Edward Ordonez, a security specialist at the NNSA Sandia Field Office, was recently awarded the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2019 Outstanding Security Professional of the Year.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced the 2019 Outstanding Security Award winners on Oct. 20. Ordonez was recognized for exceling in the performance of his duties in support of the Department's security missions.
“The Department of Energy's security mission is critical to ensure the protection of our national resources,” said Brouillette. “I am truly thankful to all the members of our security team and extend my sincere appreciation to all those who dedicate their careers to the protection of these resources.”
As the federal program manager for Protective Force operations at Sandia National Laboratories, Ordonez is responsible for the performance of protective forces at Sandia’s locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California. During recent testing of protective force operations, Ordonez identified and took immediate corrective actions when it was discovered that incorrect ammunition was being used. A causal analysis was conducted and corrective actions were implemented. Ordonez shared lessons learned from this incident with others across the Nuclear Security Enterprise to help prevent it at other sites.
Ordonez also plays a key role in the annual full-scale active shooter exercise at Sandia. The exercise requires extensive planning as well as coordination with multiple mutual aid organizations including Kirtland Air Force Base, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ordonez’s ability to interact and partner with senior management at multiple organizations was instrumental in the success of the 2019 joint training exercise.
“Ed consistently exceeds expectations,” said Cliff Gordon, the field office's assistant manager for Safeguards and Security. “He is a true asset to our security operation, enabling the field office and NNSA to maintain awareness of security operations at all Sandia’s locations.”
Ordonez actively seeks out opportunities to expand his career and has taken on assignments outside of Safeguards and Security. In May 2019, Ordonez successfully completed the NNSA Mid-Level Leadership Development Program. He also led the governance peer review effort, which is instrumental in NNSA’s efforts to document and formulate a strategic vision of standardizing field office operations and oversight practices. Additionally, he was competitively selected for, and successfully completed the Leadership New Mexico Program in 2017 alongside officials from other government agencies. The leadership program is designed to create a collaborative network that enhances the ability of the field office to process mutual assistance and support service agreements with other Federal and State entities.
In March 2019, Ordonez acquired a position to support the U.S. government’s interagency cooperative partnership as the DOE’s representative to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. He spent six weeks on this assignment, which provided him with a working knowledge and understanding of the DOE mission space in international relations. While in Ukraine, Ordonez served as the sole DOE representative at a meeting on the construction of a Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The spent nuclear fuel storage facility is intended to serve as Ukraine’s long term storage disposition of used fuel from three of Ukraine's four nuclear power plants. The CSFSF is intended to bolster Ukraine’s security independence and will allow it to avoid having to incur millions of dollars in costs to ship and store used nuclear fuel to Russia, as is currently done.
Also during his assignment in Ukraine, Ordonez volunteered to serve as the U.S. Embassy’s International Election Observer - the sole American representative assigned to the Kirovohrad Oblast (region). On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, Ordonez and a local interpreter employed by the U.S. Agency for International Development visited 13 polling stations throughout the city of Kropyvnytskyi on the day of the Ukrainian Presidential elections. Their mission was to observe the election process and relay situational awareness reports back to the U.S. Embassy regarding the political process, including any irregularities or security concerns. As an international observer, Ordonez’s intent was to validate the election process as free, fair and peaceful, reflecting the will of the Ukrainian people.
“It is a great honor to receive this award. I am among a great cadre of security professionals, each one deserving of recognition. I share this with all my security counterparts, both federal and contractor, as we all effectively enable the mission,” said Ordonez. “Being a part of the NNSA family has instilled me with a greater sense of purpose and empowerment that drives me to continue to grow and challenge myself.”
It is a great honor to receive this award. I am among a great cadre of security professionals, each one deserving of recognition. I share this with all my security counterparts, both federal and contractor, as we all effectively enable the mission.