Report spotlights Sandia’s impact on New Mexico

Sandia spent roughly $900 million on goods and services in fiscal year 2012 and New Mexico businesses were awarded more than $400 million, or 45 percent, of the total, according to the Labs' latest economic impact report. For more on Sandia's economic impact on the community, visit the Labs' Economic Impact website.

by Nancy Salem

Sandia spent roughly $900 million on goods and services in fiscal year 2012 and New Mexico businesses were awarded more than $400 million, or 45 percent, of the total, according to the Labs' latest economic impact report.

US small businesses received $472.7 million in Sandia contracts, with the New Mexico share totaling $255.9 million, or 64 percent.

"I am proud to say that fiscal year 2012 stood out as another consecutive year where Sandia exceeded its over-arching small business goal and, in addition, all but one of its sub-tier small/socio-economic goals," says Don Devoti, manager of Small Business Utilization Dept. 10222.

"Sandia's commitment to identify and contract with qualified, capable small business suppliers continues to push new frontiers."

Sandia reaches out to local businesses through a variety of programs. It holds public forums with suppliers and civic leaders to discuss contracting opportunities, and lists contracts on its Business Opportunities website. It supplies small and diverse business owners with information on doing business with Sandia and seeks qualified suppliers.

The 2012 Sandia National Laboratories Economic Impact on the State of New Mexico report breaks down Sandia's spending and spotlights its role in the state's economy. The 2012 data is based on Sandia's fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and ending Sept. 30, 2012. The report reflects Sandia's continued commitment to small business.

Here are some numbers showing Sandia's overall economic impact in 2012:

  • $1.4 billion was spent on labor and non-contract-related payments.
  • $896.3 million went to contract-related payments.
  • $66.4 million was sent to the state of New Mexico for gross receipts taxes.
  • $65 million was spent through procurement card purchases.

The Small Business Act mandates that federal contractors use small businesses, including those that are small disadvantaged, owned by women or veterans and service-disabled veterans, and small businesses in impoverished areas — called Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) zones. The Small Business Utilization Department oversees the mandate and negotiates small business subcontracting goals with NNSA.

"Our goal for small disadvantaged businesses will double from 5 percent in FY12 to 10 percent in FY13," Don says. "We have increased our woman-owned small business goal from 10 percent to 11 percent, our veteran-owned small business goal from 3 percent to 4 percent, and our service-disabled veteran-owned small business goal from 2 percent to 3 percent.

"The entire procurement organization, including my small business team, is driven to achieve these tougher goals by providing New Mexico small business suppliers with increased contracting opportunities at the Laboratories and by continuing to implement innovative, transparent, and relevant work processes and approaches."

While Sandia's Procurement organization stewards small-business contracting opportunities, Sandia President and Laboratories Director Paul Hommert echoes the Labs' full support of the Small Business Act. "Sandia National Laboratories has a long and distinguished record of encouraging and partnering with highly qualified, diverse small business suppliers who assist us in achieving our national security mission," he says. "We are fully committed to continuing this track record."

Sandia's total small business expenditures for fiscal year 2012 and New Mexico breakouts:


New Mexico

Total small businesses:



Woman-owned small businesses:



Businesses in impoverished areas (HUBZone):



Small disadvantaged business (SDB)



Business owned or co-owned by socially and economically disadvantaged person 8(a):



Veteran-owned small businesses:



Service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB):



Small business (non-minority, non-woman, non-veteran owned)



"We value the relationships forged with our current small business suppliers and within the New Mexico business community and look forward to developing new and enduring partnerships as we go forward," Don says.

Sandia also helps the state's economy through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program, established by the state legislature in 2000 to help companies receive technical support from the Labs. In 2011, the Sandia NMSBA program provided nearly $2.4 million in technical assistance to 194 New Mexico small businesses in 22 counties. Since 2000, it has provided more than $22.2 million in assistance, according to the report.

The 33 companies in Sandia Science & Technology Park, a 300-acre master-planned research park adjacent to the Laboratories, employ about 2,500 people at an average annual wage of $74,949. Investment in the park is more than $351 million. Since it opened in 1998, the park has generated $1.89 billion in spending on taxable goods and services and contributed $73.4 million in gross receipts taxes to the state and $10.4 million to the city.

Sandia employees gave more than $4.6 million in 2011-2012 to the United Way of Central New Mexico as the largest corporate contributor to the agency. That number jumped 17.1 percent to $5.5 million in the 2012-2013 Employee Caring Program campaign, and will be reflected in the 2013 economic impact report.

Sandians logged more than 100,000 volunteer hours in 2012. And they donated more than 2,500 books, a truckload of school supplies, 450 holiday gifts, and 500 pairs of new shoes to disadvantaged kids in the community in 2012.

