Kropaczek named director at ORNL

Friday, September 14, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 37


David J. Kropaczek is the new director of the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

CASL, which launched in 2010 as Department of Energy’s first Innovation Hub, has brought together the nation’s supercomputing facilities and leading nuclear experts and institutions to pursue an aggressive 10-year mission—to predict the performance of existing and next-generation commercial nuclear reactors through comprehensive, science-based modeling and simulation.

“David is well equipped to lead CASL into this next stage. The program’s innovative modeling tools have shown great promise, and it’s time to hand the keys over to industry to ensure the greatest impact,” says Alan Icenhour, associate laboratory director for the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate. “Because of David’s two decades of industry leadership experience and knowledge of CASL’s inner workings, he is the right choice to push the program forward.”

Kropaczek has served as chief scientist of CASL since 2016, interacting with CASL’s Science and Industry councils and using their input to help shape the overall direction of the program’s research.

“As CASL enters the last phase under its 10-year directive, I’m excited to take the reins and lead the deployment of our tools to industry, specifically the Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications suite,” Kropaczek says. “We want to realize the full value of CASL’s impact by helping to safely extend the lifetime of the current nuclear fleet and assist industry in launching the next generation of nuclear reactors.”

He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a master’s and doctorate in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State University.

Evans, McAnally named deputy directors


Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero has appointed two new deputy directors.

Boyce Evans will serve as deputy director of the Finance Division. Fiona McAnally will take on the job as Knoxville’s deputy director of communications.

Evans has served purchasing agent for the city since March 2006 after a career in the U.S. Army. He held finance positions during his military service, including a stint as the finance director for Fort Campbell where he was responsible for a $271 million budget. Evans retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.


Evans will continue to oversee purchasing operations and will focus on the budget and other areas of the Finance Department with Jim York, the department’s senior official.

McAnally was appointed to the communications position previously held by Eric Vreeland, who was promoted to Senior Director of Communications and Government Relations.

McAnally was the Knox County Health Department’s director of community assessment and planning and has a background in management and public policy, including positions in Washington, D.C., working with public officials to communicate budget and policy priorities.

County school board adds five members

Five members were recently sworn in for the Knox County Board of Education.

Three members are newly elected to the board, while two incumbent members took the oath for a new four-year term.

New members joining the board are:

• Evetty Satterfield, District 1

• Virginia Babb, District 4

• Kristi Kristy, District 9

Incumbents beginning a new term are:

• Terry Hill, District 6

• Patti Bounds, District 7

Also, joining the board was student representative Hannah Selph, of Hardin Valley Academy.

Knoxville Airport Authority hires Wilson


Patrick Wilson, A.A.E., has been hired as president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority’s Board of Commissioners, effective mid-November 2018.

Wilson will replace William F. “Bill” Marrison, who is retiring on December 31, 2018, after 36 years of service to the organization.

“On behalf of the airport’s Board of Commissioners, we are grateful to Bill for his years of dedication to our airport system,” says Eddie Mannis, chairman of the MKAA Board of Commissioners. “It was under his leadership that McGhee Tyson Airport has broken annual passenger records, attracted new businesses such as Cirrus Aircraft, attracted new airlines and created hundreds of jobs for our community.”

“The MKAA Board of Commissioners knew that finding someone to follow Bill Marrison as president would be a monumental undertaking,” Mannis adds. “Patrick is a natural fit for the position with his proven track record of strong leadership, team building and capital improvement execution. He is well respected within the aviation industry and we are confident he will continue to take our airport to the next level with his focus on customer experience, strategic partnerships and economic development.”

Wilson has over 25 years of aviation experience, an established relationship with state and federal aviation officials and a clear understanding of legislative issues facing Tennessee airports. In his most recent position as executive director at the Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Wilson developed the vision and made strategic partnerships to create a 160 acre on-airport aerospace industry park that resulted in $40 million of site infrastructure.

He has initiated and secured funding for $110 million in capital improvements to modernize and expand facilities at the airport in the airfield, terminal, general aviation and air cargo areas. Prior to leading the Tri-Cities Airport, Wilson was MKAA Operations Manager where he gained a strong understanding of the inter-workings of McGhee Tyson Airport.

Wilson graduated top of his class from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master of Business in Aviation and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.

He earned the Accredited Airport Executive designation from the American Association of Airport Executives. He has also been AAAE certified as an Airport Security Coordinator, attended the Advanced Airport Operations Specialist School and is an Airport Certified Employee.

Since 2015, he has served as the president of the Tennessee Association of Air Carrier Airports and serves on the University of Tennessee’s Aerospace and Defense Advisory Board. He is the president-elect of the AAAE Southeast Chapter, representing 12 states.

“I am honored to have been selected to serve as the next President of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority,” Wilson says. “I hope to contribute to and build upon the strong aviation foundation that exists at both McGhee Tyson and Downtown Island Airports by recruiting air service, creating new jobs and investing in the people who work at and visit the airports.”

ASME selects Sun as fellow


Xin Sun of Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The Energy and Transportation Science Division director was cited by ASME for outstanding accomplishments in multidisciplinary research initiatives in the areas of carbon capture simulations, advanced high strength steel development, lightweight metals manufacturing process optimization and performance simulations.

She was also recognized for authoring more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles, authoring more than 10 books and delivering more than 60 invited talks.

Since joining ORNL in 2017 as division director, Sun has been instrumental in securing a significant number of user agreements, invention disclosures, patent applications and licenses. She has also led the development of an additively manufactured intensified device for post-combustion carbon capture.

NSA picks Tickle’s Abel for honor


Steve Abel has been named a 2018 National Science Award winner, recognition for young faculty members having an impact in their field.

He is assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee.

Abel’s proposal relates to the modeling of immune cells, particularly T cells and B cells, which begin in bone marrow before spreading through the lymphatic system to help fight infection.

“This is a sign of the excellent work going on here in our college and the quality of our faculty,” says Mark Dean, interim dean of the college. “Steve and the rest of our honorees should feel proud of their accomplishments.”

Abel is the sixth UT assistant professor to receive the NSA honor this summer. The others are: Siris Laursen, Joshua Sangoro, Tim Truster, Daniel Costinett and Andy Sarles.

The college now has 13 faculty members so honored since 2016, underlying the important and growing role of young faculty across the college’s departments.