ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sandia National Laboratories engineer Larry Luna has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, marking significant achievements during more than 30 years of service and leadership.
“I am pretty excited about it,” Luna 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.”
Luna is scheduled to be promoted to fellow at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition on Saturday (Nov. 10) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. ASME fellows constitute about 3.5 percent of the organization’s more than 95,000 members.
Luna 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 Luna’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, Luna’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. Luna 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,” Luna 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.”
From 1996 to 2000, Luna 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 and participated in the development of next generation armored tractors for transporting nuclear materials. Luna has led several national security projects for the departments of Energy and Defense from 2005 to 2007.
From 2008 to 2015, Luna served as a program manager for the DOE Nuclear Explosive Safety Studies program, which provides the final safety review for operations within the National Nuclear Security Administration enterprise, prior to the start of production. Luna also served as a nuclear safety engineer and led teams assessing the nuclear safety, surveillance, quality and reliability of proposed weapons systems modifications.
After that, Luna was 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. Luna is currently assisting with coordinating Sandia’s engagement with international partners.
Luna’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, the Sandia National Laboratories Executive Office Certificate for Leadership in 2012 and the DOE Defense Programs Award of Excellence for Nuclear Explosive Safety Program in 2013 and again in 2017.
Decades of ASME membership and leadership
An active member for 30 years, Luna’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. Luna’s ASME contributions were recognized with the ASME Distinguished Service Award in 2012.
It is the election to fellow that makes Luna particularly proud, he said. “It’s quite humbling and quite exciting. Just to be considered for nomination is a high honor.”
Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.
Sandia news media contact: Michael J. Baker, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-284-1085