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Lab News -- June 10, 2005

May 27 , 2005

LabNews 06/10/2005PDF (650KB)

Director Tom Hunter announces Sandia reorganization; appoints three deputy directors, two new vice presidents

By Bill Murphy and Ken Frazier

Sandia’s new organizational structure, rolled out over the past 10 days at department-level meetings across the Labs, creates three deputy laboratory director positions, reduces by three the number of divisions (by consolidating centers along functional or mission-related lines), and has the MESA program office report directly to the laboratory director.

The restructuring represents an evolution of the existing structure more than a radical retooling.

As Labs Director Tom Hunter explained in a Lab News interview prior to the rollout, “In my talk to the managers and to the all-hands staff meeting [Lab News, May 27, soon after he became Laboratories Director], I talked about every step being a step forward. That’s what I hope we’ve done here. We’ve taken the foundation we’ve built with our current organizational structure and our SMU structure and we’ve tried to enhance it with this restructuring.”

Under the new structure, the three deputy directors are Joan Woodard, deputy for nuclear weapons; John Stichman, deputy for laboratory operations, program deployment, and implementation of common engineering practices; and Al Romig, deputy for integrated technology programs.

Integrated technology programs might be thought of as “everything else” not directly related to nuclear weapons — nonproliferation, military technologies, homeland security, and energy and infrastructure surety. Each deputy will head up an “affinity group,” made up of centers that share a common mission or operational focus.

“These affinity groups will be the way we consolidate roles across the laboratory,” Tom says.

Tom also announced the promotion of two Sandians to vice president, Rick Stulen and Steve Rottler.

The new organizational structure places a premium on consolidation. While divisions 9000, 14000, and 15000 go away, all their centersremain intact, but move to other divisions. In addition, several centers from remaining divisions also move to other divisions to better align with mission and functional requirements.

Thus, Science and Technology and Research Foundations Division 1000 picks up Center 6700 (Radiation Sciences), as well as Centers 9100 (Engineering Sciences), 9200 (Computation, Computers, and Math), and 9900 (Advanced Product Realization).

With the retirement of Pace VanDevender, the new VP for Science and Technology and Research Foundations Div. 1000 is Rick Stulen, currently the director of Homeland Security Systems and Development Center 8100.

With the promotion of VP John Stichman to Deputy Director, Weapons Engineering and Product Realization Division 2000 will be headedup by Steve Rottler, current director of NM Weapons System Engineering Center 2100. Steve’s division picks up the two 14000 centers, 14100 (manufacturing Science and technology) and 14400 (Neutron Generator Production). (Current Div. 14000 VP Lenny Martinez has joined the Lockheed Martin Los Alamos contract bid team.)

Jerry McDowell, current VP for DoD Programs Division 15000, becomes head of a combined division 15000 and 5000 (National Securityand Arms Control). The new division, to be called National Security Programs, also gets Electronics Systems Center 2300.
Center movements

Other key changes: Centers 9300, 9500, and 9600, the Integrated Information Services centers that deal with aspects of computer security,networks, and information systems, move to Integrated Security Division 4000. (The aim is to consolidate cyber and physical security functions more closely). Business and Enabling Services Division 10000 picks up Corporate Business Development and Partnerships Center 1300 and ES&H Center 6300. Human Resources Division 3000 picks up Executive Staff Director Center 12100 and Public Relations and Communications Center 12600. Energy, Information, and Infrastructure Surety Division 6000 acquires Security Systems and Technology Center 4100 and Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center 15200. California Site Division 8000 remains unchanged, as do Divisions 11000 (Legal) and 16000 (Advanced Concepts group). Stockpile Surveillance Center 12300 and Ethics and Audits Center 12800 remain directly associated to the Lab Director’s Office, as do the Ombuds groups (in California and New Mexico), Corporate Investigations Dept. 20, and Counterintelligence.

One key — and intended — effect of the consolidation efforts is to create larger divisions. The newly consolidated technical line divisions(currently numbered 1000, 2000, 5000, 6000, and 8000) will average more than 1,100 employees each. In the old structure, eight technical line divisions (1000, 2000, 5000, 6000, 8000, 9000, 14000, and 15000) averaged just over 800 employees.

Labs’ new structure emphasizes consolidation, operational excellence, 21st-century engineering

In his interview with the Lab News, new Labs Director Tom Hunter talked about the drivers behind the new organizational structure.

