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Mr. David Samuel has worked at Sandia National Laboratories for more than 40 years, the last 20 as the mechanical designer in a nuclear facility.

A top R&D computer-aided designer,  he has contributed to hundreds of hardware designs.

Sandia Labs is one of the Department of Energy’s nine national laboratories. The lab works to address challenges in energy resources, and transportation.

Outside of work, Mr. Samuel volunteers as a judge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) events and takes part in Habitat for Humanity projects.

“I remember picking cotton to pay for clothes and schoolbook rentals,” he said at the 2018 BEYA STEM Conference. “From that to working as a farm hand weekends and summers.

“As I grew older I picked up an interest in sketching. Then my industrial arts teacher introduced me to drafting. I was amazed I could take a blank paper and transform it into a design,” he added.  Continuing along this path, he later moved to mechanical and three-dimensional CAD drawings.

After taking some programming classes at work, he volunteered to help, then lead an afterschool class in computer literacy for an outreach program.

“Lately I volunteer as a judge for the Electric Car Challenge,” he said.

Sandia sponsors programs such as the New Mexico Middle School Electric Car Challenge. The competition consists of a battery-powered model car race and design presentation.

Mr. Samuel won the 2018 William R. Wiley Legacy Award at the BEYA STEM Conference because of his dedication to making technology work in a national laboratory.

The William Wiley Legacy Award is named after the 1994 Black Engineer of the Year. He was a scientist, researcher, administrator, educator, and leader who was responsible for research development at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest Laboratory,  a partner laboratory of Sandia.

When Mr. Samuel isn’t working he has a first-gen Firebird that he’s updating as a ‘factory rest-o-mod’, adding modern factory parts to create a car that’s safer to drive and maintain.”

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