As workers backfilled and demobilized equipment at that site, Jennings explained his team’s journey to the successful completion and what motivates him after more than 30 years in the industry.
“It’s about people, and the people make the team,” Jennings said recently. “It’s about knowing who’s on the team, what motivates them, building rapport and trust by leading by example and doing what you said you were going to do.”
Jennings works for EM Richland Operations Office contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC). He helped transition the 618-10 work scope to CHPRC from contractor Washington Closure Hanford (WCH) when that contract ended in 2016.
Building on WCH’s success, the team finished removing contaminated drums, pipes, debris, and contaminated soil from the 618-10 Burial Ground and four nearby waste sites.
“This is one of the most successful projects I’ve been involved with during my career,” Jennings said. “We completed the work safely, on schedule, under budget, and met all of our commitments.”
Jennings sought two experienced mentors when he entered this field. He recalled their advice: you can strive to be a great engineer, or you can build a more rounded career foundation and evolve into more of a leader. Jennings chose to build his career on a foundation of knowledge about various aspects of the business.
“I don’t necessarily know all of the details required to remediate a hazardous radioactive waste site myself,” he explained. “But I know enough about the process to be able to understand it, establish dialogue with the various teams that make it happen, and support the team by setting clear priorities and expectations, while eliminating the roadblocks they might encounter and keeping the business side of the project on track to enable the team to make the success happen.”
Jennings now manages CHPRC’s effort to remove highly radioactive soil beneath the 324 Building at Hanford. He looks forward to building new relationships, strengthening teams, and helping every team member pull in the same direction.
This transition is like many others for Jennings during his career, and his advice is simple: “You have to embrace the change while taking care of your team and providing a clear direction to enable the team to be successful.”
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