-- Nancy Salem

Back to top of page

Paul Hommert named FLC Laboratory Director of the Year

Paul Hommert has been Laboratory Director of the year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

by Nancy Salem

Paul Hommert has been named 2013 Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for his support of Sandia’s technology transfer activities.

The FLC said the award recognized the excellence of work during 2012 by Paul, Sandia’s president and Laboratories director, and the entire Sandia technology transfer program.

“Dr. Hommert has been a strong advocate for the overarching DOE strategic objectives calling for innovation to strengthen US economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life through science and engineering breakthroughs,” Jackie Kerby Moore, manager of Technology and Economic Development Dept. 7933 and Sandia’s representative to the FLC, said in nominating Paul for the award. “This is accomplished by maintaining a strong technology partnerships program with industry, academia, and other national laboratories.”

Jackie said Paul has been instrumental in building the strategic relationships necessary to foster technology transfer and commercialization.

“Tech transfer is a Sandia mission requirement. Achieving excellence in our commercialization strategy and management is key to our strategic objectives,” Paul says. “We are trusted by the taxpayers to do research and we owe it to them to be strategic about intellectual property and the role it can play in technology transfer. We want to leverage research dollars for economic growth. We have much to offer the country.”

Paul says he is honored and humbled by the FLC award and what it represents. “This recognition is not just for me but for the many Sandians who work

tirelessly to make the results of our research available to government, industry, and academia for the US public good.”

One of Paul’s priorities was to develop an Intellectual Property Lifecycle initiative, rolled out in March 2012. It promotes IP management throughout its lifecycle and asks Sandians to think about IP development, protection, and deployment — and potential industrial partners — in the early R&D phase of a project.

The IP initiative works with ongoing technology transfer programs such as the Entrepreneurial Separation for Technology Transfer (ESTT), which allows employees to leave the Labs to start up new technology companies or help expand existing ones; the Sandia Science & Technology Park, a 300-acre master-planned research park adjacent to the laboratories with 33 companies and 2,500 employees; the New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program, which provided Sandia technical help to 196 small companies in 2012; licensing roundtables; and cooperative research and development agreements.

Last year Sandia became an early leader in DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Initiative, which enables small companies to use the SBIR/STTR funding mechanism to leverage technology developed at DOE national laboratories. Also in 2012, Sandia held its first annual Research & Technology Showcase featuring cutting-edge technology and providing information on doing business with the Labs.

And Sandia’s Intellectual Property Management, Alliances and Licensing Department is taking part in the White House’s Startup America Initiative to give young companies quick, affordable license option agreements.

Tech transfer at Sandia produced royalty receipts of $4.48 million in fiscal year 2012, a Labs record. In fiscal years 2011 and 2012, Sandia won eight R&D 100 awards, five FLC national awards and seven FLC regional awards.

Peter Atherton, senior manager of Industry Partnerships Dept. 7930, says Paul has provided leadership and personal involvement in the Labs’ technology transfer efforts. “He opened the first Sandia Science & Technology Showcase event that attracted nearly 400 people,” he says. “This award is especially timely considering Paul’s kickoff of the IP Lifecycle initiative. We were very proud to nominate him.”

The awards ceremony will be April 25 at the FLC national meeting in Westminster, Colo.

The FLC is a nationwide network of more than 300 members that provides the forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace.

The FLC Awards Program annually recognizes federal laboratories and their industry partners for outstanding technology transfer efforts. Since its establishment in 1984 the FLC has presented awards to nearly 200 federal laboratories, becoming one of the most prestigious honors in technology transfer.

-- Nancy Salem

Back to top of page

Quality trio: Black engineers get national nod for reaching beyond the expected

TOP QUALITY — Dennis Owens (424), left, J. Anthony Wingate (422), and Carl Rhinehart (410) were honored with 2013 national Black Engineer of the Year Awards. They met for this photo in the gallery of the African American Performing Arts Center & Exhibit Hall at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque. The gallery exhibition presented artwork and photos tracing the history of African Americans in New Mexico. The center’s mission is to preserve, nurture, and support the intellectual and cultural history of African Americans in New Mexico and the Southwest.      (Photo by Randy Montoya)

by Nancy Salem

Three Sandians who share a commitment to quality and diversity are winners of 2013 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) awards.

J. Anthony Wingate, manager of Subsystems and Component Quality Engineering Dept. 422, was named Professional Engineer of the Year for Diversity Leadership. Dennis Owens, manager of Defense Systems Quality Engineering Dept. 424, and Carl Rhinehart (410) received Science Spectrum Trailblazer awards.

BEYA is a program of the national Career Communications Group, an advocate for corporate diversity, and part of its STEM achievement program. The awards recognize the nation’s best and brightest engineers, scientists, and technology experts. Anthony, Carl, and Dennis, who all work in Sandia’s weapons program, will receive their awards at the 27th BEYA conference Feb. 7-9 in Washington, D.C. The event precedes National Engineers Week.

