Carolyn Zerkle Named Deputy Director Of Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Carolyn Zerkle is leaving Los Alamos National Laboratory to become the Deputy Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Vice President of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. Photo Courtesy LLNL


Carolyn Zerkle has been selected as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s deputy director and vice president of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, Lab Director Kim Budil announced Monday. Her appointment is effective Sept. 12, 2022.

As deputy director, Zerkle will participate in the day-to-day management of the Laboratory, including interfacing with the Livermore Field Office (LFO), acting as director in Budil’s absence and serving as a key member of the Laboratory’s senior management staff, providing executive-level guidance and direction. She will oversee key institutional priorities, including safe and successful operations and vital infrastructure to support the delivery of all program commitments and deliverables; recruitment and retention of a quality workforce in the operations areas of the Laboratory; and efficient business and operational approaches. 

“Over the course of her career, Carolyn has demonstrated strong project management skills and extensive operational experience across a diverse range of assignments,” Budil said. “Her experience will be an exceptional asset to LLNL, and I look forward to welcoming her to the senior management team.”

Zerkle also will have responsibility for fostering successful relationships among the Laboratory, the LLNS Board of Governors and partners, the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), the Livermore Field Office, other national laboratories, industry and the local community.

Prior to her selection as deputy director, Zerkle served as senior director for Project Execution in the Plutonium Infrastructure Directorate in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) Weapons Program. In this role, she oversaw the execution and integration efforts for a $8 billion portfolio of nuclear construction and equipment installation in support of LANL’s pit manufacturing mission. She was the lead interface with NNSA for this portfolio. 

Since April 2020, she was the facilitator for the COVID-19 Task Force and served as one of LANL’s emergency directors. She has also functioned as the Emergency Management program/project director and Continuity of Operations program director. Prior to those assignments, she performed the responsibilities of Laboratory executive director and associate director for Business Innovation.

Zerkle previously served as the deputy associate director of Nuclear and High Hazard Operations during LANL’s transition in 2006, supporting day-to-day leadership of a 300+ person organization, and as the deputy associate director of Administration, a 1,200+ person organization responsible for finance, procurement, human resources, prime contracts, information technology, business computing and packaging and transportation. She also has managed several large construction projects and programs at Los Alamos, including the Weapons Program Facilities and Construction budget ($730 million annual budget), the Los Alamos Weapons Program RTBF portfolio ($330 million annual) and FIRP program ($54 million annual), the Cerro Grande Rehabilitation Project ($342 million) and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building Nuclear Upgrades Project ($174 million).

Zerkle earned her undergraduate degree in architecture and civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her graduate degrees in architecture and business, focusing on nuclear construction project management, from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. She was the recipient of the 2009 New Mexico Governor’s Distinguished Performance Service award and has served on community boards in northern New Mexico.