Rodney Wilson, former director of Sandia’s Center for Global Security and Cooperation, received the National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator’s Distinguished Service Gold Award in recognition of his leadership and service to advance NNSA programs.
The plaque, signed by former Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, recognized Wilson’s contributions to programs focused on improving the security of the United States and creating a more peaceful international community and thanked him for his service to the NNSA, Department of Energy and the nation.
“Rodney Wilson is so deserving of this award,” said Gary Laughlin, a Sandia program director. “It’s a recognition of his intellect applied to and for NNSA’s broad missions underpinned by a well-managed career in which he materially contributed to nuclear weapons, independent analysis, nuclear emergency response, nuclear security, defense nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear policy and engineering sciences — all while working at Sandia. His is an example of the opportunity available to all Sandia employees, whether they choose to focus deeply in a given area or to contribute by integrating across multiple programs and disciplines for an entire career.”
Labs Director James Peery virtually presented the award to Wilson this fall.
“It was unexpected, wonderful, really rewarding for me and humbling,” Wilson said. “I want to share my thanks with those responsible for the nomination and the many people I’ve had the privilege to work with during my 40-year career.”
As the director of Sandia’s Center for Global Security and Cooperation, Wilson led work to develop systems engineering and technology solutions for government agencies responsible for nonproliferation and arms control, cooperative threat reduction and international security. He was responsible for conducting independent studies and analyses of issues affecting U.S. security, and for providing strategic program integration, decision-making and other technical support to the NNSA’s Defense Programs leadership.
Wilson says one of the defining moments of his career came in 2001 when the NNSA was created. He was asked, along with representatives from Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, to help shape what NNSA would become.
“The four of us, from day one, were providing the first briefing for the NNSA Administrator John Gordon to take to the president,” Wilson said. “Our organization also created the first five-year budget for NNSA and helped set things in motion. It was a really exciting time.”
Wilson retired in March this year and hopes to be able to come back to Sandia in the future to mentor new employees.