Inside CIT: Engineering News
Speakers in the Hall: Leadership Speaker Series
Industry and government leaders share insight and foster collaboration with the College of Engineering.
Top Executive of CONSOL Energy Speaks
J. Brett Harvey, the chairman and CEO of CONSOL Energy Inc., addressed faculty and students in a lecture, "CONSOL Energy's Approach to Powering America: Coal and Gas for the Future." This lecture was the second installment in the CIT Leadership Speaker Series.
On April 18, 2011 Harvey talked about the supply and demand of U.S. coal and natural gas, and the role these fossil fuels play in supplying the world with energy. CONSOL is the leading diversified energy producer in the Appalachian basin. It produces natural gas and high-BTU coal, and together natural gas and coal fuel two-thirds of the nation's power. The company is a leader in industry innovation—from developing techniques for extracting coalbed methane from coal seams, which enhances the safety and productivity of mining operations, to operating the largest private R&D facility devoted exclusively to finding cleaner, more efficient ways of producing energy.
Early in his presentation, Harvey, who began his career as a longwall supervisor in a Utah mine, stressed CONSOL's focus on safety and how it influences production. He discussed the economic advantages of coal and natural gas, which are cheap forms of energy, and how coal allows us to generate the massive amounts of electricity needed to maintain modern lifestyles. He stated that fossils fuels can be used so they are more environmentally safe.
After Harvey's speech a lively panel discussion ensued, which explored issues related to the generation and mitigation of CO2 and how technology, economics and policy will affect future fossil fuel energy production and use.
The panel was moderated by CIT Dean Pradeep K. Khosla, and panel members included: Scott Klara, deputy director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory; Kelvin Gregory, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Edward S. Rubin, Alumni Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science and professor of Engineering and Public Policy and Mechanical Engineering.
Portugal's Leading Multimedia CEO Talks to CIT
Rodrigo Costa, the CEO of ZON Multimédia, delivered the third keynote lecture in CIT's Leadership Speakers Series on April 19, 2011. Costa's talk, titled "Innovate, Compete, Motivate," examined the rise of cable, Internet and phone services in Portugal.
With 1.6 million customers, ZON is the largest Triple Play operator—TV, broadband internet and fixed telephony—in Portugal. ZON has placed Portugal at the forefront of innovation with the launch of its 360 Mbps and 1Gbps ZON Fibra bundles, speeds which are unparalleled in Europe.
Addressing a Pittsburgh audience, Costa shared insights on managing innovation in a global environment, and he explored topics that are relevant to the CMU | Portugal program: ICT research, graduate education and a close connection to Portuguese industry.
Costa, who has extensive international management experience, said, "Innovation is a state of mind and you cannot think the same way everyday." He explained how ZON successfully upgraded its customer service by asking people to complete brief questionnaires describing the quality of service they received. "I learned from this, and this is innovation," said Costa. He cited competition as being "a good tool," saying, "I have a better company because I have to compete." Further adding, "Companies are people," and he advocates for motivating employees so they retain a positive image of ZON.
Following Costa's talk, an expert panel discussed ICT issues. CIT Dean Pradeep K. Khosla moderated the panel which included Pedro Ferreira, a research professor in the H. John Heinz III College and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, and Rahul Telang, a professor of information systems in the Heinz College.
DOE's Under Secretary of Science Visits CIT
Dr. Steven E. Koonin, the former U.S. Department of Energy's Under Secretary for Science, visited Carnegie Mellon on May 18, 2011 to deliver a keynote lecture, "America's Energy Challenges."
Energy is one of Carnegie Mellon's long-term strategic research initiatives, and CIT's faculty and students are working to establish Western Pennsylvania as an energy hub. The CMU community and the public alike crowded into Porter Hall to hear Koonin's presentation that addressed the challenges pertaining to energy security, competitiveness and environmental impacts. After outlining the current state of the nation's energy usage, he summarized the current administration's goals, which include:
- putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015;
- reducing oil imports by 1/3 by 2025;
- making nonresidential buildings 20% more energy efficient by 2020;
- by 2035, generating 80% of electricity from a diverse set of clean energy sources;
- cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 83% by 2050.
To realize these goals, Koonin discussed strategies for deploying clean electricity and alternative fuels, modernizing the grid, progressively electrifying the fleet and increasing building and industrial efficiency as well as vehicle efficiency. He emphasized the importance of integrating universities, national laboratories, the for-profit sector and government in an effort to undertake the technological, economic and regulatory challenges associated with energy. After his presentation, Koonin took questions from the audience.
Executive (and Alum) Discusses How History Drives IBM's Future
In honor of IBM's centennial, Wayne Balta (B.S. CEE, 1982), IBM's vice president of Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety, delivered a lecture titled, "A Business and Its Ideas: Reinventing the Modern Corporation."
On October 20, in Robert's Engineering Hall, Balta assessed changes in technology and the global economy, the key to retaining an organization's essence amidst these changes and the imperative of environmental sustainability for forward thinking organizations.
After the lecture, Balta was joined by Robert Morris, the vice president of IBM Research, to address questions from the audience. The event was hosted by the Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator (PSSI) and sponsored by IBM.
In September, the PSSI unveiled the new IBM Smarter Infrastructure Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Researchers in this collaborative lab will study and create technologies that help improve government and industry infrastructures.
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