Pair will serve as OLCF deputy project manager and operations manager, respectively
In August, two new employees joined the management team of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Justin Whitt and Stephen McNally, the OLCF’s new deputy project manager and operations manager, respectively, know high-performance computing (HPC) at ORNL well—they both came from leadership positions at the OLCF’s next-door neighbor, the University of Tennessee’s National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS), also located on the ORNL campus.
McNally and Whitt heard through word of mouth that the two positions were open and had similar reactions. “I jumped at the chance to join this team,” Whitt said. “I already knew it was a highly functioning team, and there are just so many thought leaders in HPC within this organization. To be here at the dawn of exascale is truly an amazing opportunity.”
McNally added, “I was already with a top-notch academic research institution, and this felt like another step up. This is kind of like being at the top of the food chain.”
As operations manager, McNally will focus on the day-to-day maintenance of the OLCF’s compute and storage facilities, in addition to the electrical and cooling systems that keep the OLCF’s computing resources running. In addition, he will serve as an operational point of contact for organizations that use the OLCF’s computing resources, namely the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency.
Whitt’s role as deputy project manager for the OLCF entails supporting OLCF director Buddy Bland by helping to plan for, organize, and execute the delivery of leadership-class computing resources at the OLCF. Effectively communicating challenges and successes to the DOE Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program also will be a key responsibility for Whitt in his new role.
Whitt received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a master’s degree in computational engineering through the National Center for Computational Engineering at the same institution. Whitt’s research included computational modeling of transonic aircraft in conjunction with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s AVT-113 technical team and the optimization of wind turbines. Whitt previously held various positions related to computational science and management at NICS.
McNally earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems from Carson-Newman University and a master of business administration with a focus on management information systems from Tennessee Technological University. He also served in multiple leadership roles while at NICS.
Both Whitt and McNally credit NICS for preparing them to take on their new roles at the OLCF.
“NICS was a very rich learning environment,” Whitt said. “Working with a world-class team to deliver a national cyber infrastructure is an invaluable experience.”
McNally added, “I’ve done pretty much everything in the operations group in an HPC center, and I think the experience that I’ve gained through the last 6 years is going to help me with this role. I bring the real-world application of a system administrator while also sympathizing with the users, reporting to funding agencies, and delivering metrics.”
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.