Harold T. Conner, PhD, former director of the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant and a senior advisor to the UCOR President and CEO, has won the prestigious 2022 Management Division Award presented by the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
He is the second UCOR senior manager to receive the award. It was presented to UCOR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Rueter in 2016. The annual award recognizes an outstanding individual who has made a substantial contribution to the management and leadership of engineers involved in the field of chemical engineering.
Conner recently retired as Senior Advisor to the President of UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs responsible for cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) and other parts of the Oak Ridge Reservation. He is currently Senior Engineering Advisor for Strata-G Corporation, a UCOR small business partner, and serves on the company’s board of directors.
A product of the civil rights era of the 1960s, Conner is the son of schoolteachers. He attended segregated schools in west Tennessee through high school and later became the first African American student to participate in the UT Martin engineering co-op program. He continued to break barriers as his professional career advanced, being named the first African American to be honored as a graduate of the Tickle College of Engineering Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
It was the UT co-op program that launched his impressive 55 years of service on Department of Energy and nuclear-related projects. Most of his career was spent in Oak Ridge where his decades of leadership and community service earned him the East Tennessee Economic Council’s prestigious Muddy Boot Award, named after the gritty pioneers who slogged through muddy terrain to create the City of Oak Ridge during the Manhattan Project.
Today, few people in any industry can claim the remarkable length of service or extraordinary level of achievement that characterize Conner’s career. Despite detours to work at other DOE locations, Conner ended his five-decade career at the same place it started – the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.