Sandia Labs News Releases

New vice president to oversee energy, security, nonproliferation research at Sandia

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has appointed James M. Chavez vice president of its Energy, Nonproliferation and High Consequence Security Division and its International, Homeland and Nuclear Security Program Management Unit effective Sept. 11. He replaces Jill Hruby, who became Sandia president and labs director in July.

James Chavez

James M. Chavez has been appointed vice president of Sandia National Laboratories’ Energy, Nonproliferation and High Consequence Security Division and its International, Homeland and Nuclear Security Program Management Unit effective Sept. 11. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Most recently, Chavez has served as the director of the Monitoring Systems and Technology Center and the Remote Monitoring and Verification Program. In this position, he oversaw the research and development of sensor technologies for treaty monitoring and arms control, the satellite payloads and ground-based analysis systems that comprise the U.S. Nuclear Detonation Detection System and other technical national security products for the National Nuclear Security Administration and other government agencies.

“Jim’s distinguished career both as a researcher and a visionary leader at Sandia has made an impact on the major research and development portfolios he will be overseeing in his new role as vice president,” Hruby said. “I congratulate him on his new position and I am confident that he will continue to deliver with excellence on Sandia’s important national security mission.”

In his 33-year career at Sandia, Chavez has served in a variety of leadership roles and has broad research experience, including renewable energy, nuclear reactor safety and physical security. He also served as a congressional fellow for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in Washington, D.C. He was a director of the Systems Research and Analysis Center and the Proliferation Assessments Program; manager of Sandia’s Government Relations Department; and manager of the Solar Thermal Test Department and the National Solar Thermal Test Facility.

“I’m honored to be appointed vice president and look forward to leading Sandia’s efforts to provide high-impact technologies and innovative technical solutions for challenges in energy, nonproliferation, security, satellite and ground sensing and other fields,” Chavez said.

Chavez joined Sandia in 1981 as a researcher in Intrusion Detection Systems. His early research included the development and demonstration of renewable energy technologies and he became an expert on molten salt systems, used to store heat from solar power systems, and solar power tower technologies. He authored more than 20 technical publications and articles on solar thermal energy.

Chavez is a graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of California-Berkeley.

He is an active member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the NMSU Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board.

Chavez, a member of the Executive Diversity Team at Sandia, received the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award for professional achievement in 1997 and serves on the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation Board in Albuquerque.

More information can be found at the International, Homeland and Nuclear Security website.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Heather Clark,, (505) 844-3511