Jermery JenkinsBy Diana Anderson • February 28, 2013
Jermery Jenkins is an Assistant Facility Manager in Argonne’s Nuclear Waste Management division. Jenkins was recognized in 2012 with Argonne’s Lifesaving Award for using CPR to save a woman’s life in a restaurant.
What kind of work do you do at Argonne?
I'm an Assistant Facility Manager for Building 306, which is a nuclear facility. I provide support for the Nuclear Waste Management (NWM) division, ensuring that work's been conducted safely and compliantly to meet all safety bases. I coordinate maintenance support, and I work with Waste Management Operations to ship radioactive material and waste. One project I’m working on involves legacy waste cleanup. We have scientists and coordinators involved with the work — it’s a big team. We characterize waste and dispose of it properly. The safety aspects here are great — we're safe with all that we do, and I really like that part of it. My job is to make sure that employees and the environment stay safe and to uphold safety and compliance at the highest standards.
What attracted you to work at Argonne?
It was an opportunity to use my previous skills and also work with some of the most intelligent people I’ve worked with in my life. Prior to Argonne, I worked in waste management for Caterpillar. Waste water treatment management was part of my job there. I’ve been at Argonne for three years now, and I like it very much. I work with brilliant folks, and I learn new things each day.
What do you like most about your job?
I like working with really good people and accomplishing challenging tasks on a daily basis. I like working in a team environment. The mentors I've had here — both formal and informal — have been outstanding, and I’ve received lots of on-the-job training.
How has your experience been with Argonne’s training resources?
Well, I've had a lot of training here at Argonne. While out to lunch with a colleague one day, I was able to use the CPR training I received from the Argonne Fire Department. A woman in the restaurant was having difficulty swallowing food. I saw her stand up and give the choke sign. Everyone just sat there stunned, and immediately my training from Argonne kicked in. I gave three abdominal thrusts and the food was dislodged from the woman’s throat. Without that training from Argonne, I'm not sure if I would have been confident enough to try to do something like that. I might have slapped her on the back, but the thrusts… Maybe without that training, I might not have saved that lady's life. It makes me feel great that I could save someone.
Someone told the Argonne Fire Department about what happened. They presented me with a Lifesaving Award. The plaque proudly sits over my fireplace mantel now. It’s a reminder of how important it is to help folks out.
What advice would you give to students?
Put nothing above your faith and family. Your education is also very important — to you, as well as to the country. We need the brightest stars here to keep up with technology, people and countries overseas. The batteries that we're working on here — the car batteries, the “green” technologies that we're producing and the pollution that we're cutting back on — these are amazing strides forward. A good education will enable today’s students to discover and create new technologies in the future.