2015 Pioneer Leadership Award Recipient

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PERSONAL DATA:  Born August 7, 1962 in French Camp, California.   Considers the California San Joaquin Valley to be his home.

EDUCATION:  B.S., Electrical Engineering, University of the Pacific, 1984.

M.S., Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of California- Santa Barbara, 1986.

ORGANIZATIONS:       Institute  of  Electrical  and  Electronic   Engineers   (IEEE), Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

SPECIAL  HONORS:    Ph.D.  Science,  University  of the  Pacific  (honoris  causa), 2006. NASA Service  Awards  (2002,  2003),  Lawrence  Livermore  National Laboratory “Outstanding Engineer Award” (2001), Upward Bound National TRIO Achiever  Award  (2001),  U.S.  Department  of  Energy  “Outstanding  Performance Commendation” (2000), Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) “Medalla de Oro” recipient for professional and community contributions (1999), Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award, “Outstanding Technical Contribution”  (1995),  Graduate  Engineering  Minority  Fellow  (GEM)  (1985),  and  Eta  Kappa  Nu  Electrical  Engineering Honor Society member.

EXPERIENCE:  1987-2001 were spent at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California.

19871991   Electronics Engineer, Material Analysis Group.   Refined signal and image processing skills for applications in radar imaging, computed tomography, acoustic imaging and other non-destructive evaluation techniques.

19911994    Electronics  Engineer,  Chemistry  and  Material  Science  Group.    Developed  quantitative  x-ray  film  imaging analysis techniques that allowed the characterization of low-density materials for use in the development of an X-Ray laser as part of the Strategic Defense Initiative Program.  Developed material x-ray transport models that allowed for the development of human tissue absorbed dose models useful for medical imaging applications.

19941996    Group  Leader,  Chemistry  and  Material  Science  Group.    Managed  the  career  development  of  twenty-nine professional  technical  staff  members  who  supported  chemistry  and  materials  science  research  activities.    Identified  and developed  the  Group’s  programmatic  research  support  opportunities.    Carried  out  own  research  activities  as a principal investigator in the area of x-ray physics and image processing.

19961999     Deputy   Program   Manager,   Highly   Enriched   Uranium   Implementation   Program.     Responsible   for  the implementation  of a signed bilateral  agreement  between  the U.S. and Russian  Federation  for the U.S. purchase  of highly enriched uranium  (HEU) in the form of low enriched uranium  (LEU) derived from the dismantlement  of Russian nuclear weapons.   Responsibilities  included utilizing national laboratory resources for the purpose of ensuring the U.S. government that the LEU purchased  was derived  from dismantled  nuclear  weapons.   This was accomplished  by developing  technical training modules for U.S. multi-lab and multi-agency experts, which allowed them to visit Russian facilities and effectively perform   inspections   in   accordance   to   U.S.-Russian   signed   agreements,   protocols   and   annexes.      Fiscal   planning responsibilities for the $16 Million multi-lab implementation budget and direct oversight of the $6 million annual budget for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory component.

19992001   Program  Manager,  Office of International  Material  Protection  and Emergency  Cooperation.   On a two-year change-of-station assignment at the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.  Managed the integration and allocation of Department of Energy assets and expertise, including the national laboratories and contractors, in planning, directing, and implementing U.S. cooperation with the Russian Federation in the program of Nuclear Materials, Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A).   Developed and implemented  policies, strategies and plans and objectives to enhance U.S. national security  and  reduce  threat  of  nuclear  proliferation  and  nuclear  terrorism.    These  goals  were  accomplished  by  rapidly improving  the security of large quantities  of attractive,  weapons-usable  nuclear material at the closed Ministry  of Atomic Energy  (MinAtom)  cities  that compromise  Russia’s  nuclear  weapons  complex.  Proposed,  defended  and  executed  annual budget  of over  $14  million  to support  extensive  engineering,  technical  safety,  security,  and  environmental  research  and policy development with regard to MPC&A at three of the seven MinAtom sites.

NASA EXPERIENCE:  In 2001, Hernandez joined the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas.

Mar  01  – Jan  02   Materials  Research  Engineer,  Materials    &  Processes  Branch.    Developed,  evaluated,  and  selected advanced  structural  materials  to  aircraft  and  spacecraft  structures  and  their  power  and  propulsion  systems.  Conducted research  in basic  engineering  materials  and  apply  general  engineering  mechanics  principles  to define  material  behavior. Designed and fielded radiation effects experiments for electronic hardware. Served as the Engineering Directorate’s liaison on the electrical wire integrity interagency working group.

Jan 02 – Jun 04   Branch Chief, Materials,  & Processes Branch.   Materials and Processes (M&P) branch chief within the Structural Engineering  Division. Duties included managing the careers of 30 professional  civil servants with diverse set of skills  in materials  science.  Also serve  as the overall  technical  monitor  of contractor  support  that included  more  than 20 contractors. Responsible for the oversight of the branch’s activities in the areas of materials and processes, fracture control, non destructive  evaluation,  failure analysis,  and nano materials  research.  More specifically,  managed  branch  resources  to address materials usage issues with respect to flammability, toxicity, contamination, space environment compatibility, and corrosion.  Materials  testing and fracture  control analysis  of flight and non-flight  hardware  were also significant  activities within the branch. Served as the project lead for the development  of a space qualified borescope  for future on-orbit EVA inspection applications.

Selected by NASA in May 2004.  In February 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training that included space science and technical  training,  intensive  instruction  in Space Shuttle  Fleet and International  Space Station  systems,  physiological training,  T-34C  and  T-38  flight  training,  and  water  and  wilderness  survival  training.    Hernandez  was  assigned  to  the Astronaut Office Shuttle Branch supporting  Shuttle launch and landing preparations at Kennedy Space Center.  He departed NASA in January 2011.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE:   STS-128 Discovery (August 28 to September 11, 2009) was the 128th  Shuttle mission and the 30th mission to the International Space Station.   While at the orbital outpost, Jose served as the flight engineer and one of two principal robotic arm operators.  The STS-128  crew rotated an expedition  crewmember,  attached the Leonardo Multi-Purpose  Logistics Module (MPLM), and transferred over 18,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the station and conducted three spacewalks.   The STS-128 mission was accomplished  in 217 orbits of the Earth, traveling over 5.7 million miles in 332 hours and 53 minutes and returned to land at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Oct  10 – Jan 11     Trained as Mission Control Capsule Communicator and also on detail at NASA Headquarters’ Office of Legislative an Intergovernmental  affairs where he helped develop space policy, NASA’s overall budget and interacted with congressional members and promoted the President’s new vision on Space Exploration.

Feb 11 – Oct 11     Employed as the Executive Director for Strategic Operations at MEI Technologies Inc. (MEIT) located in Houston, TX.

Oct 11 – Present     Candidate for the U.S. 10th California Congressional District.