President of Washington Closure Hanford to retire

Tri-City HeraldOctober 8, 2013 

Carol Johnson

— The president of Washington Closure Hanford told staff Tuesday she plans to retire at the end of December.

Carol Johnson has served as president and project manager since July 2011 for the Department of Energy contractor in charge of environmental cleanup in the area along the Columbia River. A new president has not been named.

“Carol has done an incredible job over the past three years leading WCH’s cleanup of Hanford’s river corridor,” said Matt McCormick, manager of the DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office, in a memo to employees. Johnson told employees she had been considering the decision for many months.

“After 33 years in the nuclear industry, I can look forward to the flexibility of spending more time with my husband, Mike, my family, and to pursue the long list of items on my bucket list,” she said.

Her husband, Mike Johnson, retired as president of Washington River Protection Solutions, the Hanford tank farm contractor, in June.

URS Corp., the primary owner of Washington Closure, will begin work immediately to find a new president for the Hanford project, said David Pethick, general manager of URS Global Management and Operations Services Group, in a message to employees.

“I anticipate the position being posted this week and the selection and approval process taking several weeks to complete,” his message said.

Johnson will help the new president make a smooth transition, McCormick said.

He has called Washington Closure one of the best performers in DOE’s nationwide environmental management complex based on schedule, cost and safety.

Under Johnson’s leadership, Washington Closure has met all regulatory deadlines for environmental cleanup and saved taxpayers more than $300 million in cleanup costs, according to Pethick.

Environmental cleanup near Hanford’s F Reactor has been completed, with the exception of ongoing work by another contractor to address contaminated groundwater. In addition, workers have nearly completed tearing down the last of the unneeded buildings at Hanford’s 300 Area just north of Richland.

The Washington Closure contract is scheduled to end in fall 2015, when most of the environmental cleanup along the Columbia River is completed. However, DOE has indicated it expects to have Washington Closure continue to do some work to finish up some challenging projects.

Johnson and her team have positioned Washington Closure well to complete cleanup of the area along the Columbia River, Pethick said. She has been committed to the welfare of employees losing their jobs as the contract begins to ramp down, and more than 80 percent have found new jobs, Pethick said.

She also has had an exemplary safety record, achieving consecutive Stars of Excellence in the DOE Voluntary Protection Program, he said.

Johnson came to Washington Closure in November 2010 as closure director and previously was infrastructure executive director at the URS-led Sellafield remediation project in the United Kingdom.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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