WRPS volunteers mentor young minds

STEM (1)WRPS employees recently volunteered at the 2014 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Explorers Conference at Columbia Basin College. More than 300 students participated in the event where they learned about various STEM fields through fun, hands-on workshops led by area professionals.

WRPS presenters and their topics:

Scotty Curl – Nuclear Engineering: Chain Reaction
Janelle Easter – Peanut Butter & Jelly: The Basics of Communication
Matthew Huntington – Mechanical Engineering: DIY Brushless Electric Motors
Lloyd Keith – Nuclear Engineering: Working in the Nuclear Industry
Mark Brown – Structural Engineering: Building a Spaghetti Tower

WRPS attends job fair for disabled workers

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WRPS Talent Development Coordinator Britt Easter and Human Resources Staffing Lead Chastity Bitters greet attendees at a job fair designed to assist disabled workers. WRPS joined more than 30 other area employers who set up booths to take resumes and coordinate interviews. The event, which took place the last week of October at the TRAC in Pasco, was aptly named Building Bridges and Breaking Down Barriers.

“There are so many stereotypes, and the first barrier we have to overcome is the limitations we put on disabled employees because of our own personal biases,” said WRPS Compliance Programs lead Lisa Bunch. “We want to break down existing barriers and move beyond them to expand employment opportunities for disabled workers.”

Book drive closes chapter on successful United Way campaign

Clayton Finley and Cynthia Hightower help sort books for WRPS' United Way book drive.

Clayton Finley and Cynthia Hightower help sort books for WRPS’ United Way book drive.

Clayton Finley and Cynthia Hightower help sort books for WRPS’ United Way book drive. About 10 employees helped collect, carry and count the books, then sort them into age-appropriate categories. In all, WRPS employees donated 971 books, which will be given to the Benton Franklin Head Start School Readiness Program, the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties.

WRPS exceeds $1 billion milestone in subcontracting awards

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Recipients of the WRPS-sponsored 2014 Small Business Incentive grants were recognized recently at a Tri-City Regional Chamber community meeting.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently surpassed the $1 billion mark in total subcontract awards issued since taking over the contract in October 2008, with more than 60 percent going to small businesses. WRPS is the Tank Operations Contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of River Protection at Hanford, and is responsible for safely managing 56 million gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored in 177 underground tanks.

Through September 2014, WRPS awarded a total of $1.02 billion in subcontracts. More than $622 million was given to small businesses, which exceeds WRPS’ small business spending goal by more than $30 million.

“This milestone demonstrates our willingness and commitment to promote small business,” said WRPS Small Business Program Manager Mari Roden. “WRPS feels strongly about working with our current small business partners and setting aside funds to reach out to new small businesses to further promote growth and development in the federal marketplace.”

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, WRPS spent a total of $165 million in subcontracts, with 67.5 percent given to small businesses. WRPS awarded $78 million to local small businesses in FY 2014.

Subcontracting awards are just one of the many ways WRPS works to promote its small business partners. The company continuously supports area chambers of commerce and procurement technical assistance centers as a way to reach out and promote small business subcontracting in the area and encourage growth of local and regional small businesses.

WRPS sponsors an annual networking event, the Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium, which helps local companies learn more about government contracting at Hanford. WRPS also provides funding to support the Tri-City Area Chamber of Commerce’s small business grant program, which offers financial assistance to companies who apply and qualify for the award. WRPS also participates in the DOE Mentor-Protégé program by partnering with local small businesses to create long-lasting relationships, share best practices and lessons learned, and enhance the protégés’ ability to successfully compete for federal contracts.

WRPS aids 45 businesses with grants

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Some recipients of the 2014 Small Business Incentive grants were recognized recently at a Tri-City Regional Chamber community meeting.

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the 45 award recipients of its 2014 Small Business Incentive Program last week.  A $30,000 contribution from Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) to support the program was presented at the chamber’s Business Expo Network Tri-Cities Luncheon Oct. 22.

For a fourth consecutive year, WRPS and the chamber partnered to support and strengthen local small businesses by awarding the grants which can be used toward websites, software, or training and/or equipment.

“Washington River Protection Solutions believes it’s important to strengthen the small businesses in the Tri-Cities area,” said Melissa Garrard, senior procurement specialist at WRPS. “We are pleased to support our local economy through this program.”

Grant applicants were encouraged to “think outside the box” when thinking of items their businesses needed to succeed. Carrie Smith, owner of Fit for Me, applied for and was awarded a new heart defibrillator, an essential component for any fitness center. “I am so grateful for this amazing resource for my growing business,” said Smith. “The Small Business Incentive Program has helped strengthen my business and my peace of mind.”

WRPS employee appointed to board of local PMI chapter

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Lisa Rosenblum, WRPS Project Management Program, has been named to the board of directors for the Project Management Institute (PMI) Columbia River Basin Chapter as vice president of     public relations.

Rosenblum recently joined WRPS from Fowler, though she’s supported the Tank Operations Contract for the past year working with Greg McClellan and the Project Management Program to help brand and market the department. Most recently she developed a project management newsletter, designed the website, and assumed management of Project Navigator, a custom-developed software tool that serves project managers.

Thom Ardamica receives Pyramid Award

L to R: James Taylor, URS GMOS president; Thom Ardamica: Dave Olson, WRPS president and project manager; and Rob Gregory, WRPS Tank Farm Projects manager.

L to R: James Taylor, URS GMOS president; Thom Ardamica: Dave Olson, WRPS president and project manager; and Rob Gregory, WRPS Tank Farm Projects manager.

Thomas Ardamica, WRPS field crew operations, received his URS Pyramid Award at a ceremony last week. Thom won the award in the community service category for his involvement in the Cystic Fibrosis Cycle for Life fundraising event.

Ardamica was instrumental in growing the event through increased sponsorships, riders and new approaches resulting in increased participation.

WRPS Volunteer Day provides “fresh start” for children’s center

More than 30 WRPS employees and their family members helped paint the teen center at the Boys & Girls Club in Pasco.

More than 30 WRPS employees and their family members helped paint the teen center at the Boys & Girls Club in Pasco.

PASCO, Wash. – It took 26 gallons of paint, 30 volunteers and a whole lot of caring to cover 3,700 feet of wall space over the course of two days, but in the end it was all worth it. More than two dozen Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) employees gave up a portion of their weekend in August to provide a much-needed makeover for the Pasco Boys & Girls Club.

“We saw an opportunity here where we could make a big impact,” said Janelle Easter, event coordinator. “We recognized a huge need, our volunteers responded, and starting off the school year with a fresh coat of paint is really going to set the tone for a positive school year for these kids.”

The effort was organized by WPRSpeed, a young professionals group focused on developing leadership skills and encouraging community service. A $2,500 donation from WRPS paid for paint to recover the art room, game room and gym. The funds also helped purchase art supplies, sports equipment and new games to fill the center.

It’s the second straight year WRPSpeed has organized the Volunteer Day event. Last August, volunteers sanded and repainted the playground at Richland’s Howard Amon Park. Participants say the event exemplifies two core WRPS values: leadership and service above self.

“WRPS has not just a responsibility to the taxpayer and the government in terms of accomplishing our mission safely, effectively and in accordance with requirements—we also have a responsibility to give back to the community in which we live and serve,” said WRPS President and Project Manager Dave Olson. “It’s not just about what we do at the job site, it’s as much about what we do in the community to reflect our company, our values and our support for what happens.”