September 22, 2021
Dennis Mosser, physical security manager for the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was recently recognized among all U.S. Department of Energy security professionals as the 2020 Security Professional of the Year. Mosser’s recognition is part of DOE’s Outstanding Security Award Program, which recognizes employees who excel in the performance of their duties while providing security services, or support, to the Department’s protective missions.
In April 2020, Mosser had just been officially promoted to the position of physical security manager at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a challenging first year in this role, due to the unforeseen impacts of the pandemic and a maximum telework situation, Mosser has displayed exceptional leadership, initiative and ingenuity. He not only successfully stepped into a position of expanded authority and responsibility, but he capably leveraged existing security systems to account for personnel on site to meet reporting and COVID-19 protocols.
“With concerns about social distancing and on-site presence, Mosser found himself in a unique position to not only use the resources at his disposal, like the automated access control system, but also work collaboratively with IT to develop a tracking form and mapping site to control and track facility personnel access to ORAU-managed facilities, including those of ORISE,” said Tom Amidon, ORISE director of Safeguards and Security. “He did this to maintain established thresholds of on-site staffing to preserve the safety of the workplace, while also taking into account the specific needs of employees and contractors to perform their duties effectively.”
ORISE leadership has reported that no known infections between employees have occurred from on-site interactions, which is much to Mosser’s credit in ensuring adequate and safe physical space per employee per building and maintaining a maximum capacity overall. In support of achieving these positive outcomes, Mosser also led a major upgrade project during 2020, which involved the proposal, bid, selection, award and performance of a massive overhaul of the surveillance system, as well as a significant upgrade of the automated access control system.
While ensuring the physical security and access control for the entire organization, Mosser also successfully led his team of security officers during this challenging time. Despite staffing issues due to COVID-19 impacts, his team maintained coverage of three geographically separated sites. Their efforts resulted in no increased risk to security or adverse effect on safety.
Beyond his support for the organization, Mosser also displayed a keen sense of community when a local, neighboring Federal Credit Union was robbed. He coordinated with the local police department to review video surveillance footage. His review resulted in identification of the suspect’s vehicle and subsequent arrest of the suspect the same day of the crime.
“Mosser is a tremendous asset to the organization and has made significant and tangible developments in the protection of employee and contractor staff,” said Amidon. “His unwavering commitment to security has also greatly benefitted DOE and the local community, and we are proud that he has received this well-earned recognition, especially during an unprecedented year of challenges due to COVID-19.”
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asset that is dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research, and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews, and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environmental contamination.
ORISE is managed by ORAU, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, for DOE’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.osti.gov.