ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories’ economic impact for fiscal year 2023 reached an all-time high of nearly $4.8 billion, which was $559 million more than in 2022.
The impact is evident in the 1,200 new jobs added in the last year, the $114 million in gross receipts taxes paid to the state and the $1.08 billion paid to the small business suppliers who help provide critical components for Sandia to fulfill its mission.
“For more than seven decades, Sandia Labs’ dedication to outstanding service has significantly contributed to the national good,” Labs Director James Peery said. “Our collaboration with a wide range of suppliers has been crucial to our achievements. Engaging with small businesses fuels creativity, creates jobs and introduces advancements that enhance the quality of life.”
As it continued to expand its footprint around the world, Sandia’s workforce continued to grow. Sandia ended FY23 with more than 16,700 employees, with 1,200 of those being new jobs. Included in Sandia’s workforce are 8,234 employees with advanced degrees, along with 8,532 research and development scientists, engineers and technologists.
With a move to a permanent hybrid workforce in 2023, hundreds of those employees can now do their jobs from cities around the country. Sandia has approximately 1,950 full-time telecommuters, 1,050 part-time telecommuters and 1,600 remote workers spread out around the country. That is about 30 percent of Sandia’s workforce. The change has allowed some current employees to relocate to other states while staying with the organization and helped attract new employees who would have never considered a job at Sandia because of location.
“At Sandia, we have capabilities not found anywhere else in the world,” said Brian Carter, chief human resources officer. “Ensuring we can provide those unique capabilities and deliver on our critical missions means hiring the best and brightest in their fields.”
Small business support
Along with playing a vital role in national security, Sandia has a big impact on the small business community. Small businesses make up 67% of Sandia’s suppliers. In all, Sandia paid out nearly $1.1 billion in subcontract payments to small business, with $481 million of that going to New Mexico small businesses.
Those businesses help supply everything from building construction and office supplies to engineering, computer-related services and the specialized cables, valves and components that Sandia needs to carry out its national security work.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy and the capabilities they offer are vital to our national security mission,” said Zach Mikelson, small business program manager. “Sandia continues to be committed to small businesses both nationally and here in New Mexico. The partnership between Sandia and small businesses strengthens our community and ensures support for Sandia’s mission for years to come.”
New Mexico Small Business Assistance program
Sandia also helps small businesses by sharing its expertise.
In 2023, through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, Sandia provided $2.4 million in technical assistance and helped 120 small businesses.
One of them was Voss Scientific, located in Albuquerque. Voss provides a wide variety of scientific and research and development services and products. While working to expand its product line to include a new type of laser system, Voss encountered issues that required a novel optical component that could only be fabricated by experts in nanoscience. Lacking that expertise and the multi-million-dollar equipment necessary to develop their product, Voss turned to Sandia for help. A team from Sandia helped them develop a nanotech-optic to eliminate beam distortions due to thermal effects.
“This program has given us the ability to leverage Sandia’s nanotechnology fabrication facility, which has been critical in taking our design from concept to a produced test sample,” said Alex Lovesee, senior scientist at Voss Scientific LLC.
If successful, the company and its partners will have demonstrated a technology that could enable the Department of Energy to make laser-driven fusion power for clean energy applications.
Technology Readiness Gross Receipts initiative
Sandia also continues to help businesses through the Technology Readiness Gross Receipts initiative. TRGR is focused on technology maturation for New Mexico companies that have licensed technology from Sandia or Los Alamos National Laboratory or engaged in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with them.
In FY23, Sandia helped work on 12 projects involving 11 businesses. As a result, nine licenses were acquired for Sandia technologies and three companies engaged in CRADAs.
One of the success stories is Kairos Power, a nuclear energy engineering, design and manufacturing company. The company is commercializing a fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor, with a mission of enabling the world’s transition to clean energy.
The company’s testing and manufacturing facility in Albuquerque will support the design, construction and operation of the Hermes demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Kairos Power is developing a Burn-up Measurement Sensor to analyze graphite fuel pebbles during operation, identifying how much fuel has been used and whether a pebble could be reused. Kairos was able to use Sandia’s specialized equipment and expertise to support the sensor’s development.
“The Burn-up Measurement Sensor project has been an outstanding example of rapid iterative development in collaboration with a national lab to accelerate innovation for a critical system,” said Edward Blandford, co-founder and chief technology officer of Kairos Power. “We are grateful to have the TRGR program’s support in building it.”
Kairos Power has made a commitment to invest up to $125 million in New Mexico. It has already invested $50 million and hired more than 90 full-time employees in Albuquerque with an average salary exceeding $100,000.
Sandia gives to the community
But Sandia’s impact on the community extends far beyond the business world; Sandia’s employees work hard to give back to the community in other ways.
One of the most popular programs is the K-12 computer donation event in which Sandia upgrades aging technology and donates retired computers to area schools.
In 2023, Sandia donated 1,654 desktops, laptops and iPads to Albuquerque and Silver City schools.
Sandia also helps organize regular STEM events to encourage area youth to explore the field. That includes the annual New Mexico Electric Car Challenge, which brings together hundreds of middle school students from around the state.
Throughout the year, Sandia’s employees and their families also donate their time and talents through the Sandia Serves initiative to help those who are less fortunate.
In FY23 employees donated 1,220 units of blood during regular blood donation events. During the annual Sandia Serves Day in October of 2023, more than 250 volunteers donated their time at community service events which ranged from making meals at the Ronald McDonald House to sorting food at Roadrunner Food Bank, donating and cleaning up bicycles for kids in need in the community and building a shade structure at a local non-profit.
Employees also donated $4.4 million through the United Way of North Central New Mexico and $36,000 in holiday gift cards for families in need, along with more than 1,000 toys for the Toys for Tots program.
Additional details are available in Sandia’s Economic Impact Brochure.
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: Kim Vallez Quintana, email@example.com, 505-537-3294