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Townsend Resigns as ORAU President, Named Executive VP for Battelle’s Global Laboratory Operations

ORAU Board Appoints Homer Fisher as Interim President

Nov. 18, 2008

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—After 11 years at the helm of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), Dr. Ronald D. Townsend has resigned his position with ORAU to accept a new position with Battelle as the Executive Vice President for Global Laboratory Operations. He replaces Dr. Jeffery Wadsworth who will assume his new role as Battelle President and Chief Executive Officer on January 1.

The ORAU Board of Directors, who met in Oak Ridge last week, has already named a search committee, and today announced that Homer Fisher, Senior Vice President Emeritus of the University of Tennessee, has agreed to serve as Interim ORAU President and Interim ORISE Director until a replacement can be found.

In his post retirement position with UT, Fisher is serving as the Director of Oak Ridge Operations for the university. He was UT’s architect of the partnership with Battelle that led to UT‐Battelle being awarded the contract to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2000. Fisher has spent 44 years working in higher education, including 31 years at the University of Tennessee. He served in several key leadership positions at UT, including Senior Vice President responsible for coordinating university‐wide academic affairs, student affairs, sponsored research programs, and academic planning and assessment.

“The Board unanimously agreed to name Homer Fisher as the Interim President of ORAU,” said ORAU Board Chair James Siedow, Duke University’s Vice Provost for Research, “Homer currently serves as a member of the ORAU Board of Directors. He has extensive executive experience with the University of Tennessee and has developed close relationships with the community, DOE, and ORNL. He is ideally suited to lead ORAU during this period of transition in ORAU leadership.”

The next ORAU leader will have some very big shoes to fill. When Townsend arrived at ORAU in 1997 after a 25 year career in the Air Force, the company had an annual budget of $85 million and approximately 650 employees. The consortium was comprised of 88 member universities. Today, ORAU’s annual expenditures exceed $235 million, there are almost 1000 employees, and the consortium has grown to 99 universities strong.

Under Townsend’s leadership, ORAU’s relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy grew even stronger. He successfully led ORAU’s proposal teams to win a new DOE contract in 2000, and again in 2005. ORAU’s performance against those contracts has been described as “outstanding” year after year. Townsend also helped ORAU win new work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during his time with the company.

Perhaps the biggest new contract win for ORAU during Townsend’s tenure was for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to reconstruct more than 20,000 radiation doses for former DOE workers who might be eligible for compensation and benefits under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

Townsend refocused ORAU’s mission to strengthen the nation’s scientific research and education enterprise, and built upon a long‐standing relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. When UT and Battelle teamed up to bid on the contract for the management of ORNL, Townsend was there to help assemble the key university resources that would be called upon to support ORNL’s future science initiatives. That key strategic partnership with UT‐Battelle has helped successfully expand university interactions with ORNL.

In addition to ORAU offices in Washington, D.C., Colorado, Ohio, and California, Townsend has also overseen a major modernization program that helped ORAU and DOE consolidate ORISE operations onto two campuses in Oak Ridge – a corporate campus in the middle of town and a complex of DOE‐owned buildings on the South campus. That modernization program also included the construction of more than 150,000 square feet of new office and warehouse space and features the ORISE Center for Science Education which will open in February.

“Ron Townsend has done a remarkable job of leading ORAU while building a robust business portfolio and implementing key university partnership initiatives,” added Siedow. “His leadership with UT‐Battelle to expand university interaction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been invaluable. The ORAU Board of Directors regrets that Oak Ridge is losing a strong leader but also have absolute confidence in ORAU’s leadership team to maintain the high quality of operations that people have come to expect of ORAU.”

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Dr. Ronald D. Townsend

Dr. Ronald D. Townsend
High-resolution version of photo

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