Johnathon Huff Appointed Jefferson Lab Chief Operating Officer

  • Johnathon Huff

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has appointed Johnathon Huff as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO is responsible for the business functions of Jefferson Lab, including business and finance, health and safety, human resources, procurement, facilities management, communications, legal and performance assurance. Huff will take on the responsibilities of this role in mid-June.

“I couldn’t be happier that Johnathon is joining Jefferson Lab,” said Jefferson Lab Director Stuart Henderson. “We are at a turning point as a lab as we work to diversify our mission. Johnathon is just the right leader at the right time to help make this happen.”

As the COO for one of the nation's premier national laboratories, Huff will develop and execute mission support functions to achieve the lab's performance goals. He will also focus on designing a future-ready workforce and workplace in support of Jefferson Lab's world-leading science and technology mission. Overall, this critical role ensures smooth and efficient laboratory operations with a day-to-day focus on operational excellence.

“I am excited about the opportunity to join Jefferson Lab and contribute to the continued growth and impact of the lab’s unique research capabilities,” said Huff.

Huff comes to the lab with more than a decade of experience in DOE’s national lab system at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) in Albuquerque, N.M. In his time there, he built a track record of managing and delivering on projects featuring ever-increasing responsibilities, personnel and budgets. Huff led both operations and research and development organizations in the areas of weapon component engineering, cybersecurity, critical infrastructure protection, electronics failure analysis, radio frequency integrated circuits, microelectromechanical systems, and focal plane arrays. These include roles as a senior member of technical staff, research and development emerging technologies manager, engineered safety & performance assurance senior manager and senior manager of microelectronics engineering, science and applications.

In his most recent position at Sandia, Huff served as the director and chief of Sandia’s environment, safety and health organization, responsible for leading a team of more than 400 personnel and providing an operations vision, strategy and metrics for the integration of functional disciplines into a single management system. He was also the Director champion for research and recruiting for the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was responsible for a multimillion-dollar research portfolio that ranged from cybersecurity to radiation effects on semiconductor devices. In 2021, he also served as acting associate lab director for national security programs, leading a team of more than 2,000 employees with an estimated $850M budget. In this acting role, he led research and development programs for the DOE, Department of Defense and other federal agencies, as well as operations across finance, human resources, performance assurance, facilities, communications, legal and environment, safety and health.

An engineer by training, Huff earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, followed by a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Drexel University. He earned his Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering with an emphasis on mathematical modeling and optimization at Mississippi State University.

Prior to joining Sandia, Huff worked as a program manager and operations leader at Lockheed Martin. He also has experience as an associate systems engineer and process engineer at Boecore, Inc. and Intel Corporation, respectively.

Huff has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions, including recognition in the Albuquerque Business First Forty under 40, Drexel University 40 under 40, a feature article on his work in the New Mexico State Office of African American Affairs “Deep Bench” publication, and selection by Sandia’s Chief Operating Officer for participation in the Harvard University Strategies for Implementing Successful Change Initiatives program with business leaders from across the country.

Contact: Lauren Hansen, Jefferson Lab Communications Office,


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. JSA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. (SURA).

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