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Table of Contents

Summer ’11 Chamber Welcome......................3 From Chairman of the Board Mike Belbeck

Cover Story.................................4 The Sum of Its Parts Here & Now.................................6 Shootout in the Smokies ORNL Federal Credit Union Commits to Expansion Music in the Park Around Town...............................8 The Oak Ridge – Naka-shi Student Exchange You Can’t Top Perfection Pedal Pushing A Fair Floral Health Notes.............................10 Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Oak Ridge Physician Comes Home Innovation................................12 Rapid Research Technology 2020

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Voices........................................14 Voices of Oak Ridge We the People............................15 Clark and Monica Eckert Mitch Rouse Uncommon Knowledge.............16 Y-12 and Building 9731 Star Power Small Talk.................................18 An Early Start on Excellence A Chance to Play Crossing Guard Mr. Miller

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chief financial officer Rhonda Harsy

ABOUT   This book is published by CommunityLink and distributed through the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. For advertising information or questions or comments about this book, contact CommunityLink at 800-455-5600 or by e-mail at info@CommunityLink.com.

FOR INFORMATION   Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, 1400 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, Telephone 865-483-1321, Fax 865-483-1678, www.oakridgechamber.org

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Welcome

Chamber Welcome W

hen my family moved to the rolling hills of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, almost four years ago, we had many questions regarding what to expect. We hoped that we would find a school system for our children that we would be pleased with, that we would find plenty of leisure activities, that we would find a home and neighborhood where we would be comfortable, and that we would make some good friends. I’m sure as you consider moving here, you have some of these same questions as well. The reality is that all of our questions have been answered and our experience has far exceeded our expectations. Oak Ridge is an extraordinary place to live. Our children attend award-winning schools in the city and will move on to Oak Ridge High School, which was just named the highest ranking public school in East Tennessee in Newsweek’s recent list of 1,600 Top High Schools in America. We couldn’t be happier with the education our kids are receiving. Our children are involved in all kinds of extracurricular activities: Our son plays soccer for Soccer Club of Oak Ridge (“SCOR”) and participates in chess club at his elementary school; our daughter plays Girls Inc. basketball; both of our kids have participated in the fourth grade strings program offered by the elementary schools in the city … the list goes on and on. There is truly never a dull moment, and we’re thankful to have so many opportunities to choose from. Our house and neighborhood are wonderful. There are so many great people who go beyond just being neighbors and are our friends. We enjoy walking and spending time visiting with people in the evenings while our kids ride their bikes or shoot some hoops with the other children in the neighborhood. On weekends, I routinely jog down by the lake near our home and frequently have to dodge the rowing participants attending the regatta that may be going on. Another thing we were happy to discover about this town is that cultural opportunities are available for all ages here. Oak Ridge has an outstanding community playhouse, its own symphony, a community band, its own ballet, and an art center. Oak Ridge really does have something to offer to everyone. I hope that you will consider making this your home. I think you’ll find that it’s a wonderful place to live. Sincerely, Mike Belbeck President and CAO, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge

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The Sum of

Cover Story

Oak Ridge’s Unique and Distinct Neighborhoods Join Together to

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nce known as “the Secret City” for its role in the top-secret Manhattan Project, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is now a city focused on home and family, with a nationally ranked school system, a vibrant cultural arts community, worldrenowned sporting venues, scenic vistas, beautiful residential communities, and plentiful parks and greenways. From a

That warmth has shaped residential planning as well. Oak Ridge has a tradition of weaving into the fabric of its community tight-knit, distinct residential areas. In the early 1940s, each neighborhood was designed to be an independent community, with its own schools, barbershops, grocery stores, and so on. Oak Ridge’s neighborhoods often possess distinctive character and appeal. For one, the Woodland neighborhood is recognizable for its unique flattop homes, pre-fab homes that were quickly constructed by the U.S. government during World War II to help house the many families who had come to work as part of the Manhattan Project. The houses feature a distinctive straight, flat roof and are such an iconic part of Oak Ridge history that the American Museum of Science and Energy purchased one to restore and display, receiving a 2010 Historic Preservation Award for the effort. Many homes in the Woodland neighborhood have been well maintained to keep their historic look.

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This tradition of building neighborhoods, rather than just clusters of houses, has garnered renewed interest today. closed and secret city to an open and welcoming community of neighborhoods, Oak Ridge has grown into a top-notch place to live, work, and play. Time and again, sources cite the community’s warmth as the tie that has bound the city’s residents to their home and each other. 4 RIDGES | Summer ’11

The warmth of the communities extends to their amenities. The East and West Village areas are known for their extremely nice parks, both of which welcome families and children to play each year. This tradition of building neighborhoods, rather than just clusters of houses, has garnered renewed interest today. Parker Hardy, president of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, says the current national trend in residential planning hearkens back to a more traditional look and feel, with features like front porches and communitybuilding amenities. Oak Ridge, founded and planned with this principle, continues to embrace this movement. “Some of our new residential developments are deliberately designed to build community,” said Hardy. “Groves Park Commons, Rarity Ridge, Willow Place and Crossroads at Wolf Creek are among the newer developments.” For new residents to Oak Ridge looking to rent, the community offers numerous options for apartment and condo living including Centennial Bluff, Centennial Village Apartments and Bristol Park, new developments that offer outstanding


Its Parts

Make a Great Community for Families

amenities and offer easy access to schools, shopping and churches. Oak Ridge’s unique geography plays a role in building neighborhoods and offers residents a choice of surroundings. Much of the distinctive appeal of each community comes from the natural landscape. Some neighborhoods are on hills, while others are in a valley setting. No matter the neighborhood, the neighbors are Oak Ridge’s biggest strength. The city’s warm and welcoming reputation is the primary factor that’s drawing new residents to the community. Gerald Boyd, recently retired manager for the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Operations Office, says he experienced Oak Ridgers’ warm welcome even before moving to the area. “Previously, I’d lived in several different places, but Oak Ridge was unique,” he said. “Even before our move here, people from Oak Ridge contacted me to get me introduced to the community: schools, churches, and so on. Then, once we got here, the community rallied around us and helped us get to know the kinds of things we might want to participate in.” Ted Sherry, manager of the Y-12 site office for the National Nuclear Security

Cover Story

By David Ballard

Administration echoes the sentiment about the warmth of the people. “There is something to be said about Southern hospitality,” Sherry said. “I’ve lived in many other areas where your community is just where your house is located. That’s not so in Oak Ridge. There have been a lot of draws for me to get involved here because of all the influences that support family involvement.” As a parent, Sherry adds that the Oak Ridge school system played a major role in his final decision to move here as well. “I moved here from New Mexico, and the Oak Ridge school system was the deciding factor. I’ve been absolutely ecstatic about the school program ever since.” For more information about residential options in Oak Ridge call the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at 865-483-1321 or visit www.oakridgechamber.org.

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Here & Now

t u o t o Sho Smokies in the

am e T ge nors d i R Oak Top Ho s Take curity in Se etition p Com

By Jennifer Bull

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SI-Oak Ridge took first place in the Department of Energy’s annual Security Protection Officer Team Competition, held at Central Training Facility in Oak Ridge in 2010. The team scored 904.673 out of a possible 1,000 points during the fourday competition — a competition that is comprised of tactical, physical, and skills-oriented firearms competitions. “On behalf of the entire WSI-Oak Ridge Team, we are so proud of our SPOTC Team on their accomplishments, and we look forward to holding the national champion title for the coming year,” said WSI-Oak Ridge General Manager Lee Brooks. “This win is not only a notable achievement for our company, but for the entire Oak Ridge community.” WSI-Oak Ridge’s winning team is comprised of team leader Neal Wolfenbarger, Brad Carter, Chuck Rushefski, Michael Sprain, Richie Wright, Colt Jennings, and coaches Lynn Bales and Kirt Phillippi. “I am incredibly proud of how our team performed during these four days of competition,” said Lee Brooks, senior vice president and general manager for WSI-Oak Ridge. “This competition tested these teams’ tactical skills, shooting skills, and teamwork — it really called for a show of everything they had. I knew the competition would be tough, because this is the best of the best in armed security police officers, so I couldn’t be more pleased with the WSI-Oak Ridge team’s success.” This is the second time Oak Ridge has hosted the Shootout in the Smokies, the first being in 2002. The Central Training Facility is owned by the Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). 6 RIDGES | Summer ’11

ORNL Federal Credit Union Commits to Expansion New Facilities Will House Current and New Staff By Jennifer Bull

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n July, ORNL Federal Credit Union bought 38 acres of property for a large expansion. A full-service financial institution, ORNL FCU has been located in the Oak Ridge area since 1948. “We’re everything a person could want as far as consumer loans, commercial loans, real estate — we do it all,” said Taylor Scott, senior vice president of ORNL Federal Credit Union. “We currently have about 450 employees, we cover 16 counties in east Tennessee, and we currently have 42 branch locations. Back in 1948 we served strictly the employees of the lab. We now have a community charter where we can serve members who are living and working anywhere in a six-county area. With all that growth, we have need for this new corporate center.” The new location will house 300 employees, with a possible 100 additional employees to be added over the next 10–12 years after the expansion is completed. Currently ORNL Federal Credit Union has 22 support departments; all but two of them will be located in the new building. “Right now, we have our offices for our support departments spread over six different locations in two counties, and this would bring all those folks together in one spot,” Scott said. Scott anticipates construction beginning in 2011. The main office in Oak Ridge will remain after the expansion, but most of the other offices will be moved to the new location.


