Sandia deputy director to head national aeronautics institute

By Michael J. Baker

Photography By Randy Montoya

Friday, May 21, 2021

Laura McGill to replace Labs’ deputy chief research officer as AIAA’s president

Laura McGill
NEW LEADER — Laura McGill, Sandia’s deputy labs director and chief technology officer for nuclear deterrence, has been elected the next president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics have elected Laura McGill, Sandia’s deputy labs director and chief technology officer for nuclear deterrence, as the society’s next president. 

After an AIAA board of trustees meeting on May 19, Laura began a yearlong stint as president-elect of the institute that represents nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries and 100 corporate members to advance engineering and science in aviation, space and defense.

“As an engineer with a lifelong excitement for everything related to aerospace, I am honored to serve in this role,” Laura said.

“For more than 40 years, I’ve benefitted from my AIAA membership and opportunities to work with the best minds of our industry,” she said. “I look forward to enhancing the personal and technical growth of our members, while helping to realize an even more promising future for this great institute.”

Laura will serve a two-year term as president beginning May 2022. She will replace Sandia’s Deputy Chief Research Officer Basil Hassan as AIAA’s president.

“Laura and I have had a long working relationship of more than 25 years in AIAA,” Basil said. “Having her follow me will provide a lot of consistency. We have similar visions for the institute and the transition should be seamless.”

In 2007, Laura was elected a fellow of the institute and has been an active member for 40 years, leading and participating in several AIAA executive and technical committees. She was a member of the board of directors and trustees from 2005-2018.

Laura joined Sandia earlier this year after more than three decades in the defense industry. Before joining Sandia, Laura served as deputy vice president of engineering at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business with 30,000 employees, including 15,000 engineers and scientists. In 2019, she was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering.

At Sandia, Laura leads the Labs in establishing modern engineering tools and practices for all nuclear deterrence programs and projects. She is responsible for meeting Sandia’s nuclear deterrence deliverables.