I Am ORS Winter 2023

Chris Gaines


Chris Gaines has been a member of the NIH family for over 30 years.  He is a native Washingtonian and attended the University of the District of Columbia as well as receiving his graduate level education at Walden University.  He serves as the Program Manager that oversees fitness and well-being in the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services.  This includes oversight of the fitness centers, well-being initiatives, special events, and campaigns.  His favorite project has been the 5K run, an event that has taken place on the Bethesda campus for the last 14 years.  Every June, around 1300 employees on the campus actively participate in a 5K run.

“The thing that I enjoy the most about ORS beyond the passionate employees that work in ORS is that we touch all of the employees at NIH during the course of their workday. It's a very true statement from parking, to shuttle, to food services, and all the other services in ORS.  If you are on the NIH campus our services do touch every employee at NIH."

One of the proudest moments of his career was when his team partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Occupational Health and Safety bringing the first international symposium on total worker health to the NIH.  It was an event that stretched across all the federal sectors and received international accolades as well.

If Chris wasn't with ORS, he believes that he would be teaching.  He really likes the idea of giving back to those in the community and making a positive impact with exemplary outcomes.  He's motivated by how much he enjoys what he does professionally. 

“I'm one of the few individuals that you will encounter who will openly and unabashedly tell you how much that I love my job, how much that I love what I do.  So, my motivation every morning is getting up to do this job."

When he has a moment for leisure he enjoys working out at the gym, playing golf, and spending time with his daughter.


​​Seth Cooley

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Seth Cooley graduated from Kent State University with a degree in biology and now serves as an industrial hygienist for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOHS). He provides technical assistance and support to the scientific research taking place at the Rocky Mountain Labs location in Montana.  One of his most ambitious projects began in May of 2020.  At the time, it was the beginning of the pandemic.  There wasn't a vaccine and public insight about COVID-19 was still very limited.  Seth was tasked to support DOHS by helping to construct an asymptomatic test center.  It was his responsibility to build and manage the clinic.  This included ensuring that inventory was always stocked and that all test samples were delivered to the Bethesda Clinical Center within the three-day window of analysis. This clinic was completely staffed by volunteers from Rocky Mountain Labs.  For 100 weeks this clinic would be in operation, administering over 7000 tests. 

What he likes most about ORS is the opportunity for collaboration.  “Members of ORS are willing to help with whatever your project is. People will drop everything and go out of their way to help you achieve goals for a specific mission."

His proudest career moment is when he supported the hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico in 2017. “I deployed to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Michelle. Our part of the mission was to restore power and water. The resiliency of the Puerto Rican people was amazing to witness. Some had not had power or water five months after the storm.  It was a very demanding task but rewarding because we knew we were supporting a great mission. And I cannot give the team that I was a part of enough credit either because, it's not one person, even if it's just you doing the job. It's not just you, right. There's always a team backing you up."  

If Seth wasn't working in ORS, he believes he'd work in a field that supports different communities.  “I'm super lucky because I quickly figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up, which oddly enough was an industrial hygienist."

Seth likes that he's also been a part of many worthwhile missions with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and the Army Corps of Engineers.

When Seth isn't working you can catch him on a hike or outdoors fishing. 


Lekia Ross

Lekia Ross is a security engineer originally from Detroit, Michigan.  She joined the ORS team in 2016 and currently works for the Division of Physical Security Management (DPSM).  In her role she works to ensure that current and emerging threats are managed and taken care of on all NIH leased and owned properties.  As an engineer she's on the team that spearheads current and new initiatives when it comes to security such as video surveillance systems, access control, perimeter security intrusion detection system, and other physical security systems.

Her favorite project has been the upgrading of the video surveillance systems on the campus.  Her team had the task of replacing the decade old analog cameras with more current IP cameras on the campus as well as upgraded the background software and systems that supports those cameras. 

“It's been a long ongoing project, but it's been very rewarding because I'm able to pull from my expertise.  I'm able to design and layout.  I've also worked with vendors and upper management in this project."

What she likes about ORS is that everyone is friendly and open to hearing and implementing new ideas.  It creates a space where people receive the opportunity to become innovate and enhance current practices and traditions.

The proudest moment of her career would be when she received a US patent for her thesis work.  At the time she was working for General Motors and had supported the company with a mapping device that she engineered.  This was all before she had even received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. 

Lekia would still work in engineering if she wasn't a part of the ORS team. She loves what she does and enjoys the challenge of thinking outside the box constructively while introducing new ideas and concepts within her work.  She's motivated by her husband and two boys.  As a parent she loves to construct and build LEGO structures with her sons.

Outside of work she enjoys family time and trying different herbal teas.  ​​



On December 5, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security announced an extension of the REAL ID full enforcement deadline to May 7, 2025. Learn more about the REAL ID Extension.​

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