EAP Monthly Dispatch
April 8th, 2016
Dear Alumni, Students,
Happy Spring! It's hard to believe that there are only five weeks left in the semester. This has been a great year for EAPers and we look forward to hearing about what amazing projects our alumni and students will be taking on this summer.
Many EAP projects were recently highlighted in the winter edition of In Common, the biannual newsletter produced by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. "The Energy Issue" focused on research, education, and other initiatives designed to promote the deployment of a low-carbon technology mix. The issue featured reflections on EAP capstone projects, a profile of EAP student David Abel, and a Q&A with our outreach assistant, Olivia Sanderfoot.
I'm excited to learn more about EAP student projects at the upcoming Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference on Monday, April 25th, as well as hear from EAP alumnus Ron Meissen, who will be recognized at the conference as a recipient of the Nelson Institute alumni award. The EAP Alumni Planning Committee has also organized an EAP happy hour to take place after the conference. Check out our Facebook page to learn more.
As always, if you have any suggestions for how we could improve the EAP program or connect with our community, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Enjoy the spring weather!
Professor Tracey Holloway
Energy Analysis and Policy Faculty Committee
Earth Day Celebrations!
Earth Day Conference
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Everyone owns a stake in the future of our rapidly changing planet, yet each of us sees and interacts with the world in different ways. Understanding this range of experiences and perspectives is critical to working together toward a healthier global environment. The 10th annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference will explore compelling stories and vivid reports -- drawn from the world's wildest places to our fastest-growing cities -- shared by scientists and explorers, writers and artists.
EAP Happy Hour
5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Brocach Irish Pub
Join EAP students, faculty, alumni, and friends for a reception following the 10th annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference. We know many of you will be spending the day at this great event, so stop by the pub following the festivities and end your Earth Day celebration with this gathering of the energy geeks and policy wonks. It will be fun... you won't want to miss it! Click here to RSVP.
Reminder: GEAPS is accepting
posts for The EAP Blog!
GEAPs invites students, alumni, faculty, and friends of the EAP program to submit posts to The EAP Blog. GEAPS will accept submissions in any form, from a well-developed research abstract to a back-of-the-envelope calculation on an interesting energy problem. The group just asks that submissions provide meaningful insights into the broader discussion of modern energy issues. Posts can be submitted by emailing GEAPS.
Student Leadership Opportunities
Event Recap: EAP Breakfast
The EAP Breakfast on Wednesday, March 16th, organized by the Graduate EAP Students, was a huge success! Students, faculty, and alumni stopped by the Wisconsin Energy Institute to chat over bagels and coffee. Topics of conversation included conference opportunities for graduate students, connecting via LinkedIn, and possibilities for engaging with the Madison area energy community at future meet & greet events. Watch your email, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay tuned for news about future EAP events.
The Graduate EAP Students (GEAPS) exist to strengthen connections amongst students, faculty, and alumni in the EAP community. GEAPS organize events for EAPers, foster discussions about topical energy issues and EAP program development, and build community engagement amongst stakeholders.
GEAPS is currently seeking student leaders for 2016-2017.
Interested? Email current GEAPS leaders if you'd like to get involved. EAP students will also be getting more details via email.
EAP graduate receives Nelson Institute alumni award!
Congratulations to EAP alumnus Ron Meissen, who will be presented with a Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies alumni award at the institute's upcoming Earth Day Conference on April 25th. Ron will be recognized for his work connecting the health of people and the environment at Baxter International, Inc., a U.S.-headquartered multinational corporation.
“He is truly focused on developing future leaders in sustainability, and supports them wholeheartedly,” a colleague of Meissen shared in the award nomination. “His spirit and enthusiasm is contagious, and will certainly carry his legacy into the future.” Click here to read more about Ron's dedication to sustainability.
“I’ve been to some really grimy places,” says Don Wichert (M.S., Land Resources and Energy Analysis & Policy, Class of 1987). He laughs, and then goes on to describe what it was like to be on the job with Clean Air Engineering, an air pollution testing company he joined following his undergraduate career at Western Illinois University. Just months after the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, hundreds of jobs just like his were created in the air quality management community, and Don was one of the first to join this newly established field. At Clean Air Engineering, Don was responsible for testing air pollution abatement devices and ensuring that power plants were following rules established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While air quality management interested Don, he soon became tired of climbing smoke stacks. He longed to know more about energy technology and decided to return to school to “beef up on science” so he could pursue a career in energy analysis.
Don graduated with his second B.S. degree in thermal and environmental engineering from Southern Illinois University in 1980 and started working at the Air Management Bureau with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources shortly thereafter. In this position, Don collaborated with local companies to help them reduce emissions associated with their facilities. A few months later, Don was hired to work as an energy program and policy analyst with the Wisconsin Division of Energy (DOE). Thrilled to land a job in energy analysis, Don started working on a wide variety of projects, including providing analyses of building and appliance codes and managing the Renewable Energy Assistance Program. He even worked on outreach initiatives, writing a number of articles for WI Energy News.
While working at the DOE, Don was invited to take a class at UW–Madison, so he enrolled in a 1-credit course in the politics of energy. He loved the class so much, he decided to enroll in more energy courses. Don soon realized that if he kept at it, he could earn a master’s degree. Slowly but surely, Don continued his graduate studies, and six years later he graduated with an M.S. in Land Resources and EAP.
Not long after, Don was promoted to Chief of the Energy Resources Section at the DOE, in no small part due to his dedication to professional development and his EAP training. In this new role, Don oversaw the collection and publication of Wisconsin’s energy statistics and directed the administration of more than twenty different grant programs.
Don says he’s “always been interested in environmental issues,” but he credits his work at the DOE with igniting his passion for energy efficiency and inspiring him to found RENEW Wisconsin. RENEW is a non-profit organization with a mission of leading and accelerating the “transformation to Wisconsin's renewable energy future through advocacy, education, and collaboration.” Today, Don still serves on the board of RENEW.
After retiring from the DOE in 2004, Don was hired to serve as Director of Renewable Energy Programs & Development for the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation (WECC), a non-profit energy consultancy. The WECC was hired to oversee the Focus on Energy program in Wisconsin, which supported the expansion and maintenance of solar and wind power throughout the state.
Today, Don is invested in community engagement in energy. In addition to serving on the board for RENEW, Don also works with the Citizens’ Utility Board, MG&E Shareholders for Clean Energy, RePower Madison, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts & Letters. He is currently building an endowment fund in support of an ongoing internship at RENEW Wisconsin specifically for EAP students. Don sees this endowment as a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the non-profit organization he founded so many years ago and leave a legacy dedicated to the future education and professional development of students enrolled in a program he valued so much. “RENEW has definitely done exactly what I’d hoped it would,” he says. Don adds that the endowment “serves as an important vehicle to provide consistent future income to the organization as we build for another 25 years.”
To learn more about RENEW Wisconsin, please click here. If you’d like to contribute to the RENEW Wisconsin Educational Endowment Fund, please click here or contact Don for more information.