Sandia Labs News Releases

Security professional at Sandia nationally recognized with annual NNSA award

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories security professional Paulette Solis has received the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Bradley A. Peterson Contractor Security Professional of the Year Award.

Sandia National Laboratories security professional Paulette Solis has been awarded the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Bradley A. Peterson Contractor Security Professional of the Year Award. (Photo by Randy Montoya) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

This year’s federal honoree is Susan Christian-Payne of the Nevada Field Office, who received the NNSA’s Bradley A. Peterson Federal Security Professional of the Year Award.

The awards recognize one federal and one contractor employee whose contributions to security programs within the NNSA enterprise exemplify excellence and commitment. Solis and Christian-Payne will receive formal recognition at an upcoming ceremony.

“Ms. Christian-Payne and Ms. Solis exemplify NNSA’s commitment in improving and enhancing its security across the enterprise,” said Doug Dearolph, NNSA acting chief and associate administrator for the Office of Defense Nuclear Security. “I applaud the dedication of Susan and Paulette for their commitment in helping to protect NNSA’s resources. Our security culture continues to see improvement in accountability and vigilance as we continue to implement controls that expand accountability and cooperation across the enterprise.”

Sandia Chief Security Officer and Vice President of Infrastructure Operations Michael Hazen said Solis is “simply outstanding” and a perfect selection to win the contractor award.

“Paulette is a positive leader who inspires the cooperation and confidence of others by her sincere and selfless service to people and mission,” Hazen said. “How proud we all are.”

With more than 20 years of experience, Solis exemplifies the consummate security professional. In her position as team lead for Contract Security Management and Badge Office/Clearance Office, Solis is a strong believer in continuous improvement and program integration.

Her efforts in 2013 resulted in cost savings and avoidance of close to half a million dollars and improved performance with shortened processing times for clearances with fewer rejections.

Solis also is actively building the next generation of security professionals and leaders. She has fostered a learning environment for her staff and promoted an interdisciplinary and integrated program that allows for process improvements while ensuring sound security principles are applied.

Under her leadership, 10 lean six sigma events were supported and one of her staff was nominated for Green Belt of the Year. As a result of her wide recognition for mentoring and leadership in sharing lessons learned, she was asked to be a facilitator and trainer for the Franklin Covey course “Leading at the Speed of Trust.”

“I am honored and humbled to win the award. I have a really great team, and this award is the culmination of six years’ worth of work,” Solis said. “We redesigned the program and went from being considered marginal to being best in class. Most important is the growth the team experienced and the growth I experienced. I’m not the same person today as a leader that I was when I first got the job.”

Solis said she had a very supportive management team that motivated her and provided feedback.

“It wasn’t always easy, which makes this recognition more meaningful. There’s a great sense of satisfaction,” she said.

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