Sandia Labs News Releases

State safety award goes to Sandia engineer

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Luis G. Amezcua, a surveillance assessment engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, began his safety career in Mexico helping improve safety standards in the construction industry. His career has followed an interesting trajectory.

Amezcua received the New Mexico Safety Professional of the Year award from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) for two decades of safety work, including programs to ensure the safety of workers who are not native English speakers.

Photo of Luis Amezcua.

Luis Amezcua, a surveillance assessment engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, was named New Mexico Safety Professional of the Year by the American Society of Safety Engineers. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

His previous Sandia safety work included managing programs to implement safety procedures for defense projects and providing safety guidance and training on proper ventilation, fire protection, lighting and other measures for construction sites and offices.

Sandia Vice President of Infrastructure Operations Mike Hazen congratulated Amezcua on the recognition of his excellent work as a safety professional.

“Luis has throughout his career dedicated his work to protecting people by sharing his knowledge of safety engineering with all. He is a true safety professional,” Hazen said.

Amezcua grew up in Juarez, Mexico, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in environmental engineering from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez. A construction site scaffold accident at the beginning of his professional career resulted in two broken ankles and two years of rehabilitation after three surgeries.

Amezcua learned English and moved to the United States during his rehabilitation. He eventually joined Sandia in 2005. He earned a master’s degree in occupational safety management from what is now the University of Central Missouri and a doctorate in organization, information and learning sciences from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2013. His dissertation was about the relationships among language, culture, safety and training of construction workers in New Mexico.

Hard work, dedication to safety lead to award

In 2010, Amezcua was appointed president of the New Mexico chapter of the ASSE.

“I have overcome many obstacles through dedication, hard work and always striving to better myself,” Amezcua said. “From my perspective, this award provided a sense of closure to my formal education, my hard work and my passion for worker safety.”

In her endorsement letter for the award, Amezcua’s manager, Jennifer Franklin, recognized how his skills as a safety professional helped him in his current position, where he assesses the safety, security and reliability of nuclear weapons components and reviews procedures to ensure that weapons surveillance operations are conducted correctly and safely.

“Luis has a passion for safety education and recognizes the importance of creating a rich, safety-based learning culture in the workplace,” she said. “Luis has a genuine concern for the well-being of those around him and it shows through his behavior, work pursuits and passions.”

Amezcua has presented Spanish-language workshops for general contractors in New Mexico about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidance on relocating safety hazards, applying engineered controls to remaining hazards and effectively educating workers. He also works with Hispanic freshmen at UNM to motivate them to stay in school and obtain their degrees.

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