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LANL Foundation welcomes new board members

LANL Foundation new board members Kathryn Harris Tijerina, Wilmer Chavarria, Thom Mason, Gary Falle and Tania Sanchez

Española, NM — Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation is pleased to welcome new members of its Board of Directors: Wilmer Chavarria, Gary Falle, Thom Mason and Tania Sanchez, and returning member Kathryn Harris Tijerina.

“Our new strategic plan is focused on growing and retaining local educators; supporting the social emotional needs of educators, students and young children; improving learning across the education spectrum with emphasis on STEM; and strengthening college and career pathways. It is important to us that our board members reflect the communities we serve, while bringing leadership and vision to our organization.” said Jenny Parks, LANL Foundation, president and CEO. “Our newest board members are welcome additions who bring a depth and breadth of experience and knowledge to our team.”

LANL Foundation’s Board of Directors is an active, dedicated group of professionals who oversee all investment and budgetary functions of the organization. The Executive Committee meets every six weeks and the full Board convenes quarterly, working closely with Foundation staff to ensure that ongoing goals and programs are in alignment with the strategic plan.


Wilmer Chavarria is Principal at ETS Fairview Elementary School in Española and a former English Language Arts teacher at Española Valley High School. He is originally from Nicaragua and calls Chimayó home.

Gary Falle is the Senior Advisor to University of California (UC) National Laboratories at in the UC Office of the President who joined the UC Office of Federal Governmental Relations in 2005 and served as Associate Vice President. Prior to joining UC, he was focused in international business consulting and served as Chief of Staff to Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and as Acting Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Falle resides in Washington, D.C.

Thom Mason joined the LANL Foundation Board as an ex officio member when he became Director of LANL and President and CEO of Triad National Security, LLC under the Laboratory management contract in November, 2018. Triad is a Limited Liability Company comprised of The Regents of UC, the Texas A&M University System, and Battelle Memorial Institute, an Ohio nonprofit corporation. Prior to becoming Director of the Lab, Mason worked for Battelle as Senior Vice President for Global Laboratory Operations and spent much of his prior career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including 10 years as its Director. Mason is a resident of Santa Fe.

Tania Sanchez, of Santa Fe, has spent 17 years working at the Lab, now serving as Chief of Staff for the Network and Infrastructure Engineering Division. She is former City Councilor for the City of Española where she was born and raised. Her commitment to community and education may be seen through her service on the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund advisory committee, the It Takes a Valley community outreach forum and the Girls on the Run program inspiring young girls to be healthy and confident.

Kathryn Harris Tijerina, of Santa Fe, is an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation from southwestern Oklahoma. She is a member of the Bar Association of Washington, D.C. and worked for the Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, directed natural resources for the State of New Mexico, served on the Albuquerque Mayor's Cabinet as Director for Cultural and Recreational Services and was the Executive Director of the Railyard Stewards.  

“The LANL Foundation Board of Directors brings together experienced leaders in public and higher education, business and nonprofit sectors, reflective of our communities and local culture. Our new members bring a fresh perspective to our organizational goals. We’re excited to continue this work in collaboration with the staff and in partnership with stakeholders and those we serve to make a deep impact on education in Northern New Mexico,” said Hervey Juris, board chair. 

LANL Foundation board members serve for three-year terms. Current members are as follows.

Executive Committee Members are:

  • Chair Hervey Juris of Santa Fe is Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School.
  • Vice Chair Elmer C. Torres of San Ildefonso Pueblo is former Pueblo Governor and former Tribal Liaison Director in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Government Relations Office
  • Treasurer Bill Wadt of Los Alamos is retired from management at Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Secretary Denise Thronas of Ohkay Owingeh is a First Line Manager for the Actinide Engineering and Science Group at LANL.
  • Immediate Past President Nan Sauer of Los Alamos is the Associate Director for Chemistry, Life, and Earth Sciences at LANL. 
  • At Large Member Robert Coombe of Santa Fe is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver.
  • At Large Member Jeannie Oakes of Santa Fe is Senior Fellow in Residence at the Learning Policy Institute

Members at Large are:

  • Tamara Bates of Santa Fe is a development consultant and was most recently a Financial Advisor at UBS.
  • Billie Blair of Santa Fe is a consultant in media and marketing.
  • John Gulas of Santa Fe is formerly the President of Los Alamos National Bank, now known as Enterprise Bank and Trust.
  • Barry Herskowitz of Santa Fe is a retired CPA and former Assistant Professor of Accounting at Marymount Manhattan College. 
  • Wayne Kennedy of La Jolla, Calif. is former Senior Vice President of UC. 
  • Brenda Romero of Española is Administrator and previous Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services at Española Hospital.
  • Patricia Trujillo of Española is director of Northern New Mexico College’s Office of Equity and Diversity.