Ryan Wood – Senior Human Resources Manager

  • Ryan Wood

Ryan Wood, Senior Human Resources Manager. Jefferson Lab photo/Emily Purdue

Veteran human resources manager, party emcee overseeing the newly formed Human Resources Division Partner (HRDP) group, Immigration and HR Outreach

Senior Human Resources Manager and weekend party DJ Ryan Wood is eager to beat the drums about what he thinks is Jefferson Lab’s most prized commodity: its people.

Our employees are the key to what the lab is doing,” Wood unequivocally states. “We have a staff of approximately 920 employees. We also provide support, as-needed, to our foreign national user community. 

Wood says he began his search for the perfect people-focused career while still a teenager.

“I knew early in high school that I had to do something where I work with people,” he explains.

Wood learned about the human resources field as a student at Old Dominion University and began his career as an entry-level recruiter for a privately owned, European-based company. 

“I enjoy people and learning about their backgrounds and culture,” he says. “I also wanted to continue to grow in my career and felt that I needed a fresh challenge in order to do that.”

Thus, after spending 20 years rising through the ranks in private industry, Wood joined the lab in August 2023 to support the lab-wide human resources restructuring initiative.

With growth comes change

“Previously, the lab’s human resources team included recruiters focused strictly on talent acquisition and generalists who were focused on employee relations,” Wood explains. “Now we have division partners—or HRDPs—and I’m part of this group.”

Wood’s position—senior human resources manager—is also one of a cadre of new positions on the lab’s approximately 30-person human resources and science education department.

In addition to the HRDP roles created with our new structure, my team also includes a recruiting coordinator, an outreach specialist, and an immigration administrator who supports international scientists,” he says of the growing group.

“Human resources can provide support that encompasses benefits, compensation, DEIA, science education, learning & development, compliance, human resources information systems, etc.,” Wood says. “For me, I’m focused on talent acquisition, strengthening the employee relations connections, creating stronger partnerships with line management and staff to support staffing plans as well as identifying ways to connect the lab’s mission to our people. Another initiative is for me and the team to be more visible around the campus and get to learn more about the great people that work in various positions across the lab and how we can come together to make the lab an even better place to work.  Within these pillars, I provide our team with support, guidance and counseling.

Currently, the big focus remains on acquiring talent—especially for positions related to science and technology: engineers, physicists, computer scientists and computer engineers. We maintain about 60 to 70 openings at any time, and growth is expected with the new high-performance data center facility.”

Good-times coordinator

When he is not providing support at the lab, Wood maintains an active social life and takes regular camping trips with his wife of 19 years and their two children—a teen daughter and soon-to-be-teen son.

“I like to travel, but I’m 6-feet, five-inches tall, so I have to consider my comfort,” he laughs. “As a family, we go on five-to-seven camping trips a year. My wife and I started with tent camping soon after being married and continued when the kids were little. Then our camping supplies kept growing, so we bought a pop-up camper about six years ago. We liked that until it got tight for space and we upgraded a travel trailer. With the kids growing, we upgraded again and got a 28-foot, pull-behind camper, and we love to take that to near the Blue Ridge Mountains and down to Hatteras.”

As Wood acknowledges, with growth comes change.

“I also love sports,” Wood says, citing golf as one of his biggest hobbies for which he earns his greens fees spending allowance by working a handful of times a year as DJ RU—the game-loving, crowd-energizing party emcee.

“I’ve always loved music, so being a DJ is more of a fun hobby to get golf money and stay in good graces with my banker at home,” Wood laughs. “But working with people and continuing my career in Human Resources remains my passion.”

Wood loves being with his family and also makes time each week to focus on his friendship with his wife, who he describes as having an identical Meyers-Briggs personality categorization, except for being on the opposite end of the introvert-extrovert spectrum.

“My wife and I have gotten into bowling,” Wood shares. “I’m not great, but we’re on a team with two other couples that we are friends with in a social networking league. We are known as the fun team that everyone likes to play. Our team name is The Britney Spares and we laugh and always have just great time.”

“I like to stay busy,” Wood says. “My wife always says that there’s very rarely a place we go where I don’t know someone. With my family, it often happens that we will find people we just met and we will become fast friends.”

By Carrie Rogers 


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

DOE’s 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 https://energy.gov/science.