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Innovation & Startups

Pitt's Center for Energy shines spotlight on sector; Alstom Grid of France moves in

As the newly appointed executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy, Don Shields has a lot to say about the future of energy for our region.

"There's a real opportunity for Pittsburgh to be a major leader in energy," says Shields, who will work to expand the focus and influence of Pitt's nationally recognized 3-year-old energy research center, dedicated to improving energy-technology development and sustainability and moving the region's energy sector forward.

"There's a very strong connection between industry and education through the center," he adds. "From a Pitt perspective, 10 years from now I'd like people to look at Pitt as an energy school the way they look at is as medical school now. We haven't quite gotten that story across yet."

Shields has been director of corporate relations for Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering and has nearly 25 years in tech management and higher education resource development. His new role will build on his work to secure government and industry support for new research and educational programs in the field of energy. 

The wealth of nuclear talent here--as well as research on coal, gas, wind, solar and water--has positioned Pittsburgh to address one of the greatest challenges of our time, Shields says.

The Center will also work closely with the Energy Alliance of Southwestern Pennsylvania, a strategic partnership of more than 50 companies and universities, staffed by the Allegheny Conference and Innovation Works, also working to create a vibrant climate for energy industries in the region.

In energy-related news, manufacturer Alstom Grid of France moved into the Speers Industrial Park in Washington County this week and will be hiring 30. The company is among the leading global players in the business of electrical transmission technologies, helping to ensure safer, more reliable power grids around the world.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Don Shields, Pitt Center for Energy

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