New Faces in Engineering honoree Greg White finds Labs a good fit
Greg White says that when he started college, he was romanced by the idea of becoming a professor. But along the way to an advanced degree, he realized his interest had veered toward working for a national laboratory.
“It’s important for me now, and it was at the time, to have an impact on our national security,” says Greg (1835), who researches the aging of polymers and the resulting changes in how they perform.
The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering selected him this year for New Faces in Engineering, a recognition program the National Engineers Week Foundation began in 2003 to highlight the work of engineers ages 30 and younger.
Greg’s first glimpse into engineering came when he was in high school and attended a precollege initiative weekend at Virginia Tech sponsored by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
It was his first exposure to a large university and engineering students, and the weekend was made all the better by the engineering projects the students got to do, he says. He recalls a Rube Goldberg device that created a domino effect.
“There was a lot of fun involved in that weekend,” Greg says.
Since he enjoyed math and science and liked solving problems, the precollege initiative program and his contact with NSBE “kind of lit that fire for engineering,” he says.
Greg went to Virginia Tech for his undergraduate work, starting out in computer engineering.
“Then I started doing programming, and that was awful,” he says. He turned to chemical engineering instead and earned his bachelor’s in 2006.
He was debating graduate school or a full-time job when one of his Virginia Tech professors intervened. As Greg sat in the office, the professor picked up the phone and called a former graduate student who had gone on to become chairman of Clemson University’s chemical engineering department. “’I’ve got a student in my office,’” the professor said, and handed Greg the phone.
“That was awkward. I didn’t know what to say,” Greg recalls. But with his professor’s urging, he applied to Clemson. He drove from Virginia to South Carolina for an interview and to meet faculty and students.
“It felt like the right place to be, so I took that opportunity and went to Clemson,” he says.
On the advice of another professor, he skipped a master’s degree and went straight to a doctorate, doing his dissertation on nanomaterials synthesis and processing.
Greg began questioning his idea of staying in academia when he was in his last year or so of graduate school. He had married by then, and he and his wife, also a PhD student, had the first two of their three sons while in graduate school.
“At the end of your grad school tenure, you’re tired, and being young parents was also difficult,” Greg says.
At the same time, he says, he was watching his adviser go through the labyrinth of the tenure process, “and I didn’t know if I wanted to go through that rigor.”
He had worked for the defense contractor Battelle as an undergraduate and did research on his dissertation at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the National Institute of Standards and Technology near Washington, D.C. When he began looking into post doc programs, those experiences influenced him to consider the national laboratories as a path between industry and academia, he says.
Greg came to Sandia as a postdoc in May 2011 and joined the staff in August 2012.
Sandia, he says, was an excellent fit because of his interest in the high impact work of polymers.
“Whether it’s for nuclear power or assistance to the Department of Energy, those are all high consequence and I enjoy that,” he says.-- Sue Major Holmes
Sandian honored with DOE Classification Award of Excellence
by Bill Murphy
Ron McIntosh (4250) has been named the recipient of the 2013 DOE Office of Classification Award of Excellence. Ron led Sandia’s Classification Office for six years as both the manager and classification officer for Sandia/New Mexico before recently moving into a new role as the corporate classification officer.
In a letter nominating him for the award, Edith Chalk, director of the Office of Technical Guidance in DOE’s Office of Classification, said, “Mr. McIntosh has been the epitome of a classification professional and a valued asset to both the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.”
Ron, a Chicago native who came to Sandia in 1983 after graduating from Morrison Institute of Technology, expressed his appreciation for the award.
“DOE has by far the best classification program in the government,” he says. “Given this and the fact this is the highest recognition that an individual can receive from the agency for their contributions to the program, I am truly grateful. Although this award has my name on it, it is the result of the contributions and efforts of numerous individuals in Sandia’s Classification Department who make our program outstanding. I am humbled and very appreciative to have been selected for this award.”
During his 30-year career at Sandia, Ron was involved in a wide range of programs, including Nuclear Weapons and other mission areas, before moving to the Classification Department in 2001.
It was in that capacity that Ron found the sweet spot suited to his experience, his training, his temperament, and his interests.
“This role poses a never-ending challenge,” Ron says. “As a national security lab, Sandia has a very significant role on the national security stage. As the classification officer, I’m in a unique position to be able to engage in some aspect of each of these activities to ensure our national security assets are protected.”
At Classification, Ron was responsible for ensuring development and keeping up to date 16 local Sandia classification guides that Chalk characterizes as “models for local classification” throughout NNSA.
In a bid to keep the classification office current with evolving technologies, Ron implemented a process to scan all technical reference material in the Classification vault. The effort resulted in a notable reduction in the amount of paper holdings and in turn the security footprint at the Labs. The process was a major undertaking: Almost 70 years’ worth of paper-based documents were mapped and methodically scanned into an electronic database accessible to the entire Classification staff, resulting in a user-friendly system that has tremendously increased staff efficiency.
During his tenure as classification officer, Ron has been responsible for appointing, training, and maintaining technical currency of some 500 derivative classifiers. Additionally, he has been a leader in the electronic distribution of classification guides to derivative classifiers. His approach has been adopted by many other field classification officers across the weapons enterprise.
