President and Project Manager for Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC
Bruce Covert, President and Project Manager for Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, has more than 30 years of experience in the management and operation of nuclear and other high-hazard facilities for the DOE and the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
His expertise envelops every aspect of the nuclear facility life-cycle, from design and construction to start-up, operations, decommissioning, deactivation, decontamination and demolition. Prior to joining WIPP in June 2017, he served as AECOM group vice president and project director for waste management projects for Dounreay Site Restoration Limited in the U.K. He was responsible for safe delivery of the Waste Project and the Shaft & Silo Project at Dounreay, including characterization, transportation, storage and disposal, along with treatment of low-level and intermediate-level waste from the site’s decommissioning program.
Prior to that, he served as Environmental, Safety, Health & Quality project director for Washington Closure Hanford (WCH), where he led development of a “best-in-class” contractor assurance system program that yielded outstanding safety, cost and schedule performance. He also managed the regulatory relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency and Washington State Department of Ecology to allow site closure of the 220-square-mile River Corridor. As the WCH project director for waste operations, he managed recovery of the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility.
He holds a master’s degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University and a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology from State University College at Buffalo. He is a Project Management Professional and a Certified Safety Professional.
Chief Operating Officer
Gene Balsmeier oversees site and operations compliance and day-to-day leadership of all activities at the WIPP site. That includes receipt and emplacement of transuranic waste in the WIPP underground; maintaining existing and future underground storage areas; and compliance with the Documented Safety Analysis and environmental permits in an effort to ensure that workers, the public and the environment are protected during operational activities.
Balsmeier’s career has spanned more than 47 years, including 27 in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear propulsion program and 20 at Department of Energy facilities. He served on three nuclear submarines and served as lead crew chief of the USS Enterprise’s prototype land-based reactor used to train Navy nuclear crews. Later, as a project manager, he oversaw the $1.2 billion refueling of the eight-reactor Enterprise, the nation’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Prior to WIPP, Balsmeier held multiple positions of increasing responsibility at the Idaho Cleanup Project, the Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho, and at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technical Site. His duties included positions in Environmental Safety & Health, Quality Assurance, Operations, Maintenance, and Project Management. The activities ranged from power plant operations and maintenance to spent fuel handling and storage, radiological hot cell operations and maintenance, and the exhumation of plutonium-contaminated waste. Balsmeier graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from University of the State of New York and earned engineer qualifications as a naval reactor technical assistant.Chief of Staff
Kevin Donovan, Programs and Contract Execution for Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, has more than 30 years of experience in technical and business problem solving, customer service, strategic planning/analysis and implementation, business innovation, team building and leadership, employee and management development, multi-level and multi-discipline internal and external communications, and marketing.
Prior to joining WIPP, he was program manager for AECOM’s support contracts at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, where he led an organization of more than 400 employees and subcontractors providing services to R&D, site operations and program management. He had previously served as Director of Marketing and Planning for the Energy and Construction Division.
Additionally, he served in a variety of capacities at WIPP (1988-2003), including manager of Environment, Safety and Health; Permitting; and Program Integration. He also had leadership roles in organizations supporting waste generator site readiness, which evolved into the National TRU Program. Donovan holds a master of science degree in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University and a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.