Executive Mosaic is honored to present Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle, as a recipient of the Wash100 Award, this year’s highest honor in all of government contracting (GovCon), for his leadership and innovation in COVID-19 research and development programs as well as his drive to assist in the pandemic’s relief efforts for first responders and others.
This marks the sixth overall Wash100 Award for Von Thaer and the second three-peat in his long federal career. For his 2020 Wash100 Award, Von Thaer was selected in that class for expanding the company’s revenue and influence in the sector through valuable contract awards, partnerships and important executive appointments.
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The coronavirus pandemic that started in early 2020 prompted Battelle to launch programs and provide emergency support to various organizations. One of the challenges that emerged at the onset of the pandemic was the shortage of N95 respirators.
In order to address the shortage facing frontline health care workers, Battelle sought and secured an emergency use authorization from the FDA for its CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System, which can decontaminate up to 80,000 respirator masks on a daily basis per system using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide or VPHP.
The nonprofit research and development organization’s CCDS can decontaminate the same respirator by up to 20 times without reducing the equipment’s performance.
“I want to thank the FDA team for their professionalism and help in authorizing the use of our technology at this critical moment for our nation,” said Von Thaer. “Everybody who has worked on this project shares the same goal of protecting first responders and healthcare workers who are at the front lines of the pandemic.”
For leading this effort, Von Thaer was named one of the recipients of the 2020 Columbus Smart 50 Awards, which recognize leaders who back initiatives that benefit smart cities projects.
Aside from the decontamination system, Battelle helped expedite the development of a coronavirus test. The nonprofit research and development company partnered with Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center to develop a diagnostic test for COVID-19 that the hospital intends to administer under an existing FDA certification.
“Battelle has decades of experience in infectious disease research and has worked with virtually all federal health and national security agencies to respond to emerging health threats,” said Von Thaer. “I am incredibly proud of the Battelle team, the speed at which it was able to work around the clock to quickly get this operational, and our collaboration with The Ohio State University.”
In a video interview posted in July last year, Von Thaer further discussed how Battelle supports the fight against COVID-19 through its various research and development programs.
As part of its pandemic relief efforts, Battelle donated $250,000 to food banks and food rescues in the country. The recipients were the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Central Ohio; Community Food Bank of New Jersey; Capital Area Food Bank in Washington D.C.; Maryland Food Bank in Aberdeen; and the Boulder Food Rescue in Colorado.
“As we rapidly research and develop tools and diagnostics to fight this virus, we’re going to financially support those among us who are at greatest risk. When the country has most needed us during our 90-year history, Battelle always has risen to the challenge, and this time will be no different,” said Von Thaer.
Battelle further advanced its efforts to provide emergency relief during the pandemic with the donation of $1 million to three central organizations in Ohio: YMCA of Central Ohio, Community Shelter Board and LifeCare Alliance (Meals on Wheels).
“It is well known that, in normal times, most of Battelle’s philanthropic efforts center around STEM education initiatives,” explained Von Thaer. “Given the impact that the pandemic is having on the health and well-being of our community, we turned to three trusted partners to understand the challenges they and their clients are facing so that Battelle could offer targeted support.”
When it comes to advancing science, technology, engineering and math education, Battelle announced a $1 million donation to the Washington State STEM Education Foundation to help unveil a regional STEM Nexus that will fund and develop experiential learning initiatives for underserved and underrepresented students in rural communities.
“It’s part of Battelle’s mission to help develop the next generation of scientists,” Von Thaer said. “We are proud of our long-standing presence in Richland and the Tri-City area, and even more proud of the global impact that we have on the health and safety of the world. We hope this gift contributes to future, fantastic scientific advances.”
The nonprofit company ended the calendar year 2020 with the announcement of a $3.8 billion contract awarded to a Battelle-led team by the Department of Energy to help manage the Savannah River National Laboratory. The Battelle Savannah River Alliance members are Clemson University, South Carolina State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, TechSource and Longenecker & Associates.
“We are honored by DOE’s decision to award the Savannah River National Laboratory management and operations contract to our team,” said Von Thaer. “We have the lab management experience to make a difference and we’re committed to ensuring the success of this important national resource.”
Executive Mosaic congratulates Lou Von Thaer and Battelle on the 2021 Wash100 Award selection. As a six-time Wash100 Award recipient, Von Thaer is one of the most decorated executives in the federal sector and his level of excellence helps drive our community into the future.