Phil Schuetz, a former project manager for the multi-billion dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, died Saturday, officials said.
No formal funeral service will be held, but at Schuetz’s request, a celebration of life is being planned for September, Y-12 officials said.
“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Phil Schuetz,” UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg said in a Monday statement. “I was honored to work with him for many years at three different sites. He set the example of professionalism for us all with an incredible work ethic and his infectious spirit. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Schuetz came to Y‑12 in 2008 as UPF project manager. He was part of the B&W Y-12 team and served as UPF project manager until 2011. He returned in 2012 as the manager of special projects and reviews.
Schuetz, who had lived in west Knoxville and is survived by a wife and son, had battled pancreatic cancer. The Uranium Processing Facility team had honored him by raising money for the University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute’s Campaign for Hope and having a pink dogwood planted at Y-12.
“Phil Schuetz was a talented engineer, a gifted leader, and a remarkable person,” said Carl Strock, B&W Y-12 UPF project director. “He made major contributions to many large and complex engineering projects throughout his career, significantly at Y-12 where he was project manager for the Uranium Processing Facility. He had very high standards, but he made work fun for his teammates. He was also very active in the local community, especially in advocating for investment in cancer research. He will be deeply missed both as a professional and a person.”
The UPF team raised more than $2,600 in March for the UT Cancer Institute’s Campaign of Hope, according to an article published in June on the Y-12 website. The Campaign of Hope focuses on creating better facilities, better care, and more opportunities for everyone who is touched by cancer. Two tiles honoring Schuetz are on the “Wall of Hope” that is located in the lobby of the new Cancer Institute.
Honoring Schuetz didn’t—and doesn’t—stop there, the story said. A pink dogwood tree was planted at the overlook across from the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. Schuetz and the UPF team wanted employees to “enjoy watching the dogwood grow as we watch UPF grow.”
Schuetz had almost four decades of experience in project management, project engineering, and design, including several engineering-procurement-construction projects for both commercial and government entities. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at the University of Illinois and was a licensed professional engineer in California.
Schuetz joined Bechtel Power Corp. in San Francisco in 1974 and had worked on projects in California, South Carolina, Washington, New Mexico, and Tennessee.