• [ October 11, 2012 ]
  • Iowa State announces candidates for director of the Iowa Energy Center

AMES, Iowa — Three candidates have been selected to interview for the position of director of the Iowa Energy Center at Iowa State University.

The finalists are Babu Ram of the African Development Bank; Mark Petri of the Argonne National Laboratory; and José Colucci-Ríos of the University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez.

The candidates’ interview schedules on campus will include forums, open to the public, to describe their vision for the future of the Iowa Energy Center and how their backgrounds contribute to their ability to lead the center. A question and answer session will follow each forum. The forums are scheduled as follows:

Babu Ram—Wednesday, October 17, 10-11 a.m., 1951 Food Science (CCUR Auditorium)

Mark Petri—Wednesday, November 14, 10-11 a.m., Gallery, Memorial Union

José Colucci-Ríos —Thursday, November 15, 10-11 a.m., 1951 Food Science (CCUR Auditorium)

About the candidates

Babu Ram is the chief power engineer at the African Development Bank in Tunisia. He is currently pursuing an MBA with an emphasis in finance at Drake University. Ram has been with the African Development Bank since 1997, where he has designed, appraised and implemented power sector projects. Prior to joining the bank, he held several positions with the Government of India, including serving on the Planning Commission, deputy advisor on energy policy, deputy advisor on rural energy, and senior research officer. He was a visiting fellow at the Surrey Energy Economic Center, University of Surrey, United Kingdom, from 1990 to 1991. Ram has a B.A. in electrical engineering from A.M.U. in India, an M.A. in economics from Annamalai University in India, and a Ph.D. in power systems engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Mark Petri is the technology development director with the Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Engineering and Systems Analysis Directorate. He coordinates multidisciplinary applied and basic research programs aimed at sustainable energy production, transmission and efficiency. He is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, where he teaches courses on energy policy and energy technology entrepreneurship through the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN). Prior to joining the Argonne National Laboratory, Petri worked as a materials engineer at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Schenectady, New York, and as an instrumentation and controls engineer at Combustion Engineering, Inc., in Windsor Connecticut. Petri has a B.S. and an M.S. in nuclear engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from Purdue University.

José Colucci-Ríos is a professor in the chemical engineering department at the University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez (UPRM). His research area of interest is sustainability with an energy focus, including fuel cells, biomass fractionation, auto thermal reforming, solar detoxification and biodiesel synthesis and commercialization. He has led the chemical engineering department’s Sloan Foundation Undergraduate Feeder program (1996-2011) and helped establish a doctoral program in chemical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico. He has been a department director, technology transfer official and associate dean of engineering, and currently serves as director of the UPRM Center for Island, Maritime, and Extreme Environment Security. Before joining the faculty of the UPRM, he was a scientist, business analyst and market manager at Union Carbide. Colucci-Ríos has a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, both in chemical engineering.

Co-chairs of the search committee are Joe Colletti, senior associate dean of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dean Crist, vice president—regulation at MidAmerican Energy Company. Search committee members are Richard Hichwa, senior associate vice president for research at the University of Iowa, Cynthia Jenks, program manager at the Ames Laboratory, James McCalley, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Iowa State and Swati Dandekar, Iowa Utilities Board member.