Conner is nationally acclaimed engineer
Harold Conner Jr. is quite the “Fellow” and has proven it twice during the last year.
The long-time Farragut resident was named a Fellow by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in November, and was awarded the same honor by the American Society for Engineer Management in 2017.
“To be named a fellow is the highest level of membership,” explained Conner, who is senior advisor to the office of the president of UCOR, lead cleanup subcontractor for the Department of Energy at East Tennessee Technology Park.
“Being named a Fellow also means you are well-known in the field, and have demonstrated many years of experience and achievements,” he added. “You must be nominated, then voted on by the (organizations’) board of directors.
“It is really an honor to be thought of highly by people I’ve worked for and with all these years.”
Conner was the first African- American student to enroll in engineering at the University of Tennessee-Martin, located in his hometown.
He further broke down racial barriers when he went on to UT-Knoxville, where he was the first African-American student to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering.
Conner is a veteran of many nuclear projects all over the country but actually began his career as a co-op student at the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, earning a full-time job at the facility following his graduation.
There, “he spent the next 33 years working in almost every facility at ETTP,” a press release stated, culminating in being named site manager at K-25, and later, vice president of Environmental Management and Enrichment Facilities by Lockheed Martin.
He has worked at many DOE sites, including those in Paducah, Kentucky, the Idaho National Laboratory, the Savannah River site in South Carolina and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Now he is right back at the former K-25 site, where he began his career so many years ago.
Conneralso has won numerous other awards and accolades in his field, such as the UT Knoxville Alumni Professional Achievement Award and the Secretary of Energy Award of Achievement, among many others.
He also is a member of the Advisory Board of the UT Nuclear Engineering Department, and works on the UT campus, lecturing and mentoring students in his field.
“You can’t get anything done alone,” Conner said. “I have been blessed with longevity in my field and working with wonderful people.
“I have been fortunate to have been one of those people who the Good Lord puts on this earth to get things done,” he added, noting that when he leaves his current post, he will “move on to the next project.”
Conner and his wife, Joyce, have lived in the Farragut community since 1972, and have two sons, Tilton and Brian, and one granddaughter.
“Nobody remembers anything else but how you made them feel,” he said.
“That is even more important.”