“These gentlemen are exemplary representatives of the incredible talent we have at Sandia,” says Labs’ Chief Diversity Officer Esther Hernandez. “It is so inspiring to learn of Anthony, Carl, and Dennis’s outstanding achievements, to gain a brief glimpse of their personal stories, and to feel their passion about growing and preparing our Sandia workforce for tomorrow. Well done and congratulations.”

J. Anthony Wingate: Music with all the keys

J. Anthony WingateAnthony’s early experiences as an African American in the workforce were not always positive, but they did strengthen his resolve to help minorities get better jobs.

“At one company I spoke out for student interns who wanted information about job opportunities. They wouldn’t even set up a meeting,” Anthony recalls. “Another time I applied for a management position, had the qualifications, and didn’t even get an interview. The guy I had been training got the job.

“Letdowns like that kindled my passion for advancing not only engineering excellence but also operational and hiring excellence through equal opportunity. I envision a world in which organizations draw on workforce diversity to solve rigorous engineering challenges, and management welcomes fresh talent from an assortment of backgrounds.”

Anthony later joined Sandia, where he has been a leader in the diversity effort while building a distinguished career in quality engineering and management.

Anthony grew up in Beaumont, Texas, and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Lamar University. He did summer engineering internships with several Texas companies before joining General Electric, first in GE’s Manufacturing Management Program in Massachusetts and later in Florida, where he developed engineering systems and oversaw component and manufacturing processes.

He went to work for Martin Marietta, now Lockheed Martin, in 1992 as a specialty components senior engineer and project leader. He was nominated in 1993 for the Black Engineer of the Year Award and began seriously pursuing affirmative action.

Anthony transferred to Sandia in 1994, where he assumed responsibility for creating, releasing, and managing documentation for a variety of quality infrastructure activities. He has since worked with several organizations, from product engineering to project lead missions engineering and project management. He has been manager of Subsystems and Component Quality Engineering since 2008.

Anthony has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named an NNSA employee of the quarter in 2012. He says he is humbled and honored by the BEYA recognition, but that his real reward comes from helping a minority job applicant start on the path to success. “If that person can someday be the next director, that’s what matters to me,” he says.

He attends university career fairs, recruitment events, and conferences to increase minority recruitment. He has hired several top science and engineering candidates, primarily from the North Carolina A&T State University career fair. Sixty-four percent of new hires in Anthony’s organization in the past three years have been minorities.

“I continually seek opportunities to engage with young scientists and engineers from minority backgrounds,” he says. “I believe this young, diverse talent will enhance the future of Sandia and of our nation. To me diversity is about taking advantage of the strengths of different cultures and individuals and backgrounds. I equate it to a piano. There are black keys and white keys. You can’t make beautiful music with just the black or just the white. You need both.”

Marcey Hoover, senior manager of Surety Engineering Dept. 420, says Anthony promotes a highly inclusive work culture in his organization. “Anthony is compassionate and dedicated to providing opportunities for others,” she says. “He not only recruits and hires minorities and underrepresented populations, but he also retains those staff members through active mentoring and coaching, focusing on the entire lifecycle of a staff member and creating a robust environment for individuals to grow and succeed in their professional goals.”

Anthony and his wife Kim have been foster parents to 32 young people in the past four years. “Fostering is an opportunity to reach out and touch more kids,” he says. “Passing through this life, between sunrise and sunset, there’s a dash — your lifespan. What have you done that represents that dash? We chose to be foster parents to make a difference in the life of a young person who might have had hardships.

“If we can make a difference in one or two lives, it’s been worth the journey and effort. With God’s continued blessings, we will continue to strive and make a difference in the lives we touch at work and outside of work along this journey.”

* * *

Dennis Owens: Thinking of prevention, always

Dennis OwensDennis, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., was faced with a tough decision as a junior at New Mexico State University. He was a starting defensive back on an athletic scholarship and had to choose whether to pursue a dream of professional football or give up his scholarship and focus on academics.

He picked academics. “After three years and the academic sacrifices of a student athlete, I needed to put all my energy and efforts into getting my degree,” he says.

Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology and went to work in 1988 for General Electric Aircraft Engines in Albuquerque. He worked his way up to product engineer in seven years.

When the time came in 1994 to leave GE for something different, the Six Sigma and ISO 9000 movements were growing along with the concept of quality. “I was hearing more and more about the quality movement,” Dennis says. “I liked the tools of it and, more importantly, I saw the value in the prevention of defects.”

Over the next six years, in jobs at two startups, the semiconductor company Silmax Inc. and Honeywell Power Systems, a micro turbine assembly plant, Dennis built his expertise in quality engineering. With formal training he designed the architecture of quality management systems (QMS) for both businesses.

