Harold Conner (’68)

Category: Alumni Professional Achievement | Awards

2014 Alumni Professional Achievement Award Winner

A proud Volunteer, Harold Conner is officially retired but remains active as a consultant for Strata G, a local firm that supports US Department of Energy contracts across the United States. Before his retirement, he worked as senior advisor to the president at UCOR, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory partnership specializing in safe nuclear cleanup projects.

For more than 50 years, Conner has epitomized leadership, achievement, and accountability in supporting and maintaining our nation’s nuclear deterrent. He has served as deputy director and vice president of environmental management and enrichment facilities at Lockheed Martin gaseous diffusion plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Portsmouth, Ohio. He’s also worked as manager and vice president of the Oak Ridge site, chief operations officer at Idaho National Laboratory, director of enriched uranium operations at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, chief operations officer at the Savannah River site in South Carolina, and associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he served for several years before returning to Oak Ridge to accept his position at UCOR.

In 1968, Conner became UT’s first African American student to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He went on to earn an MS in chemical engineering from UT in 1978 and then a PhD in industrial and systems engineering and engineering management from the University of Alabama.

Conner has been lauded for his dedication to nuclear safety and serves as an advisor to multiple organizations. He has been elected a fellow of both the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Management. Since 2018, Conner has served as a member of UT’s Nuclear Engineering Board of Advisors and the board of directors at the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation. In collaboration with UCOR, the museum recently created the Dr. Harold T. Conner, Jr. Laboratory. The namesake laboratory honors his 52 years of dedicated service to US national security and is committed to the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, encouraging diversity and inclusion in STEM.

Conner proudly wears UT orange and rarely misses a football game, home or away. He and his wife, Joyce, have two sons, Tilton and Brian; a daughter-in-law, Sabrina; and a granddaughter, Jaya.