Press release

Battelle Honors Top Scientist and Longtime National Lab Executive at Annual Celebration of Solvers Event

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Wesley Pirkle, a senior research scientist at Battelle, has been named
Inventor of the Year for his significant contributions to several key
security programs. Ron Townsend, executive vice president for laboratory
operations, was given the CEO Award to honor his leadership of
Battelle’s business of managing national laboratories for the U.S.
Department of Energy
and Department
of Homeland Security
for 10 years. He capped off 2018 by leading
Battelle’s successful win of the largest national lab contract award in
its organization’s history—Los
Alamos National Lab

Pirkle holds three patents and has technical expertise in acoustics,
ultrasonics, device physics and X-ray physics. At Battelle for 15 years,
the physicist was instrumental in developing Battelle’s SiteGuard
Active Shooter Response
system to mitigate mass shootings, and the LS10
bottle scanner
, which is used to detect explosives in liquids so
people can carry liquids, gels and aerosols through security checkpoints
in places such as airports in Australia, the UK and Europe.

These technologies have developed successfully from concept to

“Wes’ inventions are strong examples of technologies that are deployed
for the good of society and we applaud him for that,” said Battelle
President and CEO Lou Von Thaer. “His work is a great example of the
efforts that are put forth every day by scientists and researchers at

The CEO Award is intended to recognize an individual who has made
extraordinary contributions to advancing Battelle’s mission, comparable
to a lifetime achievement award. Townsend oversees Battelle’s national
lab portfolio that includes more than 28,000 lab staff and total annual
R&D budgets of more than $7 billion.

Townsend’s leadership on the fiercely competitive effort to win the
contract to manage Los Alamos led to the award of a 10-year, $25 billion
contract. Under Townsend’s watch, Battelle has consistently achieved
outstanding lab management evaluations which reflect Battelle’s
commitment to deliver mission outcomes and perform with distinction.

“Ron’s numerous accomplishments have resulted in significant and lasting
impacts on Battelle as well as for our country,” Von Thaer said. “His
integrity shines through in both his leadership style and his
personality and he genuinely cares about the success of all employees.
He truly exemplifies the Battelle values of unity, creativity,
collaboration, excellence and appreciation.”

About Battelle

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to
solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national
laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and
development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical
services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in
Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle makes the world
better by commercializing technology, giving back to our communities,
and supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
education. For more information, visit

Media Contacts

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or at
or contact T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or at