Here & Now

Music in the Park Summer Concert Series a Sound Success

By Jennifer Bull

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ak Ridge offers residents and the outlying community an opportunity to enjoy quality concerts for the perfect price: free. Secret City Sounds is a wonderful summer concert series presented by the Arts Council of Oak Ridge and paid for by the city of Oak Ridge. So far, it has been a resounding success. “The concerts are free, everybody’s welcome. We try to present a variety of music, different genres of music,” said Joye Montgomery, executive director of the Arts Council. “We had R&B, rock and roll, folk, country, bluegrass, anything — just so there is a variety of music.” The setting and extras make it a great outing for all ages. “It’s in a park setting, and there’s a playground. We bring in a hot dog vendor and ice cream, and there are beer and soft drinks, also,” Montgomery noted. “Everybody’s invited to come and bring their chairs and their blankets and their friends and their families. Come and have a good time and listen to some music in the park.” The concerts take place on the Pavilion Stage in Bissell Park every two weeks in May, July, and August. June is skipped because of the Secret City Festival. Now in its third year, Secret City Sounds is drawing people from not just the Oak Ridge area. “We draw not only Oak Ridgers, but we also draw people from the area because we try to pick regional bands who have played all around this area,” Montgomery said. “The variety of people that we can bring in and the variety of talent amazes me. It’s a lovely summer evening with good music that you get to spend with friends. It’s a really good time.” www.oakridgechamber.org 7


Around Town

The Oak Ridge –

Naka-shi Student Exchange 20 Years of “Peace Through People”

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By Jay Nehrkorn

hanks to a cooperative effort among the Oak Ridge Sister City Support Organization, city government, and Oak Ridge Schools, students and families from Oak Ridge and Naka-shi, Japan, have enjoyed a relationship of cultural sharing that now spans a generation. Connected as partners within the Sister Cities International program, the two cities are engaged in a student exchange program that has developed crosscultural friendships that might have seemed unimaginable just three generations ago. “This is the 20th anniversary of our Sister Cities relationship with Naka-shi, and other than two years that were compromised by H1N1 and the SARS epidemic, we’ve continued to do these middle school exchanges since the inception of the partnership,” said Kenneth Luckmann of Oak Ridge’s Sister City Support Organization. In 2010, a delegation of 16 students and adults representing Oak Ridge and the Jefferson and Robertsville middle schools visited Naka-shi in July, followed in August by a delegation from Naka-shi coming to Oak Ridge. In both cases, the trips included visits

to the host city’s schools and educational attractions, as well as celebrations marking the 20th year of the partnership. While the trips are educational, the greatest benefit for the delegates is the cultural understanding and bond of friendship formed between themselves and the host families they stay with. “At first I was worried about the home-stay, but my host, Abbie, was a wonderful host,” commented Japanese educator Kudo Kyoko. “I felt so at home and I could relax as I would at my own home. She showed me many places so I was able to have many experiences I could never have in Japan.”

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“It’s a program that hopefully lets them take home the message that we’re different but also the same in a lot of ways, and that the goal of everyone ought to be friendship and peace.”

You Can’t Top Perfection

As the 2009–10 school year headed into the home stretch last spring, three Oak Ridge High School students achieved something that can be matched, but can never be topped. Students Carlos del-Castillo-Negrete, Leon Zhang, and Mattie Lloyd each received a perfect score of 36 on their ACT test. An impressive 16 percent of last year’s ORHS juniors scored 30 or higher on the statemandated test. Well done, Class of 2011! 8 RIDGES | Summer ’11

During the visits the delegates sometimes encounter exhibits related to the happenings of World War II, but as they stand side-by-side with their new friends, it becomes clear that this is a new day. “I’m sure the kids understand that at a period in history our countries were somewhat less than friendly towards each other, but the opportunity to stay with Japanese families, and the opportunities for the Japanese kids to spend time with American families, that’s the key to the success here,” Luckmann explained. “These kids are making friends in a program whose motto is ‘peace through people.’ It’s a program that hopefully lets them take home the message that we’re different but also the same in a lot of ways, and that the goal of everyone ought to be friendship and peace.”


