Richland, WA,
13:51 PM

McCain Recognized for Vit Plant Leadership

Bechtel announced that Valerie McCain, the late project manager at the Vit Plant, was honored as a Top 25 Newsmaker for 2023 by Engineering News-Record magazine at an event in New York City last week.

McCain, who passed away after a short illness earlier this year, was honored for leading the Vit Plant team to achieve key milestones in building a vitrification complex to clean up liquid nuclear waste remaining from the World War II Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

“Valerie was highly respected, exemplified our One Hanford spirit, and consistently inspired all who were lucky enough to serve with her,” said Brian Vance, EM Office of River Protection (ORP) and Richland Operations Office manager. “She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered for her profound effect on our team and our important work.”

Receiving the award on McCain’s behalf, Rick Holmes, Vit Plant site director, talked about her focus on the team and key partnerships: “If Valerie was here to accept this award, she would have talked about the people, and the partnerships with our customer, other contractors, and our Tri Cities community. She would have talked about the pride we have in delivering the project as important as the Vit Plant.”

Chosen annually by the editors of Engineering News-Record, the Top 25 Newsmakers are construction industry leaders recognized for positive contributions to their industry and communities.

McCain joined Bechtel in 1990, starting as an environmental scientist and cost engineer, and managed projects such as the Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the modernization of a 60-year-old aluminum smelter in Canada. Since joining WTP in October 2018, McCain led the team of 2,250 employees in completing all construction for the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste facility; transitioning to commissioning and ramping up the commissioning workforce; shifting to a 24/7 operational culture; and managing through the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to advance the mission.

Bechtel leadership has worked with Val’s family and formed a memorial fund with the Three Rivers Community Foundation. The fund will establish scholarships and/or be distributed to nonprofits with missions that were important to Val, according to her family’s wishes. Donations can be made online at 3 Rivers Community Foundation. During the online process, donors can choose to leave a remembrance note that will be shared with her family. 

About Bechtel National Inc.:

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers’ objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place. Bechtel serves the Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations.