After four decades of federal service, NNSA Sandia Field Office (SFO) Manager Jeff Harrell retired July 31. During the week prior to his retirement, he celebrated his extensive career at a picnic held in his honor with the SFO employees who have been like an extended family.
SFO serves as the federal oversight for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as its secondary site in Livermore, California, and other locations including the Kauai Test Facility in Hawaii; the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada; and activities in Carlsbad, New Mexico; Amarillo, Texas; and Minneapolis. As manager, Harrell was responsible for the overall administration of the management and operating contract and the operations of Sandia as well as the day-to-day administration of the SFO. He was also responsible for the stewardship of the NNSA Albuquerque Complex.
Serving as the Manager of the Sandia Field Office has been a highlight of my federal service. Getting to know everyone at the field office personally and being able to lead the team for the past six years has been an honor. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to conclude my career.
“Serving as the Manager of the Sandia Field Office has been a highlight of my federal service,” Harrell said. “Getting to know everyone at the field office personally and being able to lead the team for the past six years has been an honor. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to conclude my career.”
One of Harrell’s most notable accomplishments as SFO Manager was the successful transition of the $3.1 billion annual management and operating contract for Sandia from the Sandia Corporation – which was run by Lockheed Martin – to National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC – which is run by Honeywell – in 2017. The contract had been with Sandia Corporation since 1993, so this was an unprecedented contract transition that was performed on time and without a major security or safety incident.
Another significant achievement for Harrell was his role in the construction of a new Albuquerque Complex facility. He successfully spearheaded and oversaw the efforts that led to the groundbreaking in 2018 for the soon-to-be-completed John A. Gordon Albuquerque Complex.
“Federal employees working in 70-year-old facilities was a serious issue that had existed for several decades,” said SFO Deputy Manager Mike Duvall. “Jeff championed the effort to build a new Albuquerque Complex resulting in the construction of a LEED Gold, 330,000-square-foot facility for 1,200 DOE and NNSA Enterprise staff that will be completed this fall.”
Harrell’s legacy of superior leadership also includes a detail to the Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security and the Chief of Defense Nuclear Security position in 2012. After a security failure at the Y-12 National Security Complex, he was called upon to help assess problems within NNSA security and initiate corrective actions. His testimony before the congressional committees investigating the security breach began the process of restoring confidence in NNSA by both Congress and the American people.
In 2009, Harrell served as the Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Secure Transportation (OST). He was responsible for the work of 625 federal employees and about 300 contractor employees, a $250 million budget, and ensuring the safety and security of nuclear weapons and materials that move across our Nation. Prior to OST, Harrell was the Director of the DOE’s National Training Center, which provides training in safeguards and security, safety, foreign interaction, and counterintelligence.
“Jeff has demonstrated nothing but the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and commitment to the mission and the people he leads,” said Dr. Charles P. Verdon, former Acting Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, and current Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. “Jeff’s dedication to the national security mission has been resolute and unparalleled.”
Harrell is a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned a master’s degree from Troy State University and was a National Defense Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He retired from the Air Force in 2006, with his last assignment as the Vice Commander of the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, New Mexico. He also served as a Fighter Squadron Commander, the Inspector General for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, and was a Command Pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours, including over 100 combat hours in the F-16.
Upon retirement, Harrell received the Department of Energy Secretary’s Meritorious Service Award, NNSA Administrator’s Distinguished Service Gold Award, and the NNSA’s Distinguished Career Service Award in recognition of his achievements.