Battelle Honors Top Scientist and Longtime National Lab Executive at Annual Celebration of Solvers Event

Wesley Pirkle named Inventor of the Year; Ron Townsend receives CEO Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 17, 2019)—Wesley Pirkle, a senior research scientist at Battelle, has been named Inventor of the Year for his significant contributions to several key security programs. Ron Townsend, executive vice president for laboratory operations, was given the CEO Award to honor his leadership of Battelle’s business of managing national laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security for 10 years. He capped off 2018 by leading Battelle’s successful win of the largest national lab contract award in its organization’s history—Los Alamos National Lab.

Pirkle holds three patents and has technical expertise in acoustics, ultrasonics, device physics and X-ray physics. At Battelle for 15 years, the physicist was instrumental in developing Battelle’s SiteGuard Active Shooter Response system to mitigate mass shootings, and the LS10 bottle scanner, which is used to detect explosives in liquids so people can carry liquids, gels and aerosols through security checkpoints in places such as airports in Australia, the UK and Europe.

These technologies have developed successfully from concept to commercialization.

“Wes’s inventions are strong examples of technologies that are deployed for the good of society and we applaud him for that,” said Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer. “His work is a great example of the efforts that are put forth every day by scientists and researchers at Battelle.”

The CEO Award is intended to recognize an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to advancing Battelle’s mission, comparable to a lifetime achievement award. Townsend oversees Battelle’s national lab portfolio that includes more than 28,000 lab staff and total annual R&D budgets of more than $7 billion.

Townsend’s leadership on the fiercely competitive effort to win the contract to manage Los Alamos led to the award of a 10-year, $25 billion contract. Under Townsend’s watch, Battelle has consistently achieved outstanding lab management evaluations which reflect Battelle’s commitment to deliver mission outcomes and perform with distinction.

“Ron’s numerous accomplishments have resulted in significant and lasting impacts on Battelle as well as for our country,” Von Thaer said. “His integrity shines through in both his leadership style and his personality and he genuinely cares about the success of all employees. He truly exemplifies the Battelle values of unity, creativity, collaboration, excellence and appreciation.”

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle makes the world better by commercializing technology, giving back to our communities, and supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. For more information, visit  


Apr 17, 2019


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