Modernization and Future Systems
Associate Labs Director &
Chief Systems Engineer
As the Nuclear Deterrence Modernization and Future Systems Associate Labs Director and Chief Systems Engineer for Sandia National Laboratories, Rita A. Gonzales ensures systemslevel execution of Life Extension Programs and Alterations while serving as the primary Sandia interface with leadership at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, Kansas City National Security Campus, and Pantex Plant regarding changes to nuclear weapons modernization programs and potential new systems.
Before taking on leadership of the division, Rita was the director of advanced systems and transformation at Sandia, where she led the development of safe, secure, trusted and mission-capable weapon designs and architectures using rapid development cycles, innovative design methodologies and advanced evaluation techniques supporting a multitude of national security customers.
Prior to that, Rita served in several other leadership roles at Sandia. As director of electronic systems, she led the design and development programs in radio frequency and electronic systems. As deputy director of threat intelligence, Rita was responsible for several strategic initiatives, including external partnership development, nuclear weapon cyber initiatives, and helping build a strong partnership between Sandia program areas.
Rita also served as senior manager of the firing and embedded systems group in weapon design and assurance, where she was responsible for full life-cycle development of several non-nuclear components, including sub-systems and secure system processing.
Beginning as an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) designer, Rita spent 17 years in microsystems science, technology and components, rising to project lead, department manager and senior manager. She had full responsibility for the design, development and production of several custom ASIC products developed at the Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Application complex and at external commercial foundries.
Rita earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University.
Rita is an active community member and currently serves as a member of the New Mexico State University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Advisory Board.
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