Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

NAL May Build More than an Accelerator

Kennard R. Williams


by Jo Gustafson
Staff Writer

The title of the man at the desk reads "Equal Opportunity and Community Relations officer for the National Accelerator Laboratory."

Kennard R. Williams, the man behind the desk, doesn't wear this title with formality. He has managed to take over a job that deals with the controversial topic of the times-human relations with a simple kind of philosophy and dedication that could really shake up the present exponents of "protest and demonstration" techniques.

The National Accelerator Laboratory (NAL) is where the atomic accelerator will be built. Williams feels that there can be much more built than "just an accelerator."

"If we don't accomplish more than that," he says, "we have missed the boat.

"The money for this project, which will be spent one way or another, can be put into the hands of many people who need to know how important they are to the growth and development of this country.

"Everybody goes around in circles about the subjects of rights, minority groups and human relations," says Williams, who has the feeling that if anyone can tangibly help solve some of these problems, it will be industry.

With this in mind, part of Williams' job is to encourage NAL and AEC people to give advance notice of their needs for construction so that he and his staff can search for qualified small businesses and industries that may have been part of the big picture of discrimination in any way and offer them a chance to participate in this project.

So, the man behind the desk is not behind that desk very much. His operations take him all over the country.

While he's turning the building of the accelerator into the building of people too, his job takes him many places.

"Even though we search for minority contractors with the thought of promoting good human relations, we do keep good business in mind too so we can keep costs within reason for this project," says Williams.

"When we find these people we request bids for their work, and, if in some cases they don't receive contracts, due to high bidding, which is natural in the case of many small contractors, we go over their contracts to help them understand details in, good prices in the submission of bids. We continue to request and encourage them to bid competitively on NAL contracts.

"At this time we are engaged in canvassing the whole country in search of these minority manufacturers. We visit their plants, discuss their providing materials and services for the NAL and they in turn visit the NAL site. Members of these minority companies discuss potential contracts with our engineering staff while they are here and have been briefed on submission of bids with our purchasing administrative section.

''We have to open some doors for the people who have been victims of discrimination in many forms. They need a chance to grow with dignity, develop their talents and become important people not only in their own eyes but in the eyes of others in the worlds of business, science and industry.

"You just have to `say it like it is.' While we are building an atomic accelerator we have a chance to think of more than just that. If we don't give more than `construction and completion' to this project we've missed an opportunity to do something about this human relations bit and it could do a lot for the future problems that we face."

The NAL official policy states; "In any conflict between technical expediency and human rights we shall stand firmly on the side of human rights. This stand is taken because of, rather than in spite of, a dedication to science.

"Because of this type of dedication," says Williams, "we could not conceive not using the building of the 200 BEV to help develop new, and assist established minority contractors."