“Let’s just go back to where we were on the 29th of April,” he says. “At that time all we knew was that Paul Robinson was leaving and I would be taking over as Laboratory director. We also knew we had some pending retirements — Pace VanDevender [VP 1000] had announced his retirement. And we knew that we had one vice president, Lenny Martinez, going on assignment to support Lockheed Martin’s Los Alamos bid team. That changed the executive population by a total of three people.

“Armed with that knowledge, we [the Laboratory Leadership Team, which includes all the VPs and several selected directors] decided to take our strategic planning effort and convert it into one of strategic intent, establishing what it is we wanted to do as a laboratory, what we wanted to be. Once we had established that, then we could look at organizational restructuring — how we would like to structure the laboratory [to facilitate our strategic intent]. At the same time we had to replace a couple of executives. So, simultaneously, we had this question of how do we want to be structured and who do we want to have as executives.

“Now we have done all those things. We put together a proposed organization structure that had to be approved by our Sandia Corporation Board of Directors. In addition, NNSA/SSO [Sandia Site Office] needed to concur with our key personnel appointments. Both those things have happened.”

In the planning process that has occurred over the past several weeks, Tom says, “We wanted to focus on a set of what we called visions for success — you could call these long-range objectives. In each of our mission areas we wanted to establish our view of what success would be. We talked about success in nuclear weapons, success in nonproliferation, success in all the different mission areas that we have. We defined, if you will, a future-state view of what the laboratory should be.”

Operational excellence, transformation of engineering

In addition to defining mission success, Tom says the planning team placed a new, heightened focus on operational excellence.
“We wanted to have the whole leadership team engaged in assuring that the laboratory has the best possible approach to operations and operational performance. And we wanted to allow for the continuation — but with even more focus and emphasis — on what I have called the transformation of science-enabled engineering or science and engineering. We want to play a leadership role in the transformation of science and engineering.

“So those were the three areas we wanted to be sure we were focused on: A vision of success; operational excellence; leadership in the transformation of science and engineering.”

The MESA complex, which will create a unique 21st-century, supercomputer-driven engineering design environment, will play a key role in Sandia’s leadership of the transformation of science and engineering. So important is the MESA vision to the Labs’ future that Tom has moved the MESA program office from Division 1000 to report directly to the Director’s office. And, he says, John Stichman, the labs chief engineer as well as deputy director, will play a key role in integrating the MESA vision across all mission areas.

There were some specific intents going forward with the transition planning process, Tom says.

Tom says he thinks the new organizational structure largely accomplishes those intentions.

“The thing that I would hope we can highlight in all this is that it will allow us to focus on our mission and support our mission customers more effectively but also allow us to achieve operational excellence,” Tom says.

A team effort by LLT

Tom emphasizes that the entire transition and reorganization process has been very much a team effort.

“We made sure that every member of LLT was involved and had input into the structure that we would use,” he says. “We spent quite a bit of time as a team forging out affinities and the way things fit together. And we as a team used our succession-planning process to identify our next VPs.”

Though the overall effort was a team process, Tom did not embark on it without ideas of his own. “Certainly in the last several months the idea of how to better structure the Labs is something I’ve given quite a bit of thought to. Having the nuclear weapons program responsibility [as senior VP for the Nuclear Weapons SMU] and having to bring a level of coherence across a large set of the laboratory gave me some strong indications that we can have more coherence across all the organizations, and that we can focus our efforts toward better operational performance if we spend some time being really clear about roles, having deliberate processes that are as simple and practical as possible and are well understood. Those were ideas that I carried forward. And we tried to realize that in this restructuring.

“And then, of course, there’s one area that all of us are concerned with and that I’ve thought about a lot myself — you build an organization for and around people. And how you engage the people in the process. How we went about it was in large part based around our ideas of inclusiveness, of bringing people together, and then looking at the future development of people.” -- Bill Murphy and Ken Frazier

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MiniSAR flies for first time, taking images with resolution of 4 inches

By Chris Burroughs

Sandia researchers flew what is probably the world’s smallest fine-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in May, making real-time images in the 6-kilometer range with a resolution of four inches. It was a first for the 25-pound instrument that may soon be used for reconnaissance on near-model-airplane-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

What’s new is that the miniSAR is flying and working just as it should,” says Armin Doerry (2342). He,together with co-project leads Dale Dubbert and George Sloan (both 2345), created the current approach for the miniaturized SAR several years ago.

