Questions and Answers about BWX Technologies

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Many months. Very dysfunctional process that is all based on who you know internally or in the Navy.

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10 hours per day

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Very comprehensive and highly supported

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Be yourself, be honest, have integrity

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Urine specimen

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My experience was at NFS - Nuclear Fuel Services, in Erwin, TN. The president of NFS made a point of telling me that I would be working in an industry that was very different from what I had experienced in my lengthy and diverse professional career.

I was interviewed by 13 people. I asked what the culture was like. Unanimously, they said "Safety." In hindsight, I wish I would have delved deeper into that question.

I am writing this review because I want the next communications director to go in with real insight into the job, so that he/she may be successful and, perhaps, last longer than a year (my predecessor) or 18 months (me).

Safety is huge and the programs in place to promote a safe work environment are impressive and effective. Kudos to the over-worked and under-appreciated woman in charge of safety culture. She is awesome and I truly enjoyed working with her and the Human Performance HuP manager. He is awesome as well.

What executive staff and other interviewers don't mention is the tension between hourly and salaried employees. There continues to be decades-long animosity because of a strike years ago and because the company no longer offers many of the perks it did before it was purchased by B&W. Many hourly/union employees boycott company events such as anniversary recognition dinners and even the annual picnic.

The executive staff doesn't mention the people who held executive positions before B&W purchased NFS; who were demoted. NFS/B&W brought/brings in outsiders who are not always welcomed by these folks. While executives and HR talk a good game about succession planning, time and time again, the senior leadership positions are filled with outsiders and not the people who are logically next in line. This creates underlying bitterness and some hostility. One poor guy was referred to as "that ____hole from Lynchburg" for several years.To this day, I don't think he is well-liked but he is actually a great guy who is good at his job.

While BWXT calls this a manager position, the president of NFS considers it a director-level position. You will be a part of the president's senior staff. You will report to two bosses, have two sets of goals and be torn between what the NFS president wants you to do and what BWXT expects.

One of the four key focus areas in the safety culture program" is RESPECT. A respectful work environment. NFS execs and program managers will tell you it's not about respectful personal relationships, that they have that under control. I disagree. I witnessed one (demoted) senior manager call her staff member an "___hole" in a meeting and everyone looked the other way. Some of the directors simply blow it off and say, "Oh, that's just so and so. Even I have to bow to him/her."

Some employees at NFS are not shy about disrespecting directors to their faces. It even occurs in front of the HR director on occasion.

Having been a military brat as well as working in normal corporate environments, I could not comprehend why this inappropriate behavior was allowed to continue. I was in meetings with the HR director who witnessed this behavior and did nothing about it.

At NFS, there is what I call a playground "tattling" environment. Here are three examples.

Official tattling #1. There is a system called PIRCS that is designed to report (anonymously) events that could threaten the safety of the mission. But it is also used to (anonymously) report someone who parked in the wrong spot or didn't use the sidewalk and cut across the parking lot.The level of pettiness is surprising in this day and age and especially in a nuclear facility. You'd think employees would be focused on more important things - like manufacturing nuclear fuel.

Tattling #2. Some middle managers have no problem going to their directors when THEY'VE behaved inappropriately and "tattling" on you, which then goes to the HR director who then says he has an "opportunity" for you. Huh?

Tattling #3. And then there are the senior-level and middle managers who anonymously slip notes and documents under the president's door.

Other issues -

Be aware of the four queen bees who have created toxic work environments for their employees. No one mentions them. If you get this job, you know who they are immediately.

Attention to detail - This is big in the nuclear industry. At NFS, it's a huge focus and yet, in my experience, I question where the priorities lie. Follow your local news and in weeks, you will understand what I am referring to.

Lastly, ask how many presidents NFS has had in the last decade. Then ask why.

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