WRPS donates $127,000 to support local STEM education efforts


RICHLAND, Wash. – Tri-City area students, from grade school through college, will benefit from $127,000 in contributions announced today by Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), the Hanford tank operations contractor.

The money will be used to strengthen and expand K-12, college and community science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related programs.




The Mid-Columbia STEM Education Network (MCSEN) will receive $50,000:

  • $30,000 to support events that celebrate our region as a national leader in STEM literacy and to recruit volunteers to conduct STEM programs that link students with mentors and role models.  These programs include: “STEM Like Me!” a program that encourages students to consider STEM careers. Through personal interactions with STEM professionals, middle school students are inspired to envision themselves in the shoes of a STEM professional. 
  • $20,000 for STEM-related education activities at the REACH and the local Boys & Girls Club.  Through the MCSEN, these funds will provide additional staff and equipment to support currently underrepresented populations including minorities and women.

WSU Tri-Cities will receive $50,000 in STEM scholarships and STEM faculty support.

Columbia Basin College will receive $27,000 to complete the purchase of new equipment for its Nuclear Technology Program and provide STEM-related scholarships.

“WRPS recognizes the need for more students to become interested in STEM careers.  There’s an increasing demand for workers in science and technology fields, in the Tri-Cities, in Washington and our country.  If we’re to compete globally, we need more STEM-educated students,” said James Taylor, an AECOM senior executive who made the announcement on behalf of WRPS.  AECOM is the majority owner of WRPS with Energy Solutions and AREVA being the other team members.

“WRPS is excited about helping the Mid-Columbia STEM network extend its impact in this region, especially in serving underrepresented students.  It’s a great addition to WRPS’ ongoing support of STEM-related activities at WSU Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College,” Taylor said.

“We are grateful for WRPS’ generous gift and their vision in helping to position the Mid-Columbia as a national leader in STEM literacy.  The Tri-Cities was named one of the top regions in the nation for STEM jobs but, unfortunately, too few of our students see STEM’s power or possibilities. WRPS is having a real impact by providing not only these much needed funds, but also through the exceptional WRPS employees who generously donate their time to help young people experience STEM in action,” reports Deb Bowen, Executive Director of the Washington State STEM Education Foundation and the Mid-Columbia STEM Network.

WRPS, owned by AECOM and EnergySolutions, with integrated subcontractor AREVA, is a prime contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection and is responsible for managing and reducing the risk posed by the waste stored in Hanford’s underground tanks.

Washington State STEM Education Foundation and Mid-Columbia STEM Network

The Washington State STEM Education Foundation incorporated in 2009 with a vision of becoming a national model for generating passionate support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in Public Education: Every Student, Every Day. The non-profit’s first project was to support the launch of Delta High School, and now has expanded the scope of work to enhance projects that create a substantial and sustainable impact on the quality of STEM education across the Mid-Columbia.

The Mid-Columbia STEM Network was launched in 2014.  The Network is one of a number of STEM Networks being developed across our state under the leadership of Washington STEM.  STEM networks comprise education, business and community leaders who are committed to sharing promising practices and strengthening the STEM pipeline.  For more information, including links to outstanding volunteer opportunities in our region visit:  WashingtonSTEMeducation.org

WRPS recognized for hiring, promoting workers with disabilities

Disabilities award 2RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) is one of eight local companies recognized by the state’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) for recruiting, hiring and promoting individuals with disabilities.

WRPS received an outreach award at the “Building Bridges and Breaking Down Barriers” breakfast ceremony Tuesday at the TRAC Center in Pasco. The event helps increase awareness about diversity and disability in the workplace while bringing together service providers, employers and individuals with disabilities.

“We’re very proud of this award,” said Mark Lindholm, WRPS president and project manager. “We’ve put together a highly skilled, safety-conscious workforce at WRPS by focusing on abilities rather than disabilities.”

WRPS, Hanford’s tank farms contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of River Protection, has a workforce of more than 2,000 employees. The company has hired 35 individuals with disabilities and has a total of 123 employees who have self-identified their disability status.

WRPS regularly posts job openings with organizations such as Deaf to Work, Enable America, Think Beyond the Label and the United Spinal Association, as well as with colleges specific to students with disabilities. In addition, WRPS works with representatives from the DVR to encourage individuals with disabilities to apply for positions and also works with organizations such as Goodwill Industries and Service Alternatives to promote employees with disabilities.

The “Building Bridges and Breaking Down Barriers” event included educational sessions on hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities, and career fairs for individuals with disabilities and high school seniors transferring into the workforce.

WRPS, owned by AECOM and EnergySolutions, with integrated subcontractor AREVA, is responsible for managing and reducing the risk posed by the waste stored in Hanford’s 177 underground tanks.

Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for life a resounding success

IMG_3739WRPS team members helped raise a whopping $27,573 in support of fighting cystic fibrosis (CF), an inherited disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system.

The team came together August 22 to ride in the CF Cycle for Life, a one-day bicycle event benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. WRPS is the top fundraising team locally, ranks second in the Pacific Northwest and fourth nationally.

Cyclists could ride routes of various lengths, and rest stops placed along the way were manned by individuals and families affected by CF.

Don Slaugh, WRPS ESH&Q, has a two-year-old grandson diagnosed with CF. He and his family were stationed at the booth in Benton City, which gave them the opportunity to interact with those participating in the ride.

“After the diagnosis, it’s just such a steep learning curve to figure out what CF is all about,” said Slaugh, whose wife takes care of their grandchild during the day while his mother works. “The organizers of this ride have done a tremendous job getting the community involved, and WRPS has lent an amazing amount of support. That goes a long way to raise awareness for this debilitating disease.”

Special thanks to Susan Omberg Carro and Tom Ardamica, who served as co-captains of the WRPS team.

WRPS continues to support Jr. Achievement

WRPS with Students

Students take on the role of corporate business leaders by making decisions involving profitability and sustainability of their virtual company, and attempt to outperform competitors in profit, sales, and market share. Students set prices, determine production levels, invest in capital, develop budgets, and plan marketing and research. WRPS is a long-time sponsor of Jr. Achievement.

Washington River Protection Solutions honored for hiring veterans

WRPS_veteransWashington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) was one of seven employers recognized this spring by the Washington State Employment Security Department for hiring veterans.

WRPS employs 215 veterans who make up about 12 percent of its workforce.  The award recipients were announced in conjunction with National Military Appreciation Month and the Memorial Day holiday.

“The men and women who serve in our military bring valuable skills and experience to civilian jobs after they’ve completed their active duty,” Department Commissioner Dale Peinecke said in a statement. “These seven employers have demonstrated their commitment to providing jobs for veterans in our state again and again.”

WRPS awards Family Scholarships to outstanding high school seniors

Family scholarship 2015 (33)Five high school seniors received the first-ever WRPS Family Scholarships for academic excellence recently.

The recipients of the $2,000 scholarships are the sons or daughters of WRPS employees.  They were selected on the basis of leadership, scholastic achievement and service.

“The scholarships are an excellent way for us to reward students for their hard work in the classroom and their involvement in school and community activities,” said Dave Olson, WRPS president and project manager.  “The scholarships also recognize their families for the commitment and sacrifices they have made in support of their son’s or daughter’s growth and education.”

WRPS engineers bridge educational gap with local students

MESA (4)

WRPS engineers spent the day with High School students last week learning about the importance of designing and building bridges – but on a much smaller scale.

Students participated in an event sponsored by Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), a national program recognized for its innovative and effective academic development techniques.

The event challenged students to build bridges out of Popsicle sticks. Students were divided into teams of three, had one hour to complete the task, and were judged on design and teamwork.

WRPS engineers served as judges, evaluating the bridge for aesthetic appeal and load-bearing capability. The top-performing bridge was able to support 34 pounds.

WRPS employees March for Babies


WRPS employees and family members Marched for Babies at the annual March of Dimes event.

WRPS helps to Bridge Partnerships


WRPS recognizes that partnering with small businesses is essential to sustaining success on the tank farms project.
The company recently demonstrated its steadfast commitment to small businesses, particularly those in the local community, by sponsoring the Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium at the TRAC Center in Pasco.

Bridging Partnerships is an annual networking conference/workshop that helps companies learn more about government contracting at Hanford.  More than 250 small business owners, procurement professionals and supplier representatives attended this year’s event, which offered breakout sessions with leading industry and government experts, as well as a business expo.

WRPS has experienced great success teaming with small businesses since taking over the tank farms contract in 2008. The company has awarded more than $1 billion in subcontracts, with nearly two-thirds of the money going to small businesses.

WRPS’ commitment to safety goes beyond the tank farms

Motorcycle_lidarWRPS’ commitment to safety goes beyond the tank farms.  It covers the entire Hanford Site.

In an effort to help improve Hanford Site traffic safety, WRPS donated approximately $2,500 to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office to buy a new speed-detecting laser gun for use on a motorcycle.  The sheriff’s office is responsible for traffic control on and near the site.

This is the second time WRPS has provided funding to the sheriff’s office for speed-detecting equipment.  In 2011, WRPS donated money to the purchase of a new radar system for a patrol car.