Harold Conner began work with various entities near Oak Ridge even before graduating UT with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1968, starting a 30-year career at the K-25 location in 1967. He became site manager in 1994 and eventually Deputy Director and later Vice President of Environmental Management and Enrichment Facilities.
In that role, he oversaw a budget of $500 million, with more than 3,000 workers across K-25, Y-12, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio.
From 1998-2015, he served in various roles and tenures at several well-respected laboratories and institutions including Lockheed Martin, the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River location, and as assistant director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, with a one-year return to Oak Ridge as Director of Enriched Uranium Operations and Restart for Lockheed Martin Energy Systems sandwiched in between his other stops.
He returned to East Tennessee in 2015 and served in two different leadership roles for UCOR—which oversees cleanup at the former K-25 site—and now currently works for Strata-G Staffing, which fosters connections between UCOR and UT.
Despite his busy schedule, Conner also earned his master’s in chemical engineering from UT in 1978 and his doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, in 2013.
He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Management , was honored with the Secretary of Energy Award of Achievement, and is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Tau Beta Pi Engineering Society, the National Society of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and serves on the board of advisors for the Tickle College of Engineering and the Nuclear Engineering Department at UT.