“I got into quality as a vocation because I liked the thinking,” he says. “The startups I worked at did not have a QMS model or a way to practice engineering in a sensible manner. My job became to develop the systems to make that happen.”

Dennis joined Sandia in 2001 as a quality engineer in neutron generator production. He worked on NG requalification and put together an internal quality audit program for Center 2700 (formerly 14400). He moved on to Integrated Military Systems Center 5400 as a quality engineer supporting Navy, Army, and Missile Defense Agency programs. He also led Lean Six Sigma projects to reduce and manage launch fielding activities, strategic planning, and lab space improvements.

Dennis was promoted in 2008 to manager in the Surety, Assessment Engineering, and Analysis Center 400. In 2010 he co-led the center’s ISO 9001:2008 QMS project and got it registered in seven months.

“Thus far, quality has been my career at Sandia,” Dennis says. “Regardless of my assignment, I’ve learned to approach problem-solving from a prevention mindset and it’s now just the way I think.”

Dennis says his goal is to take what he’s learned and give it to people who want to understand quality assurance in the research and development environment. “I’m now getting the opportunity to share that message with organizations such as NASA, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and American Society for Quality, and that’s exciting,” he says.

Dennis says he was surprised about the BEYA award and very appreciative. “It’s great that someone took the time to recognize what others do,” he says.

Vanessa Miles (427), who nominated Dennis, says she has worked with him since last fall and been impressed by the quality system and training he put in place. “It was a lot of work,” she says. “Dennis is very much a trailblazer and very deserving of this award.”

Dennis may have given up football for engineering, but he still hits the gridiron as a coach for his kids’ teams. In his spare time he likes to fish, golf, travel, and serve with his wife as small-group bible study leaders for their church.

But quality is never far from his mind. “I would like my legacy to be that Sandia is known as much for its technical approach to quality as for its engineering excellence,” he says.

* * *

Carl Rhinehart: A pipeline of opportunity

Carl RhinehartCarl took to leadership at a young age. He spent middle school summers working in the Mayor’s Teens Volunteer program in his hometown of Rock Hill, S.C. He volunteered in the parks leading younger kids through arts and crafts and physical activities. And he helped the American Red Cross put together aid packages for families in need.

Carl became the first member of his family to attend college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from North Carolina A&T State University in 2002 and was quickly recruited into Sandia’s One Year on Campus (OYOC) program. He completed a master’s degree in industrial engineering as a full-time student while employed by the Labs.

Carl returned to Sandia in 2003 as a manufacturing and operations engineer in the neutron generator group, responsible for test inspection processes on the production floor. He refined processes and boosted efficiency.

While a test design engineer Carl received two NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence and an Employee Recognition Award. He was promoted to Senior Member of Technical Staff in 2006. A year later he was named Product Realization Lead for a team of 10 engineers from design and production agencies.

New challenges beckoned, and Carl moved to the System and Software Quality Engineering groups, taking on a variety of quality engineering and project management roles. He went back to school in 2010 to earn a master’s in business administration from New Mexico State University while working full time. He was promoted to Principal Member of Technical Staff in 2012.

Carl currently is technical deputy of the Independent Surety Assessment Group where he is technical lead and project manager for several programs, including Independent Surety and Independent Nuclear Weapon Assessment. He helps with planning and managing technical activities for five departments and 45 staff members.

“This job gives me a broad view of the nuclear weapons complex,” he says. “It’s been very fulfilling.”

Mentorship and minority recruitment are integral to Carl’s life. He mentors numerous staff members on quality engineering. In 2010 he began working through Sandia’s Black Leadership Committee as a recruiter of minority science and engineering job candidates. He focuses particularly on his alma mater, North Carolina A&T, and has brought three undergraduates into the Master’s Fellowship Program, formally OYOC, where he got his start.

“My objective is to open the pipeline,” Carl says. “It feels like I’m giving back and spreading the word about opportunities at Sandia. I want other minorities to have the opportunity I had.”

Carl promotes science, technology, and engineering with Albuquerque middle and high school students through the Hands on Minds on Technologies program. He also coaches youth football and basketball. “I want to encourage and inspire young people,” he says.

Carl says he is honored to be chosen for a BEYA award. “This is a national recognition,” he says. “It feels great.”

Marcey Hoover, senior manager of Surety Engineering Dept. 420, nominated Carl and says he has distinguished himself as a technical contributor, leader, and mentor. “He is deeply committed to the mission of

Sandia National Laboratories, dedicated to addressing the most pressing national security challenges, and passionate in his support of minorities seeking science and technology careers,” she says.

-- Nancy Salem

Back to top of page

Download Lab News February 8, 2013 (PDF, 2MB)