Director's Corner

Release Date: July 15, 2016

Pursuing an Aggressive Agenda of Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

I am a firm believer that listening to customers is a key to better service whether you are operating a retail endeavor or a major national research laboratory. In the case of NETL, that means paying close attention to the energy needs of the people, agencies, and organizations across America where the skills, expertise, and capabilities of a resourceful national laboratory can make a real difference for a brighter future.

Part of NETL’s mission is to integrate new technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. That integration can only occur through efficient and productive communication and hard work. To that end, we are opening new doors for regional outreach with an aggressive slate of activities. For example:

  • At State College, PA, I participated in Penn State Energy Days that drew an impressive array of key leaders from academia, private industry, and public service. The event gave me the opportunity to add NETL’s respected voice to a lively discussion of energy-related issues. Leaders from across the spectrum of technology, economics, law, and regulation were on hand to talk about challenges and opportunities related to improving the energy infrastructure, best practices for moving new technology to market, and ways to collaborate to make energy improvements better and more frequent.
  • Also at State College, I participated in the inaugural meeting of the newly formed University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER)—a coalition of universities supported by NETL to tackle energy research challenges. I had the opportunity to emphasize NETL’s mission with representatives of the universities where top energy research is under way. One of my top priorities is to increase our collaborations with universities while reducing barriers to effective working relationships. UCFER is a step in that collaborative direction.
  • At the University of Kentucky, I helped explore the future of energy in America with more than 100 invited energy stakeholders from 11 states at the Regional Energy Innovation forum sponsored by the University’s Center for Applied Energy Research. It was an excellent forum to highlight the kinds of projects that NETL is pursuing in partnership with the private sector and academia, and learn about the energy needs of the future.
  • In a meeting in the West Virginia State Capital, I was pleased to confer with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and key regional energy stakeholders about the state of the coal industry in Appalachia and the potential for applying NETL research to the challenge of finding innovative and enduring uses for the state’s most abundant natural resource. I also visited the West Virginia Research Technology Park in South Charleston, WV—a 258 acre complex of laboratories, chemical pilot plant facilities, engineering and data processing capabilities—to learn about the exciting energy research at the facility.
  • On a trip to the West Coast, I met with representatives of the Boeing Company to discuss the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation District in Gresham, OR.The initiative is a partnership between Boeing and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center and is dedicated to regenerating the Oregon economy through new technology and a reinvigoration of the manufacturing sector.

These are just a few examples of how NETL is reaching out to our regional stakeholders in the spirit of collaboration to bring the resources of our Laboratory to bear on the energy challenges of today and tomorrow.
Jonathan Spira, the American industry analyst best known for his work on helping organizations migrate from the industrial age to the knowledge economy, wrote that “Knowledge sharing and collaboration are a key foundation of research and development.” I agree, and will continue to steer NETL toward greater levels of knowledge sharing and collaboration as key components of our mission and vision for the future.

As Acting Director of NETL, Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., builds on an extensive background in energy as he leads NETL in its mission to enhance the nation’s energy independence and protect the environment for future generations. For more information about Sean Plasynski's experience, please click here.