Distinguished Engineer Citations
Kelly J. Beierschmitt, Ph.D.
B.S., Industrial Engineering – 1992
At Time of Nomination in 2013
Dr. Kelly Beierschmitt was born in Amarillo, Texas. After graduating from Claude High School, Beierschmitt spent two years as a chemical engineering student at Texas Tech University. As finances became an issue, Beierschmitt went to work at Pantex and transferred to West Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor of science in engineering mathematics.
Beierschmitt began his career at Pantex developing analytical methods for assessing the effects of the aging of nuclear explosive components and developing capabilities for understanding the chemical and physical processes involved in the long-term interactions between nuclear materials for stockpile stewardship. While at Pantex, Beierschmitt held several key roles, ranging from providing leadership in efforts to enhance the safeguards and security program to the responsibility for high explosives production, storage, and disposal efforts. Beierschmitt rose to department manager of the facilities startup organization, where he was responsible for commissioning and early operation of the plant's new modern weapons production, testing, assembly, and storage facilities. During his time at Pantex, he completed a Ph.D. in industrial engineering at Texas Tech in 1992, focusing on risk and reliability engineering.
In 1996, Beierschmitt left Pantex for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where his experience in nuclear science and operations continued by providing support to the Department of Energy's International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group's Chernobyl evaluation. He was also a principal member of a task force chartered to conduct a priority facility vulnerability analysis at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which included the hot cell facilities, old graphite reactor and medical reactor. He also worked in developing dose models for human exposure, including einsteinium.
Beierschmitt joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in January 2000 as director of the Environment, Safety, Health and Quality Directorate (ESH&Q). He was responsible for developing, operating, and continuously improving ESH&Q management systems and providing ESH&Q services that enabled mission accomplishment. He also led the enhancement and implementation of ORNL's Integrated Safety Management System. In 2004 Beierschmitt assumed the role of director of the Nuclear Operations Directorate, leading the renewal of ORNL's nuclear facilities capabilities and bringing them up to modern standards. This included renewal of the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to extend its mission for neutron scattering, materials irradiation, and isotope production, and consolidating 10 nuclear facilities into four modern facilities with state-of-the-art capabilities. Following this assignment, Beierschmitt was named associate laboratory director of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate and the executive director of the HFIR for ORNL. The breadth of Beierschmitt's responsibilities included fuel cycle and isotopes research, design, development, modeling and simulation of reactor and nuclear systems, and the development and implementation of nuclear security technology.
Beierschmitt is currently the associate laboratory director of neutron sciences for ORNL. He is responsible for the management of the neutron sciences research and development portfolio, including the operation of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world's most powerful pulsed neutron source. The SNS is dedicated to the study of the structure and dynamics of quantum condensed matter, biology and soft matter, and chemistry and engineered materials through the application of neutron scattering techniques with more than 3,000 annual users. He is also responsible for the operation of the HFIR, an 85 megawatt research reactor dedicated to neutron scattering, materials irradiation, and isotope production.
Beierschmitt and his wife, Sudie, live in Kingston, Tenn., and have two children, Aron and Evan.