Key Staff

Grace M. Bochenek, Ph.D.—Director

As NETL Director, Dr. Bochenek manages the complete NETL complex including delivery and execution of the Laboratory's mission. She joined NETL in October 2014 with more than 25 years of technical and management experience with the U.S. Department of Defense. Before joining NETL, Dr. Bochenek was the first Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, where she served as the principal technical advisor on all engineering and scientific activities within the command; she also provided management oversight to the command’s six regional centers, the Army Research Laboratory, and the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Agency, with an annual budget of more than $2.5 billion. Prior to this, Dr. Bochenek led research, development, and engineering strategies as Director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center. Dr. Bochenek earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Wayne State University, an M.S. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D.—Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer (Acting), Laboratory Operations Center

Sean Plasynski provides strategic direction, oversight, and management of NETL’s support functions and services. As Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Plasynski manages a comprehensive, fully integrated program of laboratory support operations and services including safe and secure facilities, cybersecurity, and IT infrastructure. Dr. Plasynski has held numerous management and technical positions over his 26-year career at NETL, including Director of the Strategic Center of Coal, Director of the Office of Coal and Power R&D, and Sequestration Technology Manager. He has been involved in a wide spectrum of energy technology development, including advanced power and environmental systems, solids transport, biomass co-firing, and carbon capture and storage. Dr. Plasynski has also served on a team addressing critical U.S. infrastructure vulnerabilities for homeland security. He holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.

James E. Wilson—Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, Finance & Acquisition Center

Jim Wilson is responsible for planning, direction, and coordination of the Laboratory’s CFO, procurement, and financial assistance functions; he provides effective oversight and stewardship of the Laboratory’s financial resources. Wilson has more than 25 years of management and finance experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining NETL, he served as President of Wholesale and Retail Energy Trading Businesses within PJM Interconnection, and he served as Corporate Controller for a public electric utility. Wilson also previously worked as a management consultant in the energy industry and as an auditor with a Big Four accounting firm. Wilson holds a B.S. in accounting from Saint Vincent College and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Cynthia A. Powell, Ph.D.—Executive Director, Research & Innovation Center; Executive Leadership, Science & Technology Strategic Plans & Programs

Cynthia Powell is responsible for implementing a research and development portfolio that positions the Laboratory as an international resource for fossil energy technology discovery, development, and deployment. As part of this role, she promotes safe and efficient research operations at NETL and ensures the Laboratory’s research personnel are equipped with the technical competencies and knowledge needed to effectively support its research mission. Previously, Dr. Powell served as NETL’s Materials Science Focus Area Lead. She has more than 15 years of experience in high-temperature phase and microstructural development of structural materials and the effects of these phase changes on the bulk properties of such materials. She received her Ph.D. in materials science from Case Western Reserve University; this was preceded by an M.S. and B.S. in ceramic engineering from Clemson University. Dr. Powell’s research also addressed microstructure/processing relationships in a wide range of intermetallic, metallic, ceramic, and composite materials, and the influence of microstructure on the tribological performance of ceramics and ceramics-based composites.

Charles M. Zeh—Executive Director (Acting), Technology Development & Integration Center  

Chuck Zeh manages NETL’s national programs, in fossil energy and other DOE programs, with industry, universities, and national laboratories. In this role, he leads integrated technical and business teams in managing federally sponsored, extramural research in coal, oil and gas, and energy technology development, with a focus on delivering research and development benefits to the nation. Over his 28-year career, Zeh has held numerous management positions administering the research, development, and commercialization of new and emerging technologies at NETL. He supervised and was responsible for developing technology for vehicles, buildings, gas turbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engines, and environmental restoration. Zeh holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Scott Klara—Associate Deputy for Business Transformation

Scott Klara supports the NETL Director in providing management guidance and oversight across the Laboratory, while promoting sustainability, consistency, effectiveness, and efficiency in research efforts and business practices. Klara has more than 30 years of engineering and management experience spanning a broad spectrum of technology areas, including electric power generation, advanced separation processes, process control, coal conversion processes, and simulation/systems analysis. Klara's industry experience includes 7 years with AT&T Technologies–Bell Laboratories and Calgon Carbon Corporation. He has more than 24 years of federal government experience with NETL and its predecessor organizations. Klara holds a B.S. and an M.S. in chemical engineering and an M.S. in petroleum engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a registered professional engineer in chemical engineering in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

R. Paul Detwiler, Ph.D.—Chief Counsel
Paul Detwiler oversees the Office of the Chief Counsel, which provides the full range of legal services required to support the Laboratory’s programs, projects, and functions and ensures NETL’s compliance with regulatory and environmental statutes and policies for activities performed or funded by NETL. Dr. Detwiler has served as NETL’s Chief Counsel since January 2009. Prior to joining NETL, he served the Energy Department in a number of positions, including Special Assistant to DOE’s General Counsel, Acting Manager of DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office, and Deputy General Counsel of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Dr. Detwiler worked for the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., before joining the Energy Department in 1994. He earned an A.B. from Dartmouth College, a Ph.D. in ecology from Cornell University, and a J.D. from George Washington University. Dr. Detwiler is a registered patent attorney.