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Local residents appointed to citizen’s environmental advisory board

Oak Ridge, Tenn. – New faces will join the proceedings when an Oak Ridge citizen’s advisory board convenes this fall to provide input to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on its cleanup mission across the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Nine members were appointed to the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) during the summer, bringing the group’s total to 21 members and two non-voting student representatives. DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) regularly briefs the board about its top cleanup projects and priorities, and in turn, the board issues recommendations over the course of each fiscal year, which begins in October.

ORSSAB is a federally chartered citizen’s panel that was created to engage the community in federal cleanup projects and aid DOE in its decision-making process through public involvement. The advisory board operates as a forum for informed discussion that invites community perspectives, allows the general public access to information on DOE cleanup projects, and provides input to DOE through an established, formal recommendation process.

The nine new members who will join ORSSAB’s public outreach efforts in the fall are Kathryn Bales, Christopher Beatty, Rosario Gonzalez, Eddie Holden, Deni Sobek, Fred Swindler, Venita Thomas, Rudy Weigel, and Phil Yager. All are residents of Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and surrounding areas, and each brings to the board a special expertise and shared enthusiasm for community enrichment.

“We have a great group of individuals joining us this year,” said Sue Cange, OREM’s manager. “We are excited to launch a new fiscal year work plan with the board and eager to engage the perspectives of all of our members during the upcoming term.”

Kathryn Bales, Knoxville, is a senior nuclear engineering student at the University of Tennessee (UT), pursuing a career as a medical physicist. She expects to enter a doctoral program in medical physics following graduation from UT in May.

Christopher Beatty, Knoxville, works as a quality assurance engineer with Innovative Design Inc., which provides support for the U.S. ITER project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He has previously held positions with Jacobs Technology, NASA, the U.S. Space Army Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama, and the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Rosario Gonzalez, Oak Ridge, manages the cafeteria at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oak Ridge, where she has been employed since 1986. She previously worked as a secretary in Torreón, Mexico, where she received her Secretarial Academy Certification.

Eddie Holden, a Knoxville resident and Oak Ridge native, retired as a transportation logistics manager who worked with OREM for 10 years, and prior to that for 31 years with Yellow Freight in various locations across the nation.

Deni Sobek, Oak Ridge, is a science teacher at Oak Ridge High School. Her areas of specialization include human anatomy and physiology as well as environmental science.

Fred Swindler, Rockwood, retired as the vice president of IsoRay Medical Inc. and now acts as a consultant in regulatory affairs for the company, which provides innovative approaches to cancer treatment and diagnosis through proprietary medical isotope technologies.

Venita Thomas, Knoxville, is an occupational safety and health specialist with Alliant Corp., which provides services to ORNL. She previously worked at DOE’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina as an environmental compliance consultant.

Rudy Weigel, Oak Ridge, is a retired industrial hygienist who previously worked for Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and prior to that with Bechtel Jacobs and Pacific Western Technologies, both in Oak Ridge. He has extensive experience as a bioenvironmental engineer, environmental scientist, and hazardous waste program coordinator.

Phil Yager, Oak Ridge, was recently elected as the Anderson County Commissioner for District 8 in Oak Ridge. He is a retired investment services manager who worked as a vice president for Goelzer Investment Management in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is active in the Oak Ridge community, serving on several boards and volunteering with a number of civic organizations.

These individuals join an already diverse and active group that meets monthly to share ideas and offer their perspectives on the future actions and decisions that will further OREM’s mission in Oak Ridge.

The board’s members are federally appointed to two-year terms and are selected to represent the cultural perspectives and cross-sectional viewpoints of a rich and diverse population. All members are volunteers and are unpaid for their time.

ORSSAB meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, located at 1 Way. The board’s monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Distribution channels: Energy