She is part of Honeywell International Inc.’s new National Technology & Engineering Solutions (NTESS) team selected to manage and operate Sandia.
Her appointment coincided with the start of Honeywell’s management contract, which was awarded last December by the National Nuclear Security Administration. Honeywell succeeds Lockheed Martin Corp., which had operated Sandia since 1993. Honeywell is now the third manager since the laboratories’ founding in 1949 in Albuquerque, N.M., where it is headquartered.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory now operated by NTESS for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness at both its Albuquerque and Livermore sites.
Along with naming Ellis to manage Sandia’s laboratories in Livermore, Honeywell also appointed Steve Younger as director of the Albuquerque headquarters. He becomes Sandia’s 15th director.
“We are in what I call a strategic time, a rapidly changing time,” Younger told Sandia employees. “Sandia will maintain its flexibility in responding to that somewhat uncertain future. It is going to be an exciting future for the lab as we respond to upcoming national needs.”
Deputy Director Dave Douglass, who also spoke, said Sandia will maintain its strong support for technology transfer to the private sector and its relationships with businesses and the community.
Sandia spends roughly $1 billion on goods and services nationwide each year, with about half of that going to small businesses.
“Sandia is an extremely important member of the community, both through the dollars we contribute and the time our employees contribute,” Douglass said. “It is our intent to continue that.”
The new Honeywell-appointed Sandia management team said it expects stable employment numbers and that the challenge will be to do the work the nation has asked Sandia to do with the people it has. That includes work in microelectronics fabrication, high-energy-density physics, high-performance computing and cybersecurity.
Younger called Sandia “the greatest engineering lab in the world,” and said that while many companies and laboratories work in technology, “Sandia defends the planet.”
As the engineering lab for the nation’s nuclear weapons complex, Sandia is responsible for more than 95% of non-nuclear components and for maintaining, modernizing and assessing the nuclear weapons stockpile. It also engineers systems and technologies for global security, defense systems and energy, and does fundamental science and engineering research in bioscience, computing, engineering, geoscience, materials, nanosystems and high-energy density science.
In her new role at Sandia’s Livermore lab, Ellis will provide leadership and management direction for the site with primary responsibility for energy technologies, biosciences, the Department of Homeland Security and support to weapon systems engineering.
Ellis has nearly 40 years of experience with federal, state and foreign governments, industry and academic customers, including 33 years at Sandia in New Mexico with programmatic responsibility across four mission areas. During her tenure at Sandia, Ellis served as principal staff director, chief operations officer for Defense Systems & Assessments, director of the Global Security Line of Business/International Security Center, director of the Transportation Surety, Nuclear Waste Management and Nuclear Reactor Technology Centers and in a variety of manager and senior manager positions.
Most recently Ellis served as executive director of National Laboratories Operations for the University of California and was director of the Strategic Development Office for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
“It is exciting as I take up the mantle of responsibility as the new associate labs director for the Sandia site in California,” Ellis said. “Knowing the commitment and talent that each member of the workforce brings, I look forward to engaging Sandia’s unique abilities to tackle the problems that only a national laboratory of this caliber can hope to solve.”