How Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory organizes global conferences

Learn how Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory uses Smartsheet to track approvals, budget, reimbursements, and more when sending more than 3,000 scientists to conferences every year.

Avg. read time: 2 min


  • Government

Organization Size

  • Large (2000 - 9999)


  • North America

"Many departments across Berkeley Lab have used Smartsheet to coordinate different processes and projects for years. I thought it would fit our needs, too, because Excel wasn’t collaborative enough and Google Sheets lacked the control we needed. Smartsheet is a perfect mix of flexibility and control."

Tom Gallant

Senior Administrative Supervisor, Physical Sciences Divisions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) is a Department of Energy Office of Science lab managed by the University of California. It employs more than 3,200 scientists and engineers who conduct unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines, such as nuclear energy and macromolecular imaging. These scientists attend conferences every year that require multi-tiered authorization processes, per diem restrictions, travel guidelines, costing estimates, and reimbursement policies. It’s a complex and tricky process to navigate. 

LBL needed a streamlined way to track conference requests and approvals, budgets, and conference attendance to keep track of scientists when they’re off the grid. Smartsheet addressed all of their needs and more.

To collect conference requests and high-level details, LBL used Smartsheet’s centralized repository. 

“All pertinent information is required before we start the approval process,” says Tom Gallant, Senior Administrative Supervisor, Physical Sciences divisions. “Smartsheet gives us the control and guide rails to communicate what we need.”

LBL also needed a way to handle conference budgets, and Smartsheet’s budget tracking and estimating solution solved the problem.

“We use drop-down list columns and formulas to calculate cost estimates based on the number of attendees or refreshments they’d like at the event,” says Gallant. “We can create a mock budget in minutes versus hours which helps us make faster, better decisions. We also use Smartsheet to keep track of conference expenses and categorize them as allowable or non-allowable expenses. It provides a level of transparency and consistency we’ve never had before.” 

Finally, LBL used Smartsheet’s single source of truth to process management and approvals, tracking who goes where, when and how. 

“In our divisions, everything is now logged in Smartsheet – the discussions, the approval status, the costs associated,” says Gallant. “With one place to track this information, instead of 50 different Excel files, we are confident it’s up to date.”

Before Smartsheet, LBL employees were sending Excel files around in email and details were getting lost in the shuffle. Smartsheet provided a better way to manage the conference registration process and head off issues before they could happen.