Key Staff

Dr. Grace M. Bochenek, Director
As NETL Director, Dr. Bochenek manages the day-to-day execution of all aspects of the laboratory's mission. She joined the laboratory 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 and Automotive Research division. 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.

Mr. Scott Klara, Deputy Director
Scott Klara, NETL’s Deputy Director, supports the NETL Director with the daily operation of the laboratory. Mr. 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. Mr. Klara's industry experience includes 7 years with AT&T Technologies–Bell Laboratories and Calgon Carbon Corporation. He has more than 23 years of Federal government experience with NETL and its predecessor organizations. Mr. Klara holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering and an M.S. degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a registered professional engineer in chemical engineering in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Dr. R. Paul Detwiler, Chief Counsel
Paul Detwiler has served as NETL’s Chief Counsel since January 2009. Prior to joining NETL, he served DOE in a number of positions, including Special Assistant to the General Counsel, Acting Manager of the Carlsbad Field Office, and Deputy General Counsel of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Mr. Detwiller worked for the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., before joining the Energy Department in 1994. He earned an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College, a Ph.D. in ecology from Cornell University, and a J.D. from George Washington University. Mr. Detwiler is a registered patent attorney.

Mr. James Wilson, Director, Office of Finance, Acquisition & Assistance
As Director of NETL’s Office of Finance, Acquisition & Assistance, Jim Wilson provides strategic direction, oversight and coordination of the Laboratory’s CFO, procurement and financial assistance functions. Mr. 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 the PJM Interconnection and Corporate Controller for a public electric utility. Mr. Wilson also previously worked as a management consultant in the energy industry and as an auditor with a Big Four accounting firm. Mr. Wilson holds B.S. degree in Accounting from Saint Vincent College and an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Cynthia Powell, Director, Office of Research and Development
Cynthia Powell supervises NETL’s onsite research personnel and laboratories in Albany, Ore.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Morgantown, W. Va. She previously served as NETL’s Materials Science Focus Area Lead. Dr. Powell 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 these 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.

Dr. Sean Plasynski, Director, Strategic Center for Coal
Sean Plasynski is the Director of NETL’s Strategic Center for Coal. In this role, Dr. Plasynski provides strategic direction, oversight, and management for NETL’s Clean Coal Research Program, which includes research, development, demonstration, and deployment of advanced technologies to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of coal utilization. Dr. Plasynski has held numerous management and technical positions over his 25-year career at NETL, including 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 MBA from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.

Mr. Jared Ciferno, Director, Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil
As Director of NETL’s Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil, Jared Ciferno manages an R&D portfolio that encompasses advanced technology projects in areas including natural gas (shale gas), enhanced oil recovery, deepwater oil and gas production, and methane hydrates. Mr. Ciferno has 15 years of diversified engineering and management experience spanning a broad spectrum of technology areas. These areas include electric power generation, advanced greenhouse gas control, process control, coal conversion processes, thermoelectric water management, and simulation and systems analysis. In previous positions at NETL, Mr. Ciferno served as Director of the Office of Coal and Power R&D Program, Technology Manager of the Carbon Capture Program, and Engineering Systems Analyst. Prior to joining NETL, he worked as a chemical engineer for Science Applications International Corporation and as a research/process engineer for Calgon Carbon Corporation. Mr. Ciferno holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Ken Kern, Director, Office of Strategic Energy Analysis and Planning
Ken Kern has been involved in a wide range of energy-related business activities during his 35-year career within the power-generation industry. He has participated in business development, strategic planning, sales, and licensing of major equipment for the power generation industry (gas turbine, steam turbine, and boilers), both domestically and internationally. His involvement in international power generation included several years of operations and general management at manufacturing and sales offices in Singapore, Japan, and Poland. Prior to joining NETL, Mr. Kern was Vice President for Marketing and Business Development for a major international power-generation equipment manufacturing company. He holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Charles M. Zeh, Director, Office of Energy Project Management 
Chuck Zeh manages NETL's clean energy programs. In this role he is responsible for management and oversight of projects for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Over his 27 year career, Mr. 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. Mr. Zeh holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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