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Leadership Transition Begins at Idaho National Laboratory

Posted on Nov 4, 2014

John Grossenbacher praised for decade of growth and leadership at nation’s lead nuclear R&D laboratory

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (Nov. 4, 2014) – Ron Townsend, Chair of Battelle Energy Alliance’s (BEA) Board of Managers, announced today that after nearly a decade with Director John Grossenbacher at the helm, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will transition to a new leader by Sept. 30, 2015.

Grossenbacher led the BEA bid that was awarded the contract to manage and operate the INL in February 2005. Under his leadership, the INL transformed into a leading laboratory recognized nationally and internationally for its research programs and capabilities as well as the value of its applied research and development programs to sponsors across academia and industry.

“John’s unprecedented tenure as Lab Director in Idaho has had a tremendous impact on the success and growth of the laboratory, and we are grateful for the strong leadership and vision he provided to INL and Battelle,” said Townsend, who also serves as Battelle Executive Vice President of Global Laboratory Operations. “Under John’s leadership, BEA saw its contract with DOE extended for another five years for its stewardship of INL, while the laboratory grew in programs, capabilities, the physical campus, budget, and staff.”

Townsend said Battelle will begin a national search for a successor immediately.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished, and the transformation of INL to a leading research institution well prepared for the future,” Grossenbacher said. “I have no doubt that the scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel who are at INL will continue to solve problems of national importance and secure our energy future while playing an important role in national security.  Our leading edge research and high quality work will position INL for long term growth and achievements.”

Grossenbacher joined Battelle in 2004 after a 33-year distinguished career in the U.S. Navy where he led various major commands, including the combined U.S. Atlantic and Pacific submarine fleet. At Battelle, Grossenbacher led efforts to develop and build joint nuclear science and technology programs across Battelle-managed laboratories and partner organizations before he was selected to lead BEA in its bid for the INL contract.

As INL Director, Grossenbacher led the consolidation of Argonne National Laboratory-West and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to form INL. During his nearly 10-year tenure, INL’s budget grew from $540 million to more than $830 million, earned 18 R&D 100 awards, built or acquired 16 new facilities to expand the research capabilities of the laboratory, expanded the impact and reach of the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), developed higher performing reactor fuel, delivered 4 Radioisotopic Thermal Generators (RTGs) to power space exploration, converted 49 research reactors around the globe from highly enriched (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) and removed or secured 17 tons of HEU and plutonium from former Soviet nations reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation. INL also attracted world-renowned scientific and technical leadership during his tenure.

Grossenbacher enabled BEA’s leadership role in advancing Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education in Idaho, overseeing more than $3.5 million of BEA corporate contributions to this endeavor.

Grossenbacher earned a bachelor’s of science in chemistry from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University. He served 33 years in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of Vice Admiral.

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 serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit

About Idaho National Laboratory

Idaho National Laboratory is part of the Department of Energy’s complex of national laboratories. INL is the nation’s leading center of nuclear energy research and development, performing work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas — energy systems, science and innovation, nuclear safety and security. Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL's day-to-day operations.

Contact: Amy Lientz 208-520-7718


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