Around Town

A Fair Floral

The Lavender Festival Refreshes and Renews Visitors By Judy Lockhart DiGregorio

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Pedal Pushing Oak Ridge’s Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan a Safe, Healthy, and Eco-Friendly Transit Option By Rebecca D. Williams

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fter nearly a year of planning, dreaming, and studying traffic patterns, Oak Ridge now has a master plan for bicycle and pedestrian pathways throughout the city. The master plan will help the city compete for grants that provide funding to eco-friendly construction projects. “There is money available, but you must be implementing a plan, and not just saying, ‘Wow, we’d like a bike path here,’” said Kathryn Baldwin, community development director for Oak Ridge. “There must be a transportation component to it, and not just recreation. The goal is to supplant the need for that automobile trip to school or work.” Oak Ridge city officials began studying the issue of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in 2009, mapping out the city’s “traffic generators.” These are the large businesses, schools, and retail centers that draw the greatest number of cars each day. “They drew circles around all the traffic generators and saw where they overlapped,” said Baldwin. “If you want the biggest bang for your buck, you want to serve an area with multiple needs.” Once the plan is finished it must be approved by the Oak Ridge City Council before it can be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and other grant-offering agencies. The FHA offers $6 million yearly to cities that construct bike paths and other facilities to improve air quality. “We already have people who really do bike to work here,” said Baldwin. “One way to attract young people and encourage them to make this town their home is to offer great bicycle and pedestrian facilities.”

he sweet fragrance of lavender welcomes visitors to Historic Jackson Square’s Annual Lavender Festival in June. The free festival began in 1999 and is now one of the best herb fairs in the Southeast. In addition to herbal plants, visitors find vendors offering jewelry, aromatherapy, gardening, herbal cooking, crafts, and live music, including folk, traditional, and bluegrass. Varied booths and restaurants in Jackson Square also offer tasty breakfast and lunch items. A special feature is the Herb Luncheon, held on the Friday before the festival. Set up under a large tent, the outdoor luncheon features a delicious meal with well-known speakers such as Jeff Ross, garden manager at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn. One of the favorite festival booths is sponsored by Erin’s Meadow Herb Farm. Owner Kathy Mihalzo said, “Among the thousands of herbs offered for planting, visitors will find 12 varieties of lavender. The farm’s extensive display at the Lavender Festival allows visitors to purchase rare varieties of this beloved plant.” For the 2010 Festival, Mihalzo presented an educational presentation entitled “Growing Lavender in East Tennessee.” In her talk, she discussed how to harvest and use lavender and also shared recipes for foods and aromatherapy products. Other presentations during the 2010 festival included “Dill, Herb of the Year 2010”; “Tea — More than Just Pekoe”; “Integrative Health Care: The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in Primary Care”; and “Yoga: Healing, Transformation, and Health Demonstration.”

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Health Notes

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind School Fitness Programs

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n every Oak Ridge elementary school, students are exercising not just their minds, but their bodies as well. Oak Ridge Schools have always had a strong physical education program, but several new initiatives have been raising the bar for good health in school, according to Blair King, health coordinator for the schools. At Woodland Elementary School, a new morning fitness program began in September 2010 called “Mornings in Motion.” Held twice each week, the kids do biometrics and body weight training exercises designed especially for them. The program attracted so many children the gym couldn’t hold them all, said

10 RIDGES | Summer ’11

By Rebecca D. Williams

Assistant Principal Mark Garrison. “We have a long waiting list,” he said. “We’re going to evaluate it mid-year to see if we can open it up to more children.” At Jefferson Middle School, physical education classes received a gift in 2010 of a classroom set of Wii Active Practice Boards and the Wii Fit Plus program, paid for by the school’s parent–teacher organization and a gift from Methodist Medical Center. The boards enable an entire gym class at once to play the popular Wii active video games, which include hundreds of fitness programs such as yoga moves, aerobics, jogging, and core training.

“They are the first school in Tennessee to have this system,” said King. “The kids love it so much there are no discipline problems. It really frees the teacher up to help students who might need more help with the moves.” Robertsville Middle School has an outdoor fitness station, while the district’s other elementary schools, Willow Brook, Glenwood, and Linden, already have morning exercise programs. Willow Brook has a free morning aerobics class several times each week. In the Spring of 2011, Willow Brook Elementary was identified as a finalist and subsequently was named the winner of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Healthy Living Innovation Award. “I watched them at Willow Brook Elementary the other day,” said King. “The kids left focused and awake. The leaders were really making it fun for the kids.” In addition to new exercise programs, Oak Ridge Schools participates in the Knoxville Area Coalition on Childhood Obesity, led by East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The coalition is trying to reverse the trend of childhood obesity through community programs, advocacy, and initiatives. “In the past, we taught kids to be fit with basketball, football, or soccer,” said King, “But now we show them that you can find something you like and move toward a lifetime of fitness activity.”


