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March 27, 2008

Energy Secretary’s Excellence Award to Molecular Foundry Project Management Team

BERKELEY, CA — The project management team behind the design and construction of the Molecular Foundry, a national nanoscience research facility at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has won the prestigious “Secretary of Energy's Excellence in Acquisition Award," given by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for demonstrating "exceptional results in completing a project within cost and schedule.” This past October, this same team was recognized when the Molecular Foundry won a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, the first LEED gold certification ever awarded to a building in the City of Berkeley.

Science image From left, Joe Harkins, Kathy Johnescu and Jim Krupnick were members of the project management team that won a Secretary of Energy's Excellence in Acquisition Award for their work in overseeing the design and construction of Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. Shown behind them, the Molecular Foundry is a six-story, 96,000 square-foot steel and glass building that houses one of five Nanoscale Science Research Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. (Click image for high-resolution version, or here.)

“Winning this award helps gain DOE’s trust and confidence in Berkeley Lab’s ability to manage big projects like this and that can make the difference between winning and losing future projects,” said Joseph Harkins, a member of Berkeley Lab’s Facilities Division, who was the project manager for the Molecular Foundry. He and James Krupnick, a member of Berkeley Lab’s Directorate who was the project director, accepted the award from Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman at the annual DOE Project Management Workshop, which was held earlier in the month in Washington, D.C.

Also in Washington to accept the award were Altaf “Tof” Carim, program manager for DOE’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, which oversees the Molecular Foundry, along with DOE’s other Nanoscale Science Research Centers, and Kathy Johnescu, of DOE’s Berkeley Site Office, who served as the Federal Project Director for the Molecular Foundry. Jim Bustillo, former associate director at the Molecular Foundry, another member of the project management team, did not attend the award ceremony.

The Molecular Foundry is one of five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the only one on the West Coast. Inside its six-story, 96,000 square-foot steel, concrete and glass building, users from around the world are provided with the instrumentation and technologies required for studies of the synthesis, characterization and theory of nanoscale materials. The Molecular Foundry houses six research facilities and serves as a hub for collaborations among researchers from such diverse disciplines as materials science, biology, electrical engineering, physics and chemistry.

“I understood from the beginning that we were building a research facility, not just constructing a building and filling it with equipment,” said project director Krupnick.

“We worked very closely throughout the project with the scientific staff, but particularly during the early stages of design and space programming, to ensure that the facility, when completed, would meet their needs. We could build the full project scope, on time and on budget and still fail if, in the end, we didn't provide an integrated facility to enable world class science.”

The Molecular Foundry was built at a cost of about $85 million. It was designed by the SmithGroup of San Francisco, and constructed by Rudolph and Sletten General Contractors, out of Foster City, working in close collaboration with the award-winning project management team. Ground was broken on January 30, 2004, and the facility was dedicated on March 24, 2006.

At the dedication ceremony, Carolyn Bertozzi, the scientific director of The Molecular Foundry had this to say about Krupnick and Harkins, “

“Jim Krupnick kept us on schedule by knowing exactly when to crack the whip, and Joe Harkins is simply a miracle of science. He understood every aspect of this building and everything that was needed to make its construction possible.”

The Secretary's Excellence in Acquisition Award is awarded to an individual or team that implemented ideas, methods or processes that led to measurable improvements in acquisition management.

Said Harkins, “Diligence and innovation were the key factors in the success of this project. Diligence in the attention to details, from risk management to personnel issues, and innovation in that we used a two-phased contracting method, called Construction Manager/General Contractor, that’s been used by the University of California system but never before by DOE.”

Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Visit our Website at www.lbl.gov.

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