Larry Luna elected American Society of Mechanical Engineers fellow

By Michael J. Baker

Photography By Lonnie Anderson

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Larry Luna portrait
ASME FELLOW — Sandia engineer Larry Luna has been named a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Larry earned the honor for his contributions to national security.

Sandia engineer Larry Luna has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for significant achievements during more than 30 years of service and leadership.

“I am pretty excited about it,” Larry said. “I think the fellow designation is a great honor in that it’s a recognition of what I’ve accomplished in my professional career and with ASME.”

Larry was promoted to fellow at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition on Nov. 10 in Pittsburgh. ASME fellows constitute about 3.5 percent of the organization’s more than 95,000 members.

Larry was specifically recognized “for his contributions to the national security of the United States,” according to ASME.

“This is really a reflection of the career-long commitment by Larry to ASME and engineering,” said Shawn Burns, who is Larry’s manager and has known him for about 15 years. “He’s taken on several different roles and leadership positions within ASME. This is not only about his technical ability, but also his dedication to the profession of mechanical engineering.”

Long service to Sandia mission

After receiving a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico and interning at Sandia, Larry’s first day of employment at Sandia was in January 1992. He received a master’s in engineering mechanics from New Mexico Tech while working at Sandia. Larry has held several different positions during his tenure.

“I’m really thankful for the diversity of experience I’ve been able to achieve working at the Labs,” Larry said. “I’m really thankful for my colleagues here and from other places whom I’ve gotten to work with over the course of my career.”

Larry led teams of analysts, designers and experimentalists in developing and testing restraint systems for cargo. He led a project to upgrade safety systems in the trailers that transport nuclear materials and participated in the development of next generation armored tractors. Larry also led several other national security projects for the departments of Energy and Defense.

Larry served for seven years as a program manager for the DOE Nuclear Explosive Safety Studies program, which provides the final safety review for operations within NNSA prior to the start of production. Larry also served as a nuclear safety engineer and led teams assessing the nuclear safety, surveillance, quality and reliability of proposed weapons systems modifications.

Recently, Larry has been part of a group implementing advanced manufacturing methods at Sandia and has led several teams focused on improving the timeline for the development and modernization of the nuclear deterrent. Larry currently assists in coordinating Sandia's engagement with international partners.

Larry’s leadership and program management has led to many recognitions: the DOE Performance Excellence Award in 1999; the Defense Programs Award of Excellence in 2008, 2013 and again in 2017; and the Sandia Executive Office Certificate for Leadership in 2012.

Decades of ASME leadership

An active member for 30 years, Larry’s ASME career began as a student at UNM. Throughout his engineering career, he took on greater volunteer responsibilities, holding many leadership positions in the New Mexico Section and Rocky Mountain Region.

He also has supported the society’s membership training activities and held national leadership roles on the National Nomination Committee and the Committee on Organization and Rules. Larry’s ASME contributions were recognized with the ASME Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

It is the election to fellow that makes Larry particularly proud, he said. “It’s quite humbling and quite exciting. Just to be considered for nomination is a high honor.”