Health Notes

Oak Ridge Physician Comes Home Dr. Brandon S. Cottrell Joins Methodist Medical Center By Jennifer Bull

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ak Ridge native Brandon S. Cottrell, M.D., has returned to the area to practice medicine. Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge has welcomed Dr. Cottrell to the staff. Specializing in urology, Dr. Cottrell is a graduate of Oak Ridge High School, attended the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine in Memphis, and completed his residency in urology at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences in Little Rock Arkansas. Dr. Cottrell and his wife, Amy Cottrell, M.D., are happy to be raising their two daughters, Madi and Caroline, in the same home town where Cottrell grew up. “Practicing here is coming home,” he said. “I chose to practice in this area because it’s home, and it’s a great place to raise a family.” Dr. Cottrell is a wonderful addition to an already fantastic medical facility. His special training with robotically assisted prostate surgery is already helping patients, and he is an active community lecturer on urology-related topics. Methodist Medical Center has been named Tennessee’s top hospital in quality performance by “Health Insight” and has diligently served the community of Oak Ridge for over 60 years. MMC recently completed the initial phase of its first major building campaign in 20 years: a $47 million renovation and expansion project designed to enhance patient service and convenience. www.oakridgechamber.org 11


Innovation

Rapid Research New Supercomputer Joining Kraken and Jaguar in Oak Ridge By David Ballard

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he National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has big news — literally. On October 1, 2010, the High Performance Computing staff of the National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) welcomed the newest supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), after the installation of phase one of a 40-cabinet configuration. The machine is the result of a collaborative agreement between NOAA and the Department of Energy. According to James H. Rogers, director of operations Upon completion, for NCCS, the specs for the yet-to-be-named NOAA’s new supercomputer supercomputer will be are astounding: It is the next capable of performing generation of the Cray XT/ XE series of supercomputers, more than 1 million which upon initial installation billion calculations in a will include a 264TF (teraFLOP) second (a petaflop). XE6, which is 50 times more powerful than any existing NOAA resource. Upon completion, the yet-to-be-named supercomputer will be capable of performing more than 1 million billion calculations in a second (a petaflop). This super-fast computational capability will enable NOAA to better model components of climate change. “Prior to the availability of this new system, NOAA’s computer resources limited it to a typical grid increment of 200 km for the atmosphere and 100 km for the ocean model,” said Rogers. “With this new Cray XE6, we expect NOAA scientists will quickly transition to a much higher resolution 50 km atmosphere and 25 km ocean model.” Rogers says future upgrades to the NOAA supercomputer will improve performance even more, to a resolution of 25 km atmosphere and 10 km ocean model with improved and much more computationally complex physics. The bottom line? This better modeling equates to more accurate scientific results and the opportunity for improved practical application.

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Technology 2020

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By Jay Nehrkorn

stablished in 1993 as a public–private partnership, Technology 2020 is an economic development corporation that acts as a catalyst for the creation and success of knowledge-based enterprises. Located in Oak Ridge, it brings new technologies from laboratories and universities together with entrepreneurs, capital, and expertise to grow the number of high-tech businesses and 12 RIDGES | Summer ’11

After its upgrade this summer, this system will join the two existing petascale systems, Jaguar and Kraken, as the third petascale system at the facility. The addition of another supercomputer means more research time for scientists. The user communities for these systems apply for CPU time on Kraken and Jaguar from all over the world, and even though these systems are delivering more than a billion compute hours for science each year, demand for time continues to far outweigh supply. Fortunately, the NOAA computer will deliver a very timely contribution to this demand, offering a system that is specifically designed and managed to support climate researchers and that will deliver hundreds of millions of compute hours in its first year of production. Barbara Penland, deputy director of communications and external relations for ORNL, says that is a welcome change. “Having the NOAA computer means more new scientists and time for performing research.” While all three systems contain many similar architectural features, the new computer differs from its larger brothers, Jaguar and Kraken, in one significant aspect. Both Jaguar and Kraken are based on a 6-core AMD Opteron processor. The NOAA system will initially be based on a 12-core AMD Opteron processor code named Magny-Cours, with a proposed upgrade to a 1.1PF system in 2011 and a final upgrade to a new 16-core AMD Opteron with the code name Interlagos. The new supercomputer offers other benefits as well. Rogers says the power and cooling costs for the NOAA XE6 system are about half that of a similarly sized XT5 system, making it more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. And the XE6 footprint, comprised of just two rows of 20 cabinets each, is less than half than that of the Kraken system, too, which encompasses 88 cabinets in a 4x22 configuration. So the new system will take up much less space. More for less: That’s big news, too.

