Sandia Labs News Releases

Sandia helps Las Positas College manufacture the future

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Sandia National Laboratories, with the support of the National Nuclear Security Administration, has donated machinery and attachments to Las Positas College in Livermore, supporting the expansion of a cutting-edge manufacturing program. Those machines will help train the next generation of California students in the art of fabricating new things from raw materials.

Manufacturing engineer Chris Bergh, who spearheaded the donation, emphasized the importance of providing students with real-world experience.

“If you’re going to teach, you want to teach what’s happening in the real world,” Bergh said. “This is going to give them the ability there, especially with such a well-known U.S. brand, to learn this machine and then translate into the real world much easier using those technologies.”

Chris Bergh in front of CNC machines

Two CNC machines donated by Sandia National Laboratories installed at the new Advanced Manufacturing building at Las Positas College. (Photo courtesy of Chris Bergh.) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

The donation includes two Haas VF-2 computerized numeric controls and a coordinate measuring machine, along with all necessary attachments — tool holders, power transformers and trunnions. These state-of-the-art machines, valued at more than $220,000 if new, will allow students to gain hands-on experience in vertical machining and precision measurement.

“Las Positas is not only one of the best junior colleges in California, it’s one of the best in the nation,” Bergh said. “I think their program is going to be well received.”

Bergh believes the new program can help recapture something he perceives has been lost.

“As a country, we used to be innovators and producers,” he said. “We don’t repair things anymore. It’s cheaper to buy the widget because it’s completely made than take it out and fix it,” he said. “We were the industrial drivers of the world, and we’ve really gotten away from that, and other countries have seized that. Take an electric vehicle: the motor was made on a CNC machine, and the components in there were made by a machinist. Even the computer gets put together on an automated system that was made by a machinist.”

Now some of those machinists will have been educated by Las Positas College.

cmm machine

The coordinate measuring machine donated by Sandia National Laboratories to Las Positas College will help train inspectors to evaluate machined parts. (Photo by Chris Bergh.) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

“We are very grateful for our partnership with Sandia National Laboratories and their generous donation of CNC machines, which not only provides valuable cutting-edge equipment to our college but also aligns perfectly with our mission to equip students with the skills needed to succeed in today’s manufacturing industry,” said college president Dyrell Foster.

The donation represents a significant investment in the future of manufacturing and highlights the importance of hands-on training in today’s technological landscape. With access to cutting-edge equipment, students at Las Positas College will be well-equipped to meet the challenges of modern manufacturing in service to the national interest.

Bergh said he is excited to help students enter a profession he loves, where someone like him gets to manufacture things that protect a nation and usher in the future.

“I have parts in orbit around the world — it’s exciting,” he said. “We see the need in manufacturing, and Las Positas can help train the next generation. Manufacturing helped put a man on the Moon and beyond.”

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: Michael Langley,, 925-305-0437