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Update: Hunter to Step Down as Sandia Head

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tom Hunter announced Thursday that he would step down July 9 as director of Sandia Labs after a 43-year career at the nuclear weapons research center.


Hunter will be replace at the head of one of Albuquerque’s largest employers by Paul Hommert, who currently heads Sandia’s nuclear weapons division.


Hunter leaves after shepherding Sandia through a delicate transition as it diversified away from a primary emphasis on nuclear weapons to a more diversified portfolio, especially with work for the Pentagon and the intelligence community.

Hunter’s performance triggered words of praise from local elected officials:


Tom Udall:

“Tom Hunter’s 34 year career at Sandia has been distinguished. Under his leadership, in addition to safeguarding the nation’s stockpile, Sandia expanded its work on groundbreaking energy research and cutting edge technology to combat terrorism. Even currently his reach and expertise are being utilized in tackling the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf.

“I join the entire Sandia community in thanking Dr. Hunter for his tremendous service to our state and nation, and by wishing him well in the next chapter of his life. I would also like to congratulate his successor, Dr. Paul Hommert, on his appointment as president and director of the lab. Like Dr. Hunter, Paul Hommert brings exceptional qualifications to the position and I look forward to working with him.”


Jeff Bingaman:

Hunter has been an outstanding engineer and leader for four decades at Sandia,
most recently as lab director.  I join in thanking him for his service and
wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Bingaman, who chairs the
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 


this week, I had an opportunity to meet with Dr. Hommert and came away
believing that he is extremely well qualified to head the lab.  He is not
only a strong advocate for Sandia’s continued pursuit of cutting-edge
science and engineering, he can also prepare the lab for the increased
responsibilities it will have under the new START treaty” he added.

Martin Heinrich:

“If you look at Tom Hunter’s career, we’re talking about 43 years at Sandia. The phrase that everyone thinks of when they think of Sandia is exceptional service in the national interest … and that applies to his career.”
Heinrich said Hunter was involved in “Sandia’s transition from (being) exclusively a national nuclear lab to what is the model of a national security lab in the broad sense. That’s an important evolution that is serving our country well.”


Previously: Tom Hunter will announce his retirement today as president of Sandia National Laboratories, to be replaced by Sandia weapons program head Paul Hommert.

The following note went out this morning to Sandia staff;


I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Paul J. Hommert as President of Sandia Corporation and Director of Sandia National Laboratories, effective July 9, 2010. Paul was selected following an extensive succession planning process conducted by the Board. He has an exceptional record of leadership and achievement over a 34 year career, and is uniquely qualified to lead the Labs into the future. Paul will report to me in my capacity as chairman of the board of Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin.

Paul will succeed Dr. Thomas O. Hunter, who has notified the Board of his decision to retire after a distinguished 43 year career at Sandia. Tom has led the Labs with distinction and with exceptional dedication to our nation and its security. His career has been marked by an overriding commitment to national service. 

Paul began his career with Sandia in 1976 and currently leads Sandia’s nuclear weapons program. He has extensive nuclear weapons and national security experience, including homeland security and energy research. Prior to his current role, Paul was vice president of Sandia’s California Laboratory and led Sandia’s homeland security and defense strategic management unit.

Paul’s career spans multiple institutions. He worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 2003 to 2006, where he led the Applied Physics Division, known as “X” division. Paul also worked for three years as the director of research and applied science at the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapon’s Establishment, which provides and maintains that nation’s nuclear deterrent.

Tom began his career with Sandia in 1967 and held a number of leadership roles, becoming President and Laboratories Director in 2005. During his tenure, Sandia has undergone significant change. The mission of the Labs expanded from developing technologies to sustain, modernize and protect the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, to a multi-mission focus on developing technology-based solutions and systems for a broad range of national security challenges. We will miss his experience and leadership at the Labs.

Please join the Sandia Corporation Board of Directors in congratulating Paul on his appointment as Laboratories Director and in thanking Tom for his years of service and dedication to Sandia, and to our nation’s security.