Partnership boosts knowledge-based businesses in Oak Ridge

well-paying jobs in the Innovation Valley and Tennessee Valley Corridor. Technology 2020’s mission includes increasing the number of licensed technology transfers from the area’s many research facilities to the private sector and helping to transition laboratory discoveries into practical applications that benefit people’s lives. These innovations are coupled with

entrepreneurs and capital, which drives the development of new ventures. Technology 2020’s Center for Entrepreneurial Growth then makes incubator space available to these startup companies and offers developmental programs to help them grow and reach longterm stability.


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14 RIDGES | Summer ’11

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We The People

Clark and Monica Eckert A New Town and a Great Start By Jay Nehrkorn

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riginally from the Fort Wayne, Ind., area, Clark and Monica Eckert met during their undergraduate studies at Indiana University. The couple married in 2006 and moved to Iowa, where Monica worked while Clark completed chiropractic school. Upon his graduation in February 2010, they immediately packed up and came to Oak Ridge to open Eckert Chiropractic Center. “After spending some cold winters in Indiana and Iowa, we wanted to go somewhere a little warmer, but we didn’t want to go too far south because we wanted to be somewhat close to Indiana,” Clark explained. “We looked up about eight cities with really good demographics for chiropractors, and Oak Ridge was one of them. It was actually the first one we came to and we decided to go with it because we liked it so much. We didn’t even go visit the other cities.” Another reason they chose Oak Ridge is their love of the outdoors, although the demands of starting a new business haven’t allowed them much time to play outside just yet. Since opening their practice in June 2010, the Eckerts have been surprised by both how fast the business took off and the interest that their many patients have taken in them. “Oak Ridge was actually “I used to try to make it a point to only talk about the the first one we came to patient and make the visit all about them, but while I was trying to do that, they wanted to know everything about and we decided to go with me,” Clark said. “So I’ve answered a lot of questions like, it because we liked it so ‘Why did you choose Oak Ridge?’” much. We didn’t even go The couple is now active in the lunchtime Rotary Club visit the other cities.” as well as Chamber of Commerce events, and they look forward to continuing their work in the community.

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Mitch Rouse From Class Clown to Celebrated Comedian

By Judy DiGregorio

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hen I first heard former Oak Ridger Mitch Rouse had joined the comedy troupe “Second City” in Chicago, I wasn’t surprised. Even in his junior high and high school days, he could make you laugh just by looking at his expressive face. Mitch admits that he clowned around a lot in his youth. And he still does — only now he earns money doing it. A successful Hollywood actor, writer, filmmaker, director, and producer, Rouse is an inspiration to many. One of his early successes included Comedy Central’s first original half-hour series, “Exit 57.” Rouse teamed up with fellow Second City alum Stephen Colbert to create and star in the show. It ran for two seasons and received five Cable Ace Award nominations, including Best Actor (Rouse) and Best Writing for a comedy series. Rouse has also appeared in several movies, including “Rudy” and “Heartbreak Kid,” and on numerous television shows such as “According to Jim” and “The Secret Lives of Men,” which Mitch also wrote. During that show he met his future wife, Andrea Bendewald, who was a guest star. They now have two young children, Tennessee and Strummer. Rouse has also written and directed several films, including “Without a Paddle” and “Employee of the Month,” and he recently sold his action film “Super Max” to Sony Pictures. Rouse says his first audience was his parents, Dr. James and Marilyn Rouse, and brother and sister, Scott and Ellen. His audience today is considerably bigger, but just as appreciative of his comic talents. www.oakridgechamber.org 15


Uncommon Knowledge

Y-12 and Building 9731 K The Birthplace Continuing Innovation By Jay Nehrkornof and Ray Smith

nown as the “Pilot Plant,” Building 9731 was the first structure completed at the Y-12 Electromagnetic Separation Plant of the Manhattan Project. Constructed in less than two months and completed in March 1943, it has been the home of numerous scientific breakthroughs and continues to bear witness to Y-12’s dedication to technological innovation. Within Building 9731, the Manhattan Project’s first Calutron — which utilized the world’s largest magnets to separate U-235 from natural uranium — still remains. It was here that scientists refined Dr. Ernest O. Lawrence’s separation process for application across the 1,152 other Calutrons that would ultimately provide enriched uranium for Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon ever used in warfare. The story is told that during one of Lawrence’s visits he increased production in one of 9731’s Calutrons significantly by cranking up heat and power, but according to Dr. Chris Keim, just five minutes after Lawrence departed everything inside the tank “blew up.” The post-war innovations that took place in Building 9731 were just as significant. It was Dr. Keim himself who put the original Calutrons to work separating the isotopes of elements other than uranium. These “stable” isotopes were then placed in a graphite reactor to make them radioactive so they could be used for agricultural, industrial, and medical research. In 1946, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory shipped the first radio isotopes to the Bernard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital in St. Louis,

