” He emphasized his focus on teamwork and integration, and described how he worked to transform the NNSS from the siloed workforce that existed when he first began working there to the culture of unified and collaborative effort that had replaced it when he left.
NFO Manager Dr. Bowman said of Lawrence, “I have no doubt that it was the relationships that Steve developed at the headquarters, state and local levels that helped the NNSS become what it is today.”
“We secure America’s future,” said MSTS President Harencak, “and we will continue to secure it. It is our teamwork that makes us strong, both as a workforce and as a nation.”
The Mercury Modernization program calls for more than $350 million to be invested in creating a campus-like environment with nine new modern facilities in Mercury and other locations within the NNSS to meet the needs of the workforce supporting the NNSA’s national security programs. The campus buildings are designed as High Performance Sustainable Buildings with net-zero energy design criteria. Bldg. 2, in particular, is a state-of-the-art, 13,000-square-foot facility that will house the Site’s Operations Command Center and Emergency Operations Center, including support for Nye County Dispatch.
The program demonstrates practical application of technologies that can make facilities sustainable and more cost-effective over the long-term, in addition to providing an example of how to effectively leverage DOE enterprise capabilities in partnership with private and public sector resources.