Over the past year the trio and a core team of about 10 engineers finished development of all the technologies that make up miniSAR, including integration of the radar subsystems and completion of the system software.

MiniSAR is less than one-fourth the weight and one-tenth the volume of SARs that currently fly on larger UAVs such as the General Atomics’ Predator. It has the same capability as the larger SARs of making fine-resolution images through weather, at night, and in dust storms. It is also “every bit as complex” as the few-hundred-pound systems currently flying, Armin says.

Small and lightweight, it can be put on airborne platforms that are one-tenth the cost of UAVs required for the larger SARs. It will also have a lower manufacturing cost than its larger cousins.

“MiniSAR is smaller and cheaper without sacrifice of performance,” Dale says.

MiniSAR took its first images May 10 when it was flown on a Twin Otter aircraft owned by NNSA. This was followed by three weeks of image collection at various locations over Kirtland Air Force Base.

Currently the miniSAR is connected to an operator control computer and data recorders on board the plane. The computer and data recorders will eventually be placed in a ground station, allowing the miniSAR to function on the smaller UAVs.

The miniSAR consists of two major subsystems: the Antenna Gimbal Assembly (AGA) — the pointing system that consists of the antenna, gimbal, and transmitter — and the Radar Electronics Assembly (REA) — the signal generator, receiver, and processors. The AGA transmits and receives the radar signal. The REA is the electronics package that generates the radar signals, controls the system, processes the data, and transforms it into an image.

The researchers expect the miniSAR to shrink to under 20 pounds in the short run. Longer term, the team is working to exploit Sandia microsystems technologies (at MESA, the Microsystems and Engineering Science Applications complex), further shrinking miniSAR to as low as 5 to 10 pounds.

While miniSAR will initially be used for reconnaissance on small UAVs that can carry a payload of 50 pounds, it may also be used for precision-guided weapons. However, the cost and size of miniSAR will need to be reduced even more for weapon applications.
Sandia is currently negotiating license agreements with several military subcontractors, which would build the miniSARs in volume.
“While initial interest has been tremendous, we are looking for a long-term partner that not only wants to build them, but also has the vision to work with us on continuing enhancements,” George says. -- Chris Burroughs

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Texas Tech wins Sandia MEMS design competition

By Neal Singer

Students from Texas Tech University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department have won this year’s annual MEMS design competition sponsored by Sandia.

“Grades became secondary as students concerned themselves with turning ideas into designs,” says Texas Tech professor Tim Dallas.

Said contest judge and University of Utah professor Bob Huber, “The design tools and production facilities needed for a real learning experience in the MEMS field are too expensive for all but the wealthiest schools to provide. This program brings these facilities within reach of many more schools.”

He says students respond “with some super designs.”

Texas Tech student lead Phillip Beverly and team advisor Tim Dallas have been awarded a trip to Sandia to present their ideas and tour its facilities, say Harold Stewart (1749) and Dave Sandison (1769), who run the University Alliance for Sandia. Texas Tech has also been awarded membership in the international MEMS organization MANCEF.

In addition, student teams from the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Albuquerque’s Technical Vocational Institute, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte will have their designs fabricated for free, using the world’s most advanced silicon surface micromachining fabrication process, SUMMiT V™, developed by Sandia.

The winning entry was a combination of four individual designs that included a micromechanical clock, a microchain, a torsion micromirror, and a micron-sized atomic force microscope. The design was chosen based on the use of SUMMiT’s specific strengths, usefulness of the design for educational demonstrations, and uniqueness of design.

Institutions must be members of Sandia’s MEMS University Alliance for their students to participate. Membership is available to any US institution of higher learning. Members receive course materials structured to help start or further develop their own MEMS program, licenses for Sandia’s cutting-edge MEMS design software, and other benefits. All University Alliance members, regardless of contest participation, receive MEMS parts to use in their curriculum. Ten schools currently are members of the Alliance.

Sandia recognizes the need to be proactive in attracting and training the next generation of the MEMS workforce. The Alliance supports microsystems education with cost-effective programs and by building relationships with US students and professors. This is the first year of the design competition.

For more information on the contest or Sandia’s MEMS University Alliance, contact Natasha Bridge at nabridg@sandia.gov.
For information about becoming a member of the University Alliance, contact Kathryn Hanselmann at kdhanse@sandia.gov. -- Neal Singer

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