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Former Intel CEO Craig Barrett to Chair Berkeley Lab Advisory Board

October 2011

At its semi-annual meeting earlier this month, the Berkeley Lab Advisory Board said farewell and thanks to outgoing chair Norman Augustine, the Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Lockheed Martin, and welcomed incoming chair Craig Barrett, the longtime Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation.

Barrett was appointed by the UC President and will serve a five-year term as Chair of the LBNL Advisory Board, which has up to 14 members and is charged with providing advice to the UC President about the scientific and operational aspects of the Lab.

“I am excited about being associated with Berkeley Lab and hope to contribute in some small way to the wonderful research that takes place there,” Barrett said. “If I can bring any capability to this effort, it will be of the many years spent at Intel where I watched innovative ideas turn into world-changing products.”

hydrogen bubble chamber

Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos (center) presents outgoing Board Chair Norm Augustine with a photo from the hydrogen bubble chamber which was a cornerstone of the Lab's research. UC President Mark Yudof (right) and Board Co-Chair Lawrence Pitts (seated) look on.

Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos expressed gratitude for the service of both men.  “Norm Augustine and Craig Barrett are powerful voices in the national conversation about the direction of the country’s research enterprise whose experience running major organizations central to the important issues of the day is unparalleled,” he said.  “I am grateful to have their strategic advice on matters related to the future direction of our Lab.”

Barrett has been a vocal proponent of science education and government investment in research. As a country we need “to pay more attention to education and research investment, … to make sure that the U.S. is a great environment to promote investment in innovation,” Barrett told Forbes in 2009 shortly before he retired from the Intel board. (Click here for an online debate he had with Vivek Wadhwa on how best to produce more scientists and engineers.)

In further email comments to Today at Berkeley Lab, he wrote: “It is my belief that the true underlying strength of America is in its Tier 1 research universities and national labs. Our position in the world in the 21st century will be dependent on our ability as a country to develop smart people and smart ideas and then let the entrepreneurial and innovative spirits run wild.”

Barrett has a Ph.D. in Materials Science from Stanford University and taught at Stanford until 1974. He became Intel’s fourth president in 1997, CEO in 1998 and chairman of the board in 2005. He retired from the board in 2009. He chairs the nonprofit Change the Equation, a national coalition working to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

hydrogen bubble chamber

(left to right) Lab Advisory Board members Norm Augustine, Craig Barrett, Mark Yudof, Robert Powell and Linda Katehi

Outgoing chair Augustine served as chair of the Lab Advisory Board since it was founded in 2006. In that time, he witnessed a cultural shift as the Lab more proactively and successfully dealt with safety and health issues. “When I was first involved, they were consuming an enormous amount of time,” he said. “Today the Lab can carry out its mission while handling safety matters very appropriately. It’s become a way of life.” Augustine has also seen the Lab make great strides in informing basic research with coordinated energy and environmental analysis, and with associations to industry and technology development.

Augustine is a former Under Secretary of the Army, Princeton University lecturer and chairman and CEO of the Martin Marietta Corporation and later of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. “I count it as an honor to have been associated with Berkeley Lab,” he said. “It is certainly one of the most outstanding labs in the country. The quality of the people and the work is really a national asset.”

He had two parting pieces of advice for the Lab. The first is to maintain focus on its priorities and strengths and not get distracted. The second is to aim high. “One of the great virtues of the Lab’s role in the country is that it can pursue high-risk endeavors that have high payoffs,” he said. “I think the Lab needs to make sure the things it is doing produce transformational, not marginal, benefits. If our national labs don’t take on the high-risk, high-reward research, transformational innovation probably won’t be done in America.”

- by Julie Chao