Sandians support national security mission
In support of the Nuclear Deterrence Modernization Efforts Rally Cry, Lab News continues to highlight employees and the ways that they contribute to Sandia’s national security mission. Read more profiles from previous editions.
23 years at Sandia
Ken conducts radiation effects testing on various nuclear weapon components for Sandia’s Advanced Nuclear Concepts group to assure the components act as intended in stressing environments.
“I was planning to retire four years ago, but I had interest in this job,” he said. “I was so excited to contribute to this space and I haven’t looked back.”
Ken feels that graduates entering the Sandia workforce have a particularly special chance to learn new things and explore diverse career opportunities.
“When you are in school you learn how to learn, but here you can learn and explore new skillsets,” he said. “Working at Sandia is a tremendous opportunity to contribute to so many areas if you are willing to learn. You may discover an area you didn’t know existed. It’s all about how you can contribute to the mission and how you can make a difference — and at Sandia we make a huge difference.”
— Sarah Johnson
W80-4 administrative program support lead
3 years at Sandia
Tiffany and her family understand what it means to serve. For her, working at Sandia continues a tradition.
“My dad was a command sergeant major in the United States Army for 30 plus years,” she said. “Growing up with him, I truly learned to be proud and love my country. Because of that I wanted to be part of something special as it relates to the betterment of our country. Sandia is truly that.”
As team lead for W80-4 administrative program support, Tiffany answers the call to protect the national interest. “Program support schedules, facilitates and coordinates all aspects as it relates to the W80-4 program,” she said.
“I have never come across or worked with a more kind, passionate, intelligent and truly sincere group of people,” Tiffany said about the people at Sandia. “The dedication I see and the knowledge I have learned is so inspiring.”
— David Hill
23 years at Sandia
As an impatient child who, on Christmas, took his remote-controlled car apart to modify it because it wasn’t radio controlled, Janson said he learned to “be very specific in what you ask for.”
That precision paid off when, as an electrical engineer, he worked on grand challenges like the Micro-Chem Lab and was the electrical lead for the Sandia/California and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Reliable Replacement Warhead team that won the Phase 1 competition for the new Air Force and Navy warhead.
Janson left Sandia and spent four years at Silicon Valley startups before bringing that experience back to the Labs as a component engineer and becoming an expert on surety. Now, as an analyst, he’s contributing in different ways, like writing portions of a tri-lab position paper to Congress that led to the W76-2. Unable to stay away, he’s back to engineering with Integrated Surety Architectures, developing enhanced shipping configurations for DOE weapon transportation.
“I lead the effort to realize a whole range of products for a vast portion of our stockpile,” he said. “My dream of being able to contribute directly to the stockpile will be realized with the first production unit of this capability.”
— J.C. Ross
Explosive component design engineer
12 years at Sandia
Greg describes explosive component design as “incredibly interesting, super complicated and complex.” Many aspects of explosives are still not well understood, and Greg enjoys taking on the technical challenges that are often involved with getting them to perform as intended.
“There’s always something new to think about and work on. You seldom deal with the same issue twice,” he said.
This variety, the attendant challenges and the people have kept him engaged for 12 years, Greg said. “It’s really important to contribute to the defense of our nation and our allies around the world in a way that prevents our adversaries from being hostile against us and our interests.”
— Antonia Cardella
High assurance cryptographic certification lead
15 years at Sandia
Strong cryptography and information assurance is at the heart of modern nuclear weapon command and control. Ensuring the nation’s nuclear deterrent is only usable when authorized is a core Sandia mission. Cassandra applies her extensive expertise in cryptographic and cybersecurity technologies to ensure Sandia products meet National Security Agency certification requirements.
Software verification tests are critical moments in the certification process where NSA personnel travel to witness a live demonstration that cryptographic systems will not fail in an insecure manner. Last year such a test was needed when COVID-19 made NSA travel impossible. As a workaround, NSA requested that Cassandra act in their stead as a trusted witness. Thanks to Cassandra’s high standing with the NSA, the test was carried out on schedule, the system passed and the program schedule was maintained.
“I was honored that NSA extended me their trust,” she said. “I felt fortunate to be in a position to ensure the integrity of the system and keep the project on schedule. I am dedicated to the mission, and I am passionate about what I can contribute. It makes me exceptionally proud knowing the decisions I make have an impact.”
— Andrea Mackay