Retirement Bio: Nuclear Waste Management

Laurie Ford, PhD in Operations Research engineering, has completed her 35-year career as a management and organization change consultant with business, government, and association clients throughout the United States – including the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Lab, China Lake Naval Air Center, NASA and Intel.

Laurie was also a speaker and a session host for 9 years with the (nuclear) Waste Management Symposia. Most recently, she served as a Senior Fellow for the US Nuclear Industry Council for three years, facilitating Decommissioning and Transportation Task Forces and other groups as needed. Laurie’s primary professional interest as a retiree is applying the principles of systems management and performance to the nuclear fuel cycle, improving nuclear safety and sustainability as well as contributing to energy use for climate change.

She is also an author and co-author (with her husband, a management professor) of articles published in the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, and Organizational Dynamics. In addition, she is co-author of an award-winning book, The Four Conversations: Daily Communication that Gets Results.  Other articles can be found at her website,

Career Bio: Management & Change Management Consulting

Laurie Ford, PhD combined her education in Cognitive Psychology and Operations Research Engineering to design and deploy effective methods of change implementation and management for business, government, and non-profit organizations in the US and Europe.  Laurie is now retired from management consulting, and her husband, Jeffrey Ford, is now retired from his management professorship at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Together they co-authored The Four Conversations book and other publications  in academic and practitioner publications.

She has blended fundamental communication principles from her Social Sciences background with systems management principles of Engineering to provide a new and effective approach for organization change and management to:

  • Clarify the goals, measures and timelines for intended results and outcomes;
  • Establish performance networks of individuals and groups, both inside and outside of the organization by facilitating agreements for the delivery of resources and results to support goal accomplishment; and
  • Implement practices for tracking, reporting and updating results “scoreboards” by using productive communication methods in team meetings (see Management 1-2-3).


Ph.D., Operations Research, 1975, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Network, circuit, and system design and analysis; integrated systems and process networks.

M.S.I.E., Industrial Engineering, 1973, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Human factors engineering and the design of human-machine systems.

B.A., Psychology, 1970, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Human learning, understanding, and communication; social sciences and philosophy.


And now… I’m writing, occasionally turning the “lessons learned” from my management consulting career into blogposts and articles. I plan to keep posting them on this website and making them available (at no charge) to practicing managers as well as management consultants, coaches and trainers.   And… I have been turning some of those “lessons learned” into looking at the practices of the nuclear power industry, including its biggest problem – nuclear waste management. I’m committed to the safe and permanent disposition of radioactive wastes from nuclear power facilities – and that will require management. Every girl needs a hobby, right?

2018 – 2021. I was designated a Senior Fellow with the US Nuclear Industry Council, and facilitated meetings and documentation for the Council’s Decommissioning Task Force, their Back End Working Group and their Strategic Initiatives team. A great group of people working to help the nuclear industry be successful and support climate change initiatives as well.

2013 – 2018. After a career of consulting with defense, energy, utilities, and business organizations, I expanded my focus to include producing more written materials (books, articles, and learning materials) to support executives and other managers in effective management and change implementation.

1989 – 2013. Organization change and management design Consultant and Facilitator with Associations, Businesses, Industry, and Service Organizations, and Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies. Workshop and seminar leader for in-house and Conference programs on change leadership, management, and accountability implementation. Author of change management books and professional and trade journal articles for practicing managers.

2002 – 2009: Columbus Department of Utilities, developing: Communication requirements and agreements between groups; Standard operating procedures; and Workflows, measures and internal communications to support individual and group performance and asset management. Including Executive Team, Operations Managers (running 100-200-person sub-organizations) and Unit Managers, Supervisors, and Technical Specialists.

  • 1993-1995: Intel Corporation. With internal consultants, fabrication plants, and administrative offices, develop methods that support coordination within and between teams, departments, and divisions.
  • 1992-1994: Ohio State Research Foundation. With senior executives, managers and staff to integrate objectives, streamline communications and clarify accountabilities.

And a partial listing of other clients from 1992 to 2017 includes:

  • Business/Industry – Escada, Munich Germany (Senior Executive Retreats); Intel Corporation, Portland OR; Phoenix AZ; Albuquerque NM; Santa Clara CA (Consulting projects and programs) ; Martin Marietta Corporation, Oak Ridge Tennessee (Consulting projects) ; Mead Fine Paper, Chillicothe Ohio (Consulting projects and programs) /
  • Associations – American College of Emergency Physicians, Central Ohio (Retreats); Ohio Hospital Association, Columbus, Ohio (Consulting projects and retreats); Ohio State Medical Association, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects).
  • Government Agencies – US Naval Air Center, China Lake and Pt. Mugu; Indian Health Service, Tempe AZ (Programs); NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland (Consulting projects); US Department of Energy, Germantown Maryland (Consulting projects); US Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Tennessee (Consulting projects); Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (Consulting project); Ohio Department of Development, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects); Ohio Department of Human Services, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects); Columbus Department of Public Utilities (Consulting projects and retreats); Columbus Mayor’s Office (Programs).

1985 – 1988. Consulting w/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center managers on management planning, design, and coordination.

1981 – 1984. Consulting w/Jaehne Associates on security feasibility studies with the US Department of Energy’s Military Applications Division at Germantown DOE offices and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

I’ve done a few outrageous things. For example:

1972 – 1976. – Graduated with the MSIE and PhD degrees mentioned above, then took 9 months to backpack around the world – Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia for 3 months; Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Burma (now Myanmar) for 3 months; and India, Nepal and Kashmir for 3 months.

1965 – 1972. – Put myself through college and graduated with that BA mentioned above, and got a job as a computer programmer. Then I motorcycled (solo) across the US on a six-week break before returning to SUNY Buffalo for graduate studies in the School of Engineering.

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