ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The technical achievements of two Sandia National Laboratories weapons engineers have been recognized by Great Minds in STEM, an organization supporting careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Systems analysis manager Steven Trujillo was awarded for his professional achievements and Humberto Santacruz, a lead engineer on Sandia’s W76-1 System Life Extension Project, received a Most Promising Engineer Advanced Degree – Master’s award. Trujillo and Santacruz were recognized at the 29th Annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference in Pasadena, California, in October. Deputy Laboratories Director Dave Douglass and Associate Laboratories Director Scott Aeilts presented the two engineers with their awards at the ceremony.
Trujillo technical adviser to key government agencies on national security issues
Trujillo joined Sandia in 1999 and has advanced through what he describes as five different careers at the labs before moving into his current role as a manager. His first position was in engineering sciences as a postdoctoral appointee. He then moved on to weapons engineering, systems analysis and a Washington, D.C., post as Sandia’s resident technical adviser to the National Nuclear Security Administration’s deputy administrator for Defense Programs. He has contributed to two presidential policy directives, one that expanded a 30-year policy on nuclear weapon safety and security and another focused on national security threat awareness and nuclear enterprise assurance.
In his recommendation letter, Donald Cook, former NNSA deputy administrator for Defense Programs, wrote that in Steven’s advisory role to key government agencies and in other positions, “Steven quickly became a trusted part of a national team focused on some of the most important national security issues, due to the depth of his technical knowledge, his easy interaction with colleagues, and his drive to make nationally important contributions.”
Trujillo grew up in Santa Fe and remains involved in the community. He is a member of the Sociedad Proteccion Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos, a Hispanic worker and cultural protection society founded in the early 1900s, and he has volunteered and served as a board member for the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico, which provides nonmedical services to people receiving cancer care in Santa Fe.
“In New Mexico, we are spread out and cancer treatment can be far away,” Trujillo said. “Imagine having to commute from someplace like Raton to Santa Fe for chemotherapy during the winter when you are on a low income. The foundation buys gasoline, hotel nights and groceries for people in that and similar situations. We have been fortunate and successful in our fundraising, so we are able to help a lot of patients. We also provide snacks and companionship while people are undergoing chemo.”
Trujillo received a bachelor’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University, a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a principal adviser for a Sandia documentary film, On Deterrence, and has received an NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence and the Sandia President’s Quality Award.
Santacruz up-and-coming engineer, role model, mentor
Santacruz joined Sandia in 2011 and holds a lead position in weapons systems engineering. Previously, he served as a lead electrical engineer and completed Sandia’s Weapon Intern Program.
“I first got to know Humberto when we were facing significant engineering production challenges on one of Sandia’s most critical programs,” Sandia director Toby Townsend said. “I was impressed by his initiative and candor. He showed strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and for those qualities I was eager to have him lead projects within Sandia’s nuclear weapons program.”
Santacruz says he enjoys the daily challenges of engineering and leadership, interacting with customers and co-workers, learning something every day and taking on new opportunities.
“Humberto is an up-and-coming engineer who already has established a distinguished record of technical accomplishments, exceptional leadership and personal commitment to Sandia and his community,” Sandia Laboratories Director Steve Younger said. “He is a role model and mentor to newer employees at Sandia and has a passion for contributing to the community and focusing on work with youth.”
Santacruz says he is honored and humbled to be recognized by HENAAC and his entire leadership team, and he was proud to share the award ceremony with his parents and family.
“My parents are the main reason I am here and do what I do,” he said. “My dad taught me to care about how to build and fix things, and my mom made it so that my only job growing up was to go to school. I was born in the U.S., but we lived in Juarez, Mexico, until third grade. My parents moved back to the U.S. so my brothers and I could get a better education. My father always said that ‘education opens doors.’”
Santacruz is passionate about giving back and inspiring youth to focus on education. He mentors high school students in calculus and other subjects, he speaks at career days to encourage children to become scientists and engineers and he recruits students to study at his alma mater — the University of Texas at El Paso, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering. He is also involved with his church, serving as a choir director and teaching in the youth ministry program.
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: Kristen Meub, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 845-7215