The board consists of high-level managerial and technical executives from government, education, business, and industry. Its purpose is to provide influence, advocacy, counsel, and support to ensure that the programs, activities, and initiatives of the department are national in scope and that the department is increasingly recognized as a major center of excellence for nuclear education and research.
“We are very pleased to have a talented executive with Harold’s credentials and experience on our Advisory Board,” said Department Head Wes Hines. “His expertise will add greatly to our plans for growth and enhancement of the nuclear engineering program.”
A career veteran of multiple nuclear projects, Conner, a CBE alumnus, currently serves as senior advisor to Kenneth J. Rueter, UCOR president and chief executive officer. UCOR is lead cleanup contractor for the Department of Energy’s East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), former home of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, and other sites on the Oak Ridge Reservation.
His position at UCOR allowed Conner to return to ETTP, where his career started as a co-op student at the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant while pursuing his chemical engineering degree at UT.
His entry-level co-op routine of working one quarter and going to school the next eventually earned him a full-time job. He spent the next 33 years working in almost every facility at ETTP, eventually being named vice president of Environmental Management and Enrichment Facilities (EMEF) by Lockheed Martin. In that role, he managed 3,000 workers and a $500 million budget for EMEF located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Portsmouth, Ohio.
Over the years, Conner’s career has taken him to DOE sites across the country, including the Paducah and Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plants, the Y-12 Plant, the Idaho National Laboratory, the Savannah River Site, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He picked up a few awards along the way, including the prestigious UT Knoxville Alumni Professional Achievement Award and the Secretary of Energy Award of Achievement. In 2017, Conner was named a Fellow by the American Society for Engineering Management.
A registered professional engineer in Tennessee and South Carolina, Conner received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from UT and earned his doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.