By Jonathan Dorfan
One of my most important goals when I became director of SLAC was to
accentuate the importance of a respectful workplace, one that is
exemplified by a civil, courteous and supportive atmosphere. Having made
this a priority in the workplace has had positive and tangible benefits
for the Laboratory. Many of you have commented on the effectiveness of the
respectful workplace policy in improving the quality of life at SLAC. At
no time has the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect at SLAC been more
visible than in this past year.
At the beginning of 2003 we were faced with a dismal prospect. The HEP
budget was so constrained that it seemed inevitable that we would be
forced to make large staff cuts through involuntary layoffs and to reduce
the scientific program of the Lab. The Save Our Science/Staff plan was a
possible solution, but it meant that the staff would have to make personal
sacrifices to guarantee that none of their colleagues lost their jobs and
that SLAC’s science program could remain robust. It meant that each HEP-supported
employee would have to take four days of unpaid leave, and would have to
take the full allocation of vacation for 2003. It was a lot to ask and I
hope I will never again have to confront you with making such deep and
personal sacrifices for the health of our laboratory.
Your response was overwhelming support, and your willingness to
sacrifice ensured that there were no involuntary layoffs and that we
completed a successful year of research, maintaining SLAC’s position as
one of the world’s great research laboratories. It was not easy and many
of you had to make major adjustments in your life to meet the challenges.
Because of your actions, mutual respect and mutual support is yet more
deeply woven into the fabric of SLAC. Our approach to last year’s hardship
is admired both on campus and in the other national laboratories.
Our Human Resources Department is doing tremendous work to underpin
this ethic of mutual support. The New Employees Orientation program and
the excellent Certificate in Supervision program, now in its third year,
come readily to mind. I take particular joy in the Employee Recognition
Awards, better known as the ‘Globies’, which allows us to recognize
colleagues who have demonstrated support for their coworkers, kindness and
the desire to help others, qualities which build great organizations as
much as the more obvious technical and professional skills.
This year the Department of Energy asked me to write a vision statement
for the Laboratory. I finished with this paragraph: "SLAC should not be
assessed by its programs and facilities alone. The excitement and
identification of the staff with the mission of the Laboratory are SLAC’s
most important assets. The staff has driven the success of the Laboratory,
and their current commitment is a guarantee for future strength."
It gives me great pleasure to be able to write such a statement; I
thank and congratulate you all.