Ron’s innovative and proactive leadership of the Classification Office, Chalk wrote, as well as the customer service approach he instilled in his staff, elicited praise from all levels of management at Sandia and from his peers across the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise.
According to Chalk, Ron’s “influence, sound advice, and technical expertise are sought after” from classification professionals throughout DOE.
“Above all,” Chalk wrote, “Mr. McIntosh is a team player, one whom everyone in the Classification community enjoys working with. He never fails to tackle a problem and provide a meaningful, workable solution. He is respected by his staff, his peers, and his superiors for his excellent character and sound judgment.”-- Bill Murphy
Sandia manager joins New Mexico’s 40 Under Forty
by Nancy Salem
Louis Griego says a little stress can be a good thing if it means he’s busy, challenged, and balancing the many activities in his life. “I really enjoy new opportunities at work, spending time with my family, and giving back to the community,” he says. “We all get busy. We have to make time to fit all the pieces together.”
Louis (10672) is a manager at Sandia, the father of a 2-year old, and actively involved in charitable organizations. He was recognized for his professional and community accomplishments by being named to the 2013 class of Albuquerque Business First’s 40 Under Forty, a prestigious program that honors young professionals who are making an impact on the state. They will be recognized at a gala event June 28 at Sandia Casino.
Louis says he is honored to join the 40 Under Forty club, which has included some of the state’s most influential people. “I felt very excited and humbled looking through the names of the honorees, reading about their accomplishments, and knowing previous honorees and the important work they’re doing professionally and in the community,” he says.
Growing up with the railroad
Louis’s parents are from Belen. His father worked for the BNSF Railway, starting as a clerk at age 18 and continuing through retirement. The family moved around, from Southern California to Texas to Illinois. “Every time my father was promoted it required a move,” says Louis, who was born in Clovis, later lived outside Belen in Los Chaves, and went to high school in El Paso.
Louis returned to his home state in 1999 to attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 2003.
He interned at Sandia his senior year doing financial reporting for solar programs. He was hired as a limited-term employee after graduation and worked as a financial analyst on the W76-1 Life Extension Program matrixed to Center 2100, the New Mexico Weapon Systems Engineering center. “I learned a lot about Sandia’s core nuclear weapons mission,” Louis says.
‘It just made sense’
In 2004 he completed a master’s in business administration at UNM and became a full-time Sandia employee. He also prepped for and passed the test to become a certified public accountant (CPA).
Louis says he chose accounting as a career after earlier considering law. “What I liked about accounting was it was a system laid out with certain transactions happening certain ways, and it just made sense,” he says. “The numbers tell the story behind what’s going on in business. I definitely made the right decision.”
Louis was selected for the Lockheed Martin Financial Leadership Development Program and rotated into three jobs over three years. The first was in the W76-1 program where he had been working. He moved to the Energy Resources and Non-Proliferation SMU.
“It gave me a perspective on how money comes into the Laboratory, processing work authorizations and working project funding,” Louis says. “I also worked in the Division 6000 business office on projects at the division level.”
His third rotation was to Org. 10508, Indirect Financial Management, as the corporate center support analyst. He stayed in that job several years then made a move to the international group as a matrixed financial analyst and business partner to Org. 6821, International Nuclear Threat Reduction.
“I went to Qatar, Egypt, and Kenya,” he says. “It was an eye-opening experience and really enjoyable working with people from different cultures and parts of the US government. It was a great job.”
Helping hand to children
Louis’s goal was to become a manager. In 2010 he was named business manager for Center 2500, Energetic Components. Since July he has managed the Nuclear Weapons SMU Business Office Dept. 10672.
He says he enjoys being a manager and his work at Sandia. “Leading a team is fun. I really enjoy the relationship-building and working with others,”
he says. “I’ve been able to do a lot in my Sandia career. I like learning and being challenged, and each assignment has been a new opportunity. Our national security mission is very important, and the people at Sandia are the smartest, brightest, and just nicest I’ve ever met.”
Louis’s senior manager, Ernie Limon (10670), says he knew he wanted Louis on his team when he first met him in 2008. “What impresses me is his willingness and ability to seek external interest as a corporate and community citizen by volunteering for various boards and charities,” Ernie says. “I am extremely pleased to have him on our management team.”
Louis’s community involvement includes membership in the Active 20/30 Club of Albuquerque, a group of young professionals who do fundraising and hands-on work to benefit children’s charities throughout central New Mexico.
He also volunteers with the adaptive ski program at the Sandia Peak Ski Area teaching disabled kids to ski, is on the supervisory committee at the Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union, and has sat on United Way Community Fund panels as the CPA.
“I’ve always been involved in charitable work outside my job. I hope that I’m doing my part to help fulfill a major need in New Mexico,” says Louis, who is married to his college sweetheart and enjoys spending time with his parents, who after several moves retired to Albuquerque’s South Valley. “I want to give back to the community. That’s an important part of my life.”-- Nancy Salem