2013 Laboratory Director of the Year Mid-Continent
As Director of Sandia National Laboratories, Dr. Paul Hommert understands the need to maintain a strong science, technology, and engineering base in order to deliver on mission requirements and commitments. Dr. Hommert has been a strong advocate for the overarching Department of Energy (DOE) strategic objectives that call for innovation that helps to strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and improve the quality of life through science and engineering breakthroughs.
Over the years, Sandia’s missions relating to national security have expanded beyond weapons and defense to offer industry, academia, and other organizations access to a broad array of technologies and expertise in a number of disciplines, ranging from life and physical sciences to microelectronics and information systems. Having an engineering background and professional experience in both national laboratories and the private sector, Dr. Hommert understands the importance of partnerships and technology transfer from all sides. This knowledge contributed to his vital role in developing a successful new intellectual property (IP) initiative as one of his priorities after becoming Laboratories Director in 2010.
The IP Lifecycle Initiative encourages scientists and managers to participate in the technology transfer process. The Initiative promotes IP management throughout its life cycle and asks Sandia employees to think about IP development, protection, and deployment much earlier in the project life cycle than has traditionally been done. The Initiative works with ongoing technology transfer programs such as the Entrepreneurial Separation for Technology Transfer (ESTT) Program, which allows Sandia employees to leave the Labs to start up new technology companies or help expand existing companies. To date, there have been 46 ESTT startup companies, 49 ESTT expansion companies, 142 Sandia employees who have left the Labs to start up or help expand a business, and 42 licenses associated with these companies.
Dr. Hommert has been actively engaged in promoting community involvement and industry interchange, taking part in a number of public events. In September 2012, the first annual Sandia Research & Technology Showcase was held in Albuquerque, featuring cutting-edge research and technology development taking place at Sandia and providing information on doing business with the Labs. The event attracted almost 400 attendees, including industry representatives from throughout New Mexico as well as companies from 11 other states. As a result of the Showcase, there were 21 new New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) prospects. The NMSBA Program assists small businesses in New Mexico with solving technical challenges and gaining knowledge from Sandia laboratory experts at no cost.