Los Alamos County seeks to hire a Broadband Manager. (Click the link to see the official posting.) While this website (blabnow.blog) and its author (Andy Fraser) don’t have any official standing or connection with Los Alamos County, I have been advocating for “Better Los Alamos Broadband” for a long time, and I hope that the job posting is evidence that we’ve been effective. I have written this page to encourage folks to apply for the position.
The Wikipedia article on Los Alamos begins with “Los Alamos is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States, that is recognized as the development and creation place of the atomic bomb—the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory [now referred to as LANL] during World War II.” The County was created in 1949 to support the security of what was a closed town and laboratory. The town was opened to people without badges in 1957, and in 1965 the federal government began selling houses and property to residents. In 1968 the citizens incorporated the County government.
LANL still dominates the County. LANL says it has 13,806 employees 35% of whom live in the County. The estimated 2019 population of the County was 19,369. LANL says that its annual budget is approximately $2.92 billion and that 66% of that is for weapons programs. Since testing of weapons ended in 1992 with the Divider Shot, LANL has been engaged in Science Based Stockpile Stewardship, in which modeling on some of the most advanced supercomputers plays a prominent role. (See the Wikipedia page here.)
LANL’s large budget enables it to attract a well educated talented staff with good salaries and a diverse set of challenges. Glassdoor says that the median postdoc salary at LANL is $88K while my son makes $66K as a postdoc at UC Santa Cruz where the cost of living is higher by more than a factor of 2 This summer US News ranked Los Alamos the healthiest county in the country. This US News article describes how good salaries, education, and access to great recreation leads to a healthy population.
In the past, cities relied on geographic and geologic resources for success. They were located at natural transportation hubs or where there was mineral wealth. Now cities’ most important resource is a talented educated population with a culture that supports collaboration. The wealth of those resources in Los Alamos is monopolized by LANL for now. Future progress of the population and of LANL too depends on diversifying the applications to which that wealth is applied. Connecting the County to 21st century technologies will be key to keeping it an intellectual/tech utopia.
So, please help us. If you are interested and qualified, apply for the Broadband Manager position. If you know someone else who might be, tell them about it. If you have advice, write a comment on our blog. While I would like to see the County hire someone who really knows the technology, I agree with my fellow advocate, Akkana Peck, who has written, “I don’t think we’re really looking for a hacker or tech person; we’re looking for someone who can organize, compare budgets, write grant applications, deal with the County Council and staff and generally get things moving.”