Marc Zocher

ZocherPaper (6): Program Management Improvement Team: a Best Practice Based Approach to Process Improvement and Program Governance at the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Abstract: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the U.S. Department of Energy maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. NNSA’s Office of Safety, Infrastructure and Operations (NA-50) is responsible for enabling safe operations, ensuring effective infrastructure and providing enterprise services to NNSA programs and national laboratories to meet the 21st Century needs of the NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise.

NA-50 plans, directs and oversees the maintenance, operation and modernization of infrastructure and facilities at eight national labs, a vast and complex enterprise of 41,000 employees, 36 million square feet of buildings including 400 nuclear facilities, 2,000 miles of roads, 9.1 trillion BTUs of energy use, and 15.2 million tons of hazardous materials, on 2,160 square miles of land. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, NA-50 plans, funds, directs and oversees hundreds of projects each year. In September 2015 NA-50 established a Program Management Improvement Team (PMIT) to enhance program, portfolio and project performance through the identification, development and sharing of best practices and to help ensure the achievement of cost-effective, timely, measurable and quality results in support of the NNSA mission. The PMIT is comprised of a small cadre of private industry program management experts who meet with NA-50 federal program managers quarterly to discuss and share successful leading-edge program management practices. This paper will describe the purpose, activities and results to date of the NNSA’s PMIT.

Biography:  Marc Zocher is a Program Manager at Bay Forge, LLC where provides program support for nuclear facility operations, serves as technical peer review team member for Hanford Waste Treatment Plant, and provides subject matter expertise for Environmental Restoration Programs and Facilities at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Mr. Zocher has over 30 years of professional experience managing engineering, environmental, nuclear and IT projects.  He has served as a ‘Q’-cleared scientist/manager supporting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at four national laboratories and two DOE/NNSA Headquarters assignments in Germantown, MD and Washington, DC.  Mr. Zocher has 26 years’ experience in policy, procedure, conduct of operations, audits and assessments, some of which includes work and organizational breakdown structure development.  He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 1994.  Mr. Zocher served as a Project Manager for the NNSA Office of Global Threat Reduction G2 IT Project, winner of the Project Management Institute’s Distinguished Project Award in 2010.  Mr. Zocher has a B.S. in Geology, New Mexico State University (1984) and Graduated from the University of California, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Program, Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is currently a program management advisor for NNSA.

Mr. Zocher has over 1,000 classroom hours as an instructor in project management at three universities and for the Project Management Institutes PMP preparation course.  He was a contributing author to Hazardous Waste Cost Control (Marcel Dekker, 1993) and was a founding member, NNSA Project Management Improvement Team.  Previously, from 2007-2012 Mr. Zocher supported the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (NA-21) providing support as the lead developer of scope, schedule, and budgets for domestic and foreign partner reactor conversion projects, HEU removal projects and domestic protection NA-21 projects.  He also was responsible for three revisions of the NA-21 GTRI Program Management Plan and the Strategic Plan and was Responsible for major project efforts including the development and deployment of the initial G2 software platform (> $2M) in use by NA-21 and the development of NA-21 Program Management Plan for this worldwide effort.

Mr. Zocher has also been President of Morphic Corporation where he was an executive manager for a $7 million, 20 employee engineering and project management services company working under contract to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to support the areas of policy development, remediation alternative engineering, business process modeling, nuclear cleanup and waste management, and environmental restoration.