Today at Berkeley Lab

Q&A With Lab Veterans Tina Declerk, Nick Everson, and Tom Hussey

Tom Hussey, subcontracts analyst in Procurement and Property Department

What branch of service did you serve in?
The U.S. Army

Why did you pick that branch?
I initially thought I’d go into the FBI, so I enlisted instead of entering as an officer (even though I could have because I had graduated from college). I went straight into language school to learn Russian and trained as a Russian interrogator and also in mechanized infantry.

How long did you serve?
Two years active/enlisted and nine years in reserves.

Was there one event that inspired you to join the military?
My dad—he flew in the air force in WWII.

What area of the Lab do you work in?
I work in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), which manages the Lab’s subcontracts.

How did your time in the military prepare you for that job?
It really taught me how to deal with a wide variety of people. At one point, I was a company commander in charge of 112 people—that really helped me develop leadership skills. I feel like you really learn in the military how to work with people to get things done.

What is your contribution to the Lab’s scientific mission?
Getting contracts awarded in a clear and concise manner and addressing a lot of legal issues up front helps ensure that the Lab is covered for less risk.

Nick Everson, BEI Chief Operating Officer and BSE Division Operations Deputy

What branch of service did you serve in?
The U.S. Navy

Why did you pick that branch?
It qualified me for accelerated advancement in the nuclear propulsion program.

How long did you serve?
Six years

Was there one event that inspired you to join the military?
My dad and grandfather served in the military, and it allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do long term, while earning money for college.

What area of the Lab do you work in?
I am in the Biosciences Area in Emeryville, home of JBEI, ABPDU, and the Agile BioFoundry.

How did your time in the military prepare you for that job?
It helped me to learn how to build trust among people from very different backgrounds to work toward a common goal.

What is your contribution to the Lab’s scientific mission?
I strive to keep our labs operationally ready so that our researchers can focus on their world class science.

Tina Declerck, acting Department Head for the Systems Department overseeing the Operations Technology and the Security and Networking Groups

What branch of service did you serve in?
The Air Force

Why did you pick that branch?
I was intrigued by an Air Force talk I went to while in college. When I graduated I gave myself six months to find a “real job” in my field (I had majored in computing systems engineering technology) and decided that if I didn’t find anything, I’d join the Air Force. I didn’t have a lot of confidence at the time, and I didn’t interview well, so after six months I found myself enlisting in the Air Force. I was able to go in as an officer since I had my college degree. After officer training school and communications training, I was stationed in North Dakota.

Was there one event that inspired you to join the military?
Just that I’d given myself that “deadline” after college.

What area of the Lab do you work in?
I work at NERSC, a department in the Computing Sciences division. We operate the high- performance computers that are used for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science.

How did your time in the military prepare you for that job?
I was thrown immediately into a leadership role as a second lieutenant, which helped me to gain a lot of confidence. My first job was head of the Plans and Programs group which was responsible for installing all the physical security and communications equipment, the telephone systems, radios, and computer systems on the base. I supervised 14 people and needed to interface regularly with the base commanders. We had about 75 active projects that required us to coordinate with other agencies on base and ensure that the projects stayed on schedule. You quickly learn that if you treat your people with respect you earn their true respect. The leadership and confidence I gained through my military experience is something that I use in my job every day.

What do you think is your contribution to the Lab’s scientific mission?
NERSC is the mission computing facility for the Office of Science in the US Department of Energy. The systems that we run are really key to basic scientific research that happens in the world. I like that the simulation work sometimes keeps the Lab from having to run as many physical experiments, potentially saving time and money.