In Memoriam: Frank Crescenzo
November 14, 2022
Frank Crescenzo at Brookhaven Lab's 70th anniversary celebration in 2017.
Frank Crescenzo, a former Brookhaven Site Office (BHSO) manager who facilitated major projects in support of science along with safe, secure, and effective operations at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, died on Aug. 5, 2022. He was 64.
BHSO administers the prime contract between DOE and Brookhaven Science Associates—the management and operations contractor of Brookhaven Lab. Crescenzo joined BHSO as a deputy manager in 1991 and became manager in 2012.
“It was always a pleasure working with Frank,” Brookhaven Laboratory Director Doon Gibbs said. “He had an unwavering commitment to the success of the Laboratory, and an unusual ability to see and do the right things to get there—to the benefit of all. He was constructive and empathetic with a wonderful sense of humor. We miss him.”
Crescenzo was a key leader in the effort to build the National Synchrotron Light Source-II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility that produces intense beams of light—from infrared to hard x-rays— that reveal the electronic, chemical, atomic structure, and function of materials.
Then-Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz, right, recognized Crescenzo as Federal Project Director of the Year for 2015 for his contributions to the successful NSLS-II construction project.
The on-time, under-budget project was completed in March 2015 and received multiple awards, including the DOE’s Secretary's Honor Award and Award of Excellence, as well as the Engineering News Record's national "Best of the Best Higher Education/Research Project" award, and the Project Management Institute’s Project of the Year Award. Then-Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz named Crescenzo the 2015 Federal Project Director of the Year for his exceptional leadership and dedication to the project.
Today, NSLS-II supports more than 1,700 international researchers each year who study the chemical changes within batteries under working conditions, uncover the motion of nanomaterials in plants, investigate the changes of 3D printed materials, and much more.
“Frank was very supportive of the Lab and NSLS-II,” said Mike Bebon, senior advisor to NSLS-II director John Hill and former Brookhaven Lab Deputy Director for Operations. “He was protective of the Lab but also held it to a high standard. He was professional and highly effective in his job as federal project director and as the DOE site manager. He would talk candidly and honestly with you—like you were talking with a friend.
Crescenzo led BHSO during the construction of the Interdisciplinary Science Building for energy research, which opened in 2013. In 2015, his office also helped complete a major energy efficiency upgrade at the Lab under a $14.85 million Utility Energy Service Contract with National Grid and Siemens.
In a pilot approach to managing DOE site offices, Crescenzo and his BHSO team for a time led the site office at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory while several projects and upgrades there were underway.
“Following in the footsteps of Frank Crescenzo is not an easy task,” said current BHSO manager Bob Gordon. “But the best compliment to a person is emulation. His style of managing, befriending, and leading are things I looked up to Frank for. These are the very qualities I saw him put into practice daily and so unassumingly, and these are the qualities I try to remember and practice. He was real, he was honest, he was funny, and he is sorely missed. He made an enduring mark on the Lab, the community, and the people he came in contact with.”
He enjoyed connecting with people, and shared his love of golf with colleagues at Brookhaven, often inviting them to outings that brought together his friends from inside and outside the Lab.
“What I really admired about Frank early on was how welcoming he was, and he always had a sense of humor to lighten the load, especially when we were facing challenges together” said Jack Anderson, Deputy Director for Operations. “As Site Office Manager, he saw us as partners. We had a shared purpose and he always advocated for the Laboratory.”
Crescenzo earned a bachelor's in engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 1980 and a law degree from the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1992. Before his long DOE career, he started out as a U.S. Navy civilian test engineer on nuclear submarines undergoing overhauls. He also worked for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from 1984 to 1990 and was the NRC’s senior resident inspector at the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant on Long Island and the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, N.Y.
Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.
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2022-20930 | INT/EXT | Newsroom