Former WSMR commander to take over NMSU physical science lab


LAS CRUCES – Retired Army Brig. General Eric L. Sanchez believes that teamwork and trust are two important elements in leading an organization. Sanchez plans to apply this philosophy as the new director of the physical science lab at New Mexico State University.

After three decades of military service, Sanchez, who graduated from NMSU in 1987, joined PSL in October 2019 as deputy director. He succeeds Jim Chavez, who stepped down as director in mid-June.

“Eric is an exceptional leader who is already leading many efforts at PSL, understands the mission and programs, has been prepared and is positioned for a smooth transition,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “He has the baggage, the experience and the vision to move PSL in the right direction.

Ret.  The army brigadier.  General Eric L. Sanchez, who graduated from New Mexico State University in 1987, has been appointed director of the Physical Sciences Laboratory at NMSU.

Sanchez led White Sands Missile Range from August 2016 until his retirement two years later. He grew up in Santa Fe and met his wife, Teresa, while each was attending NMSU.

Founded by NMSU in 1946, PSL has supported various government and private sector scientific and technical activities in the United States and around the world through research contracts and agreements. Sanchez wants to keep this tradition alive while encouraging employees and improving equipment.

“In order to create new opportunities, which we are trying to do, you also need to invest in your organization,” he said.

Sanchez also plans to revive student programs and improve interaction with faculty. Currently, PSL staff are preparing this fall for the Classified Ready Employee Workforce program, which is a talent development program for undergraduate and graduate students. CREW programs allow students to gain national security experience and security clearance.

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“We are looking for research opportunities with faculty and also looking at potential joint appointments,” Sanchez said. “We try to bring in different researchers from the faculty, so that they are not afraid to cross the street and have conversations with us. “

While PSL was created in response to the country’s space and rocket programs, the current focus is on electronic warfare, countermeasures, cyber, telemetry and missile systems, aerospace and ballooning. scientist. In addition, PSL operates an FAA-approved unmanned aerial systems flight test site at Las Cruces Airport.

Sanchez said PSL is also working with local organizations such as the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and the Las Cruces Economic Development Department to boost business development opportunities in the region.

“We work closely with these two organizations. We have unique capabilities here at PSL. We also have a facility where we can do classified work. We have the space to be able to do some pretty innovative things, ”Sanchez said. “They also help us and help connect the dots.”

Tiffany Acosta writes for Marketing and Communications at New Mexico State University and can be reached at 575-646-3929, [email protected]

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