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Retirees Bring Tech Expertise to Small Businesses


Mike Murphy, a retired Sandia electrical engineer, checks the sound quality on one of PanMuse’s computerized Bandojo music systems. When they step out of the workforce, retirees take a wealth of knowledge and experience with them. What if small or start-up businesses needing technical and other expertise could tap into that intellectual capital?

A group of Sandia National Laboratories retirees is doing just that. Through Technology Retirees Economic Catalysts (TREC) retirees volunteer their expertise in chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer and materials science, physics and more to assist small businesses facing technical challenges.

For example, retired Sandia engineers Mike Murphy, Larry Walker, and Phil Gallegos helped PanMuse, LLC improve the performance of a touch-sensing system for their Bandojo software that turns computers into musical instruments. And Pace VanDevender, a noted Sandia physicist and vice president emeritus, is helping Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts in Albuquerque develop a dance performance that blends art and science.

BJ Jones, SLFCU’s Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, is a TREC co-founder. She notes that “It’s a win-win. Companies benefit by getting top-notch engineering, science and business professional advisors at no charge to them, and TREC volunteers find meaningful ways to stay engaged with their community and share their expertise in important ways.”

As TREC grows, co-founder and Sandia retiree Ron Moya envisions an organization that is recognized in small business and startup communities as a research, development, and business resource. He encourages Sandia retirees to volunteer, and wants to involve retirees from other technical institutions and universities as well.


Retirees interested in becoming TREC volunteers can contact Ron Moya at 505.856.1245, Larry Walker at 505.294.4087, Art Ratzel at 505.280.4720, or apply via Businesses can request assistance from TREC volunteers via their website.

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