Newly created Lab-wide position aims to find common approaches to engineering processes
— By Glenn Roberts
Henrik von der Lippe, director of the Lab’s Engineering Division since 2016, has been appointed to also serve in a newly created role as Laboratory Chief Engineer. Von der Lippe was appointed to the role for an initial two-year term.
The Lab-wide position seeks to build more synergy among the Lab’s engineering capabilities, and to provide more direct ties between the engineering community and the Directorate, which will help ensure close coordination in furthering Lab initiatives in safety, diversity, and recruitment, among others.
The new position will also facilitate common approaches to engineering processes across Lab areas, divisions, and groups, and will advocate for new tools and processes benefiting the engineering community.
“At the end of two years, if we have a uniform way of doing engineering at the Laboratory I think that would be a spectacular result,” von der Lippe said of the opportunities presented by the Chief Engineer role.
“Traditionally, engineering at the Lab has been focused on supporting large projects in the Physical Sciences Area, and of course for the Advanced Light Source and the ALS-Upgrade,” said Horst Simon, Lab Deputy Director for Research.
“But engineering skills, tools, and methodology are things that we need to apply Lab-wide. Henrik’s new role is to demonstrate that engineering is a Lab-wide capability that should be there for all scientific areas, similar to Information Technology and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.
Von der Lippe, who joined Berkeley Lab as a staff engineer in 2007 and served as deputy director for the Engineering Division from 2007-2015, noted that the division mostly supports the Lab’s scientific community by building instrumentation for experiments.
The Lab’s Facilities and Project and Infrastructure Modernization divisions, meanwhile, have engineering capabilities to carry out construction projects, for example.
One of his goals for the new Chief Engineer role is to “bring the engineering community closer together – right now it’s more fragmented,” von der Lippe said. “There are a lot of engineers here who could learn from each other and help each other.”