Sandia Labs News Releases

Employee honored for disability inclusion, advocacy

Labs also recognized as a top employer for equal opportunity

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Heather Spalding, a business lead at Sandia National Laboratories, was recently recognized as an Employee of the Year by CAREERS & the disABLED magazine for her advocacy efforts, professional accomplishments, community outreach initiatives and more. In its 30th year, the award spotlights the professional and personal achievements of outstanding individuals with disabilities.

Outside of work and her community involvement, Sandia National Laboratories advanced microsystems business lead Heather Spalding enjoys working with Bowie, her service-dog-in-training, spending time with her husband Cassidy, baking and reading. (Photo by Craig Fritz) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Spalding works in Sandia’s Integrated Business Management Center for the advanced microsystems and quantum sciences groups and recently was promoted to principal staff. By day, she partners with leadership to provide project and financial management, as well as support for strategy, corporate policy, business needs and customer management. Heather also mentors several junior staff members and serves as an instructor for Sandia’s business school, which helps train employees on financial management and systems.

In addition to her work duties, Spalding advocates for diversity in Sandia’s workforce, equality in corporate policy and how unique abilities help to create stronger, more effective teams.

“Heather actively serves as a member of her group’s diversity and inclusion team helping to pilot a corporate program and as co-chair for the Abilities Champions of Sandia, an employee resource group,” said nominator Victoria Newton on behalf of Sandia’s Abilities Champions Award Selection Committee. “She educates leadership and staff on the importance of diversity and disability inclusion through partnership with Labs leadership, presentations, speakers, events and community.”

Spalding said she wants to help people with disabilities be successful at Sandia. “I hope to make things easier for others with disabilities to get the support they need without having to seek it out themselves. I want to be their advocate,” she said. “Thankfully, I’ve had fantastic support from every level of management in the division.”

After hours, Spalding is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico and works directly with Albuquerque’s homeless population in harm-reduction programs. She also is active in the community of autistic women and support groups for individuals with connective-tissue disorders.

Sandia National Laboratories advanced microsystems business lead Heather Spalding and her service-dog-in-training Bowie share a special moment of affection. (Photo by Craig Fritz) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

“This award means a lot to me because it also recognizes that disabled professionals have an impact on their communities,” Spalding said. “We’re a part of the communities that we live in.”

Sandia among top 20 equal opportunity employers

Along with Spalding’s award, Sandia was named as one of the 2022 readers’ choice Top 20 Government Employers for Equal Opportunity.

According to CAREERS & the disABLED magazine, the employers being recognized this year understand how tapping the talent of people with disabilities and bringing their diversity of thought and experience into the fold of their business pushes innovation and creates a competitive edge in the domestic and global marketplace.

“I’m really proud of the work that my management team and all of Sandia are doing to break down barriers that people in the disabled community and other minority groups have always faced,” Spalding said. “Disability isn’t a dirty word. With support from our workplace colleagues and leadership, and our communities, we can own our disabilities and be successful with them.”

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: Luke Frank,, (505) 377-5620