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Kim Budil

Kim Budil, a scientist who has worked a variety of leadership positions during a 34-year career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), has been appointed its director, making her the first woman to hold the position.

Budil, the principal associate director for Weapons & Complex Integration, will take over as director on March 2, replacing Bill Goldstein, who announced last summer that he planned to step down, the laboratory said in a statement. Goldstein held the position for seven years.

Charlene Zettle, chair of the Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), which manages the laboratory for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), announced Budil’s appointment to employees on Thursday, Jan. 28.

"We strongly believe that she is the best person to lead LLNL at this time, and she will continue to champion the Laboratory’s outstanding contributions to its national security missions into the future,” Zettel said.”

Budil will lead 6,300 employees and an annual budget of about $1.5 billion and take Goldstein’s position as president of LLNS. She will be the 13th director since the laboratory opened in 1952.

"I am deeply honored to take on the role of Laboratory director,” Budil said. "Our lab has a storied history and continues this spirit of innovation and impact today through the efforts of our amazing workforce. The Lab team has demonstrated time and again its resilience and commitment to our mission of service to the nation, and I look forward to working with all of my LLNL colleagues, LLNS and our partners across the nuclear security enterprise."

According to the laboratory, Budil will set the facility’s strategic vision and lead the execution of programs and operations to advance science and technology. She also will be responsible for maintaining an outstanding, diverse workforce, and serve as a liaison to the U.S. Department of Energy, the NNSA, the LLNS Board of Governors, the University of California and other public and private organizations.

Part of her job will be providing President Joseph Biden, through his secretaries of Energy and Defense, an annual assessment of the state of the nuclear weapons stockpile, including its safety and security, and availability for use without a test.

Budil received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Illinois in 1987, and a Ph.D. in engineering/applied science at UC Davis in 1994.

Budil has held numerous positions at the laboratory, including increasing management responsibility in programs including Weapons and Complex Integration, Global Security, the National Ignition Facility and Physical and Life Sciences.

She twice worked in Washington D.C. at the NNSA in the Office of Defense Science and as a senior adviser to the undersecretary for science in the Department of Energy.

Budil also worked as the vice president for national laboratories in the UC Office of the President, where she was responsible for oversight of the Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos national laboratories, and developing strategic partnerships among the 10 UC campuses and the laboratories. She also was the executive committee governor on the Los Alamos National Security and LLNS Boards of Governors.

"Kim has proven scientific leadership and senior management experience across a broad range of Laboratory programs,” Zettel said. “Her passion and commitment to the Lab's mission and people, and her ability to strategically manage the breadth of Livermore's science and technology capabilities and operations will serve the Lab, its people and the nation well.

“She is a respected and trusted scientist among Laboratory managers and employees and with the DOE, NNSA, UC and other key government sponsors and academic and industrial partners."

Zettel also thanked Goldstein for his contributions to LLNL.