Going the extra mile to support the travel needs of ORISE participants Meet Don Jenkins

June 8, 2023

ORISE Travel Manager Don Jenkins

Don Jenkins

As a 43-year veteran of the travel industry, Don Jenkins brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role as project manager on the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Travel Central team.

Travel Central, a group within ORISE STEM Workforce Development, guides ORISE participants through the travel process, managing requests, responding to questions and processing reimbursements, among other responsibilities.

“The travel industry is in a constant state of change, and we have to keep up,” Jenkins says. “The most important part of my job is to provide exceptional service to our participants and try to make sure their travel experience goes smoothly.”

To help participants make sense of often-complex travel regulations and policies, Travel Central offers a variety of job aids, FAQs and other resources on its website.

“Our team has made tremendous strides over the last few years to keep our participants as informed as we possibly can with new, easy-to-follow job aids regarding travel,” he says. “We want to help them get the best travel experience possible without any unexpected hiccups.”

Jenkins joined ORISE in 2010 after a 30-year career in the travel industry. He got his start as a travel agent and agency owner and went on to hold account management roles in the airline business, working for SABENA, Swissair and Delta Air Lines.

“Don’s knowledge of — and experience in — the travel industry is simply remarkable,” says Mandy Basal, director of ORISE STEM Workforce Development. “What I find even more impressive is his passion and enthusiasm supporting participant travelers. Don goes the extra mile to be of service to participants to ensure they have a positive experience and are supported throughout the travel process, which can be daunting at times given all the federal rules and regulations.”

Now in his 13th year at ORISE, Jenkins values the connections he’s formed across the organization, and he’s particularly grateful for his colleagues on the Travel Central team.

“I am very blessed to work with a team of caring and knowledgeable people,” Jenkins says. “All are conscientious about the needs of our participants and have a desire to provide exceptional service. I am so proud to be a part of the Travel Central team and of the efforts we are making to better serve our travelers and fellow ORISE employees.”

In his free time, Jenkins is — naturally — an avid traveler himself. Over the years, he’s visited a range of countries, including his favorite destinations of Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Australia, to name a few, and he and his wife have taken around 40 cruises to the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Alaska.

"I have many stories about traveling and love to talk about the countries I have visited and the wonderful people I have had the chance to meet!” he says.

To learn more about the services provided by ORISE Travel Central, visit https://orise.orau.gov/travel-central or contact TravelCentral@orau.org

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
Director, Communications
Phone: 865.603.5142

Wendy West
Manager, Communications
Phone: 865.207.7953

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.