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Uncommon Knowledge

Mo., beginning a modern age of nuclear medicine that saves countless lives today. During the Cold War, Y-12 was called upon yet again to provide technological advances for its country, including more than just handling and production of state-of-the-art nuclear weapon components. Other innovations during that time included new machining methods such as the air bearing spindle and diamond turning to make mirror-finished surfaces, with measurement precision to 1/10,000th of an inch. It was Y-12 that built the “Moon Box” used by NASA’s Apollo Program to bring lunar materials back to Earth without contaminating them, and the facility was tasked with creating the propulsor for the Navy’s Sea Wolf submarines because no one else could produce it with the precision required for silent running. Today, Y-12 continues to be a world leader in nuclear technology and serves as the security warehouse for all of the nation’s highly enriched uranium that is not in an active nuclear weapon. Advances in techniques for handling nuclear materials, as well as new solutions in manufacturing technologies, technical computing, and environmental stewardship, continue thanks to Y-12’s contributions and leadership. As evidence of forward progress, more than 50 aging facilities are being replaced by the Jack Case and New Hope centers, and more growth is planned for the Uranium Center of Excellence. Meanwhile, Building 9731 remains as a stalwart reminder how, from a world war to the Cold War, and from nuclear medicine to moon missions, Y-12 has always pushed the envelope of technology. The public was allowed to tour the building for the first time during the Secret City Festival in June 2010, and nearly 1,400 people had the chance to marvel at the Alpha Calutron magnets that started it all.

Star Power

Movie Robots Linked to Oak Ridge By Jay Nehrkorn

Founded in 1980 by Oak Ridge engineers Howard Harvey and John White, the robotics company Remotec has roots going back to ORNL technology. Remotec began by providing remote handling equipment for radiological materials within the local nuclear industry and has expanded over the years to become a leader in the manufacture of hazardous duty robotics, supplying robots for private industry, civilian agencies, and military use. Still located in the Oak Ridge Technology Corridor in nearby Clinton, the company’s creations now have ties to Hollywood as well. In 2005, developers at Pixar films chose to use a Remotec Mini-Andros bomb-defusing robot as inspiration to create realistic movements for the main character in their animated 2008 release “WALL-E.” More recently, their HD-1 robot was featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” which follows an Army bomb squad during their tour of duty in Iraq. “It’s extremely gratifying to see our products used time and time again in film and television,” said Remotec President Mike Knopp, “but even more so to know that those products are saving lives around the world each and every day.”

www.oakridgechamber.org 17


Small Talk

An Early Start on Excellence Chamber’s Youth Leadership Program Introduces High School Students to Skills Needed for Success

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he youth of Oak Ridge now have a great way to learn about their community and gain valuable leadership skills in the process. The Youth Leadership Oak Ridge program is an exciting new way to help area high school students become better leaders. The

mission is “to provide an overview of the City of Oak Ridge and the East Tennessee Region that shows a broad perspective of the community and the leadership challenges facing the local community, while developing the leadership and communications skills of participants.” Oak Ridge has had a Leadership Oak Ridge program for adults for nearly thirty years. “The youth program is a project of the Leadership Oak Ridge Class of 2009,” said Greta Ownby, Executive Vice President of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. “The class wanted to start a program for high school students

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“The main thing that we’ve been really focusing on is learning how to develop leadership skills in an excellent, cultivating environment.” 18 RIDGES | Summer ’11

By Jennifer Bull

that was patterned after the program the adults participate in, so the subjects are very similar.” In its first year, the program brought together 19 students from Oak Ridge High School (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) for the experience. Interested students must not only be in good academic standing at their school, but must also provide recommendations. “In order to go through the program the students had to have a teacher recommendation, an adult recommendation, and the parents had to approve their participation in it. There is a small fee of $50 per student, but scholarships are available through corporate funding,” Ownby said. Bob Milazzo, who serves on the board for the Youth Leadership Program


Small Talk Advisory Committee, says organizers hope the program gives the students a deeper appreciation for, and a desire to make a difference in, their community. “The intent was to create a program for the youth of the Oak Ridge area which matches up to the leadership program put on by the Chamber of Commerce … learning about the community in which we live and encouraging them to become more involved and realize the benefits of living in their community,” Milazzo said. “The main thing that we’ve been really focusing on is learning how to develop leadership skills in an excellent, cultivating environment. I think there are a lot of great programs in our community that do a lot of great things for the students of today, but leadership skills is something we can all learn how to do better. “I know as I get up in age that I want the leaders of today to be great leaders. Little selfish on my part, right?” Milazzo added with a smile. Leading by example, the program’s organizers are dedicated to giving back to the community. “I’ve got four kids and they are all out of college, and this is the point in time, for me and for those working with the Oak Ridge Chamber group, that we really wanted to do something for the youth in the community,” Milazzo said. The Advisory Committee is comprised of representatives from the Leadership Oak

Ridge alumni, the Oak Ridge Chamber, and Oak Ridge High School teachers and former students. The participation of teens in the committee is especially vital in creating a program the student participants will find relevant and engaging. “We were organizing the program and we realized that we were organizing it based on what we knew as adults,” Ownby said. “What we know and what we are comfortable with may not necessarily be something that is going to keep the attention of high school students. That is when we reached out to two recently graduated high school students to work on the planning committee along with the adults, to bring that more youthful perspective to the organizing.” With such forethought into the needs of the students, as well as the support of an engaged community, the program should be around to teach the students of Oak Ridge leadership skills for a long time. Nineteen students graduated from the program the first year and 20 students have already applied to be a part of the next class to start in August 2011. The Youth Leadership Oak Ridge program is tied to the school year, so it starts in August and ends in May. Program participants attend one Wednesday afternoon a month for about three hours. It is a small investment that is sure to pay big dividends for the entire community.

www.oakridgechamber.org 19


Small Talk

A Chance

to Play By Rebecca D. Williams

VIP Soccer Lets Those With Disabilities Get on the Field and Join in the Fun

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ike many boys his age, Josh Frederick of 2009 through the city’s American Youth Soccer Oak Ridge, 17, loves getting dressed in Organization, AYSO. VIP Soccer is for any player age 4 or older who his red soccer uniform and heading to the has a disability. Teams are co-ed, meet weekly field on Friday afternoons. “He really enjoys playing soccer,” said his during the fall and spring seasons, and play in mother, Maggie Frederick. “But I’m not quite both a practice and a scrimmage in a one-hour sure he understands why everyone gets so session. Volunteer “buddies” without disabilities hurried about getting the ball through the goal,” follow each player onto the field and help them join in the fun. she added with a laugh. Josh has a congenital form of brain damage that makes it difficult for him to communicate On the sidelines, parents of easily, and he is frequently distracted by action children with disabilities have on the sidelines. A typical soccer team would be inaccessible to him, so Josh plays on Oak Ridge’s a chance to relax, get to know Very Important Player (VIP) Team, formed in each other, and enjoy watching

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their children enjoy sports in a setting that includes them.

For his first year, Josh was paired with a teenage girl his age. “She just intrinsically ‘got’ Joshua, and he responded very well to her,” said Frederick. “It was really great to see him forge a relationship with her on his own. I never thought my son would play soccer, so it’s something wonderful for me to see.” On the sidelines, parents of children with disabilities have a chance to relax, get to know each other, and enjoy watching their children enjoy sports in a setting that includes them.

“Meeting other parents has been great,” said Frederick. “We’re all in the same boat. There is a sense of camaraderie on and off the field.” AYSO offers 50,000 non-competitive soccer teams nationwide and dozens in the Oak Ridge area. In the summer of 2012, a national AYSO tournament will be held in Knoxville. VIP teams will be a part of that, according to Anna McCoig of Oak Ridge, who is helping to organize the VIP portion of the 2012 National Tournament. VIP players will serve as the grand marshals of the Olympic-style opening ceremony, marching around Regal Soccer Stadium at the University of Tennessee. Some 15,000 players, coaches, and families are expected to attend the tournament. McCoig said any child with a disability, whether they have a team or not, will be allowed to play in the VIP national tournament. Children will be assigned to a team if they don’t already have one. “It’s an incredible program,” said McCoig, who has volunteered as a VIP buddy in Oak Ridge. “For me, it’s remembering what it’s like just to have fun playing soccer.” For more information about VIP Soccer, call coach Pat Ryan at 482-4230, or for information about AYSO soccer in Oak Ridge, contact Pete Xiques at 927-0320.

Crossing Guard Don Miller A Strong Sense of Style — and Humor — Make This Crossing Guard a Student Favorite

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“I like the job because it is fun to personalize the student interaction while gaining the trust of motorists and pedestrians. It helps to know that my two grandchildren benefit indirectly by my making the crossing guard activity in Oak Ridge more respected and visible. I was flattered to be asked to help re-train all of the city crossing guards recently.”



Oak Ridge, TN Summer 2011 Community Profile