Dr. Kim Budil ’88, ’94 Named Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

uc davis chemical engineering alumni kim budil lawrence livermore national lab llnl
Dr. Kim Budil, M.S. '88, Ph.D. '94 speaks at the 2019 College of Engineering Alumni Celebration after receiving a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal (DEAM). Photo: Reeta Asmai/UC Davis.

UC Davis engineering alumna Kim Budil, M.S. ’88, Ph.D. ’94 was named the 13th director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the first woman director in the lab’s 69-year history.

As lab director, she will be responsible for overseeing all programs and setting and implementing the lab’s strategic vision, goals and objectives. She will also become president of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) and serve as the lab’s highest liaison with the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of California Office of the President, the LLNS Board of Governors and other external agencies and organizations. She begins her role on March 2.

“I am deeply honored to take on the role of laboratory director,” Budil said in a LLNL press release. “The lab team has demonstrated time and again its resilience and commitment to our mission of service to the nation, and I look forward to working with all of my colleagues … to ensure that this incredible institution continues to serve through outstanding science and technology.”

At the UC Davis College of Engineering, Budil received her M.S. and Ph.D. in applied science in 1988 and 1994, respectively. At a time when there were fewer women in engineering, she was inspired by her mentor, chemical engineering professor emeritus Ann Orel, who instilled in her the confidence she’s needed to succeed ever since.

“Because of my UC Davis education, I gained the perseverance to keep going when things look bleak and understand the benefits of immersing yourself in an environment with people who are excellent, and often more skilled than you,” she said.

Budil first visited LLNL as a master’s student at UC Davis while working in laser programs. After completing her Ph.D., she joined the lab as a postdoctoral scholar in the Weapons and Complex Integration program.

Since then, she has held a variety of jobs in Weapons and Complex Integration, Global Security and the National Ignition Facility, as well as Physical and Life Sciences. She also founded the lab’s nuclear counterterrorism program. Most recently, she served as principal associate director of Weapons and Complex Integration, where she led the lab’s nuclear weapons program.

She has also served as Vice President for National Laboratories at the UC Office of the President since 2014, where she has helped develop strategic partnerships between the 10 UC campuses and LLNL, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. She also briefly served as a senior advisor to the Under Secretary for Science in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Budil received the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal (DEAM) in 2019 in honor of her achievements.