Jeff W. Smith
Interim Vice President for Research
Graduating from the Ohio State University in 1981 with a B.S. degree in ceramic engineering, Jeff worked briefly for the Anchor Hocking Glass corporation before joining Battelle in 1984 and stayed with Battelle until his recent retirement. He and his wife, Debbie, of 41 years have three daughters and three grandchildren.
Jeff retired in November 2021 after serving for 21 years as deputy for operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest multi-program science and energy laboratory, which has an annual budget of $2.0 billion and 5,500 employees.
Jeff led a $700 million modernization of ORNL that transformed the dated facilities of the Manhattan Project-era site into one of the world’s most modern laboratories.
Several major scientific facilities were completed on his watch, to include:
- the $1.4B Spallation Neutron Source, the world’s most powerful neutron science facility,
- a Carbon Fiber Technology Facility to advance the development of low-cost carbon fiber and,
- the world’s largest supercomputer center, capable of delivering up to 60MW of power to today’s world leading machines.
Jeff’s tenure also saw safety performance improve to record levels and he coordinated efforts to improve the safety and reliability of the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the nation’s premier research reactor.
Jeff also serves:
- As president of the UT-Battelle Development Corporation, a non-profit created to support the private sector development of facilities at ORNL.
- On the Board of the Cherokee Farm Development Corporation responsible for developing the University of Tennessee System’s research park.
- On a Senate confirmed seat on the Tennessee Valley Authority Board, serving as chair of the Operations and Nuclear Oversight Committee.
- As chair of the General Aviation Committee for the Metropolitan Knoxville Aiport Authority.
For fun, Jeff has restored a 1953 Chevrolet pickup truck, builds and remodels homes and flies a Cirrus SR22. He also volunteers with his wife to assist Homes of Love, an organization that provides a family living environment for at-risk children in Southeast Asia and Africa.