ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — A radar systems manager at Sandia National Laboratories who is committed to encouraging youths to pursue science and technology careers has been named 2012 Engineer of the Year by the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC).
Steve Castillo, manager of Sandia’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Engineering & Decision Support group, has received HENAAC’s highest accolade, which recognizes leadership and technical or scientific achievements.
Castillo received the Engineer of the Year award at the organization’s annual conference in Orlando, Fla. HENAAC was established in 1989 to honor the contributions of outstanding Hispanic American science, engineering, technology and math professionals.
“We are very pleased that Steve is being recognized for his outstanding technical and professional achievements. He exemplifies the innovation and skills that have shaped Sandia as a place that is providing solutions to the nation’s most pressing challenges. And just as important, he demonstrates the qualities that help make Sandia the learning, engaging and inclusive environment that it is,” President and Labs Director Paul Hommert said. “I know that I speak for all Sandia employees when I say that we are proud of him.”
Presenting the award on behalf of HENAAC was Marillyn Hewson, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Electronic Systems business area and chair of the Sandia Corporation board of directors. “At a national laboratory regarded worldwide for its science and engineering work, Dr. Castillo represents the best of the best,” Hewson said. “During his impressive career, he has been an innovative researcher, inspiring college professor and effective academic administrator.”
Castillo, who grew up in Belen, N.M., joined Sandia in 2011 following a 24-year career in academia. Prior to joining Sandia, Castillo was executive vice president of the Colorado School of Mines in Golden and a professor and dean at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces.
As a Sandia manager, Castillo is contributing to the technical vision for Sandia’s radar and decision support systems efforts, initiated the development of a mentoring and training program for engineers new to his group and is contributing to an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program that is having an impact on combat military personnel.
“I really enjoy the demanding, fast pace of the work in [my group], the high quality of the technical staff I get to work with and the tremendous national security mission impact our systems have,” he said.
Castillo obtained a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from NMSU. After working at the AT&T Bell Lab facility in Denver, he earned a Master of Science degree and doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana.
Castillo became a professor at NMSU and, in 2004, was appointed dean of the NMSU College of Engineering.
During his career there, he taught more than 3,000 students, and graduated eight doctoral and 22 graduate students, while remaining deeply involved in research. He was lead author or contributor on scores of technical papers, focusing on electromagnetic theory, electromagnetic interference problems, numerical solution of electromagnetic problems, high performance computing and computational linear algebra.
And Castillo continues to volunteer his time to work with young people and encourage them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“I tell any young person that a career in STEM will give them the opportunity to be involved in the creation of wealth and a better standard of living for our society or even provide for the security of our country, and at the same time, pay them well enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle,” he said.
Castillo serves on the engineering, math and science board of directors of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers/Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology and was a member of the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation Advisory Group to encourage under-represented groups to pursue engineering degrees.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin company, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 844-3511