Alameda County — Jose M. Hernandez, a former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) engineer and program manager, has been appointed to the Board of Regents for the University of California by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The appointment requires state Senate confirmation. Regents receive no compensation.
“First, let me say that I am humbled and excited to have been appointed by Governor Newsom to the UC Board of Regents,” said Hernandez, a father of five. "Having worked the first 16.5 years of my career at the UC-managed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory gives me a unique perspective of the UC system as a whole. I will work hard towards increasing accessibility and affordability for all Californians who want a UC education, while ensuring we are good stewards of our medical centers and national labs that we have been entrusted to manage.”
Hernandez, 58, worked at LLNL from 1985 to 2001. He left the Lab to join NASA – Johnson Space Center from 2001 to 2011. During this time, he was a legislative analyst and a branch chief and materials research engineer. NASA selected Hernandez in 2004 to join its Astronaut Candidate Class. He had been interviewed as a potential astronaut candidate two times before the selection. He later went on to become a flight engineer aboard Space Shuttle Discovery for a 14-day mission to the International Space Station in August 2009.
In 2011, Hernandez ran for Congress as a Democrat in the newly redrawn California 10th district, which encompasses part of the northern San Joaquin Valley. He won the Democratic primary but lost the general election to Republican Jeff Denham. Hernandez also founded Tierra Luna Engineering in 2012 to provide consulting and manufacturing support for aerospace companies. In 2013, Hernandez became president of PT Strategies at PT Capital/PT Strategies, where he stayed until 2016.
A first-generation Mexican American, Hernandez was born in French Camp, California. When he was a child, he worked alongside his parents as a farmworker. After graduating from Franklin High School in Stockton, he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific in 1984 and a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1986.
Alongside Hernandez, Newsom also announced appointments for the California State University Board of Trustees and the California Community Colleges Board of Governors in an Aug. 20 press release.
“These leaders bring a wide array of knowledge and experience from across the state’s diverse regions, including the Central Valley, to our world-class colleges and universities, and share a deep commitment to serving our state,” said Newsom. “California is doubling down on our work to make college more affordable and accessible than ever before, spurring upward mobility and boosting our nation-leading recovery. I look forward to working with our state’s higher education leaders to help students reach their full potential and drive California’s long-term economic prosperity.”