Mon 11/30 – Wed 12/02
Pure energy is radiating from all angles in the notorious city that we love. And one thing that’s giving a raise to our city’s vibration is this year’s fifth annual EnergyTech Conference.
For three days, the city will welcome big players in the energy industry to speak and engage audiences at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center. The conference will provide a great opportunity for all who seek a deeper understanding of our energy systems and provide a great platform to network with professionals and experts in the field. What better space to participate in ongoing initiatives for seeking solutions to challenges?
Cool Cleveland talked with John Juhasz, CEO of Telepath Systems, Inc. and overall manager of the EnergyTech conference, on behalf of INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering).
CC: What is the history of this annual conference? Started in 2010, what brought on the inception of this annual event?
JJ: This event was originally started by IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Engineers) and CASE to provide a forum for student papers on energy technology and related concepts for publication in IEEE journals, etc. It was later expanded in 2013 to include INCOSE partnership, which focused on a parallel path soliciting knowledgeable industry participation on existing energy systems.
CC: What has the conference eveolved into, now its 5th year?
JJ: This year’s conference theme, Securing our Energy Future, goes beyond focus on technological advancements to reflect deeply on the major issues and risk concerns about energy and related critical infrastructure. There are four key sub-themes were organized under the broad topic, including: (1) Changing Dynamics of Global Energy, (2) New Technologies for Solving Energy Problems, (3) Model-based Techniques to Support Energy System Development, and (4) Managing the Risk Factors in Energy and Critical Infrastructure. The conference has significantly expanded in scope and in collaboration with multiple professional societies and partners. This year those additions include NASA Glenn Research Center, InfraGard/FBI and the Cleveland Engineering Society, with support from PMI (Project Management Institute) and several universities. Further, the conference has an expanded geographical reach by attracting participants from Europe, Africa and other regions in addition to the continental US.
CC: Who are some of the presenters at the conference that you’re excited about having?
JJ: We are very pleased to host a number of renowned experts from various sectors of the energy and infrastructure, including scientists, energy executives, systems engineers, project management professionals, government law enforcement, as well as public officials and policy makers. The choices were based on well-established and credible expertise on the subjects of each track listed previously. To name a few, we have: (1) Dr. George Baker, professor emeritus of applied science at James Madison University, (2) Stewart Cedres, systems engineer, U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity R&D Division and (3) David Long, CEO of Vitech Corp and current president of INCOSE. There will also be several experts from NASA and veterans of many top aerospace programs. Altogether, there’s over 50 top-level experts that will gather at the conference to provide their key insights.
CC: What about this conversation important? Is there urgency with the issues being discussed?
JJ: Energy is as vital to a modern civilized society as air is to human life. Our modern, complex economies are highly dependent of available, affordable, safe and clean energy and a stable electrical grid to support nearly all economic activities and supporting critical infrastructure. We (the U.S.) have been evolving steadily toward achieving energy independence, but we also have recognized important vulnerabilities in the electrical infrastructure. Not only are radical elements hostile to the U.S. seeking to exploit these vulnerabilities to undermine the U.S., there are also growing concerns over “space weather” phenomena, such as solar flares, which have the potential to wreak havoc on our electrical grid. All these topics will be addressed and discussed at the conference to seek feasible solutions and protections.
CC: For those attending the event, what might they learn?
JJ: Attendees will learn about the major trends and factors driving global energy developments in the modern world. They will also understand how we have become critically dependent on the electrical grid, and how we are exposed to known and unknown risks of degradation or loss of power. They will also appreciate the ongoing efforts to mitigate these risks at various levels. Further, they will be exposed to the capabilities inherent in model-based systems engineering which provides promising methods of dealing with complex systems for decision makers. Attendees also have an opportunity to take advantage of in-depth tutorials from expert instructors on these advanced topics to achieve a thorough understanding of the subject matter, with continuing professional development credits.
CC: What are you excited about this year’s conference?
JJ: EnergyTech2015 has evolved to the point where the energy sector and its myriad interacting systems will be considered in an overall end-to-end perspective, following rigorous system methods and principles as advanced by INCOSE. We’re excited that this disciplined approach, supported by effective system models, will yield key insights in how to best deal with the challenges and vulnerabilities of our complex infrastructure systems.
CC: How can people get involved if they’d like to on a bigger scale after the conference?
JJ: This conference is only one element of a collaborative effort between several of the sponsors and supporting entities. We seek to continue efforts between INCOSE and InfraGard/FBI and other professional organizations for understanding the nature of the complex systems on which we depend, in order to support decisions for improving our security. One outcome of the conference series is that interdisciplinary working groups are being formed, including members of INCOSE, PMI, InfraGard, IEEE, NASA and other core entities to contribute to the resolution of the issues on critical infrastructure. We plan to organize outreach efforts soon after the conference to plan for EnergyTech2016, with further emphasis on engaging more diverse interests in the sector and in our communities.
CC: Who should come to EnergyTech?
JJ: We welcome all attendees, including engineers, utility personnel, corporate leaders, IT professionals, educators, law enforcement, and any of the individuals who have some responsibility in energy sector operation, influence in policy matters, have a role in advanced technology development or deal with concerns over risk factors. Students of course are encouraged to participate and connect with presenters and professionals in the sector.
CC: What else do people need to know?
JJ: We hope that attendees with interests around the topics will participate in the Q+A sessions within each track, engage the speakers and use the conference as an opportunity to connect with this distinguished group of experts who are open to and eager for more perspective on their work. We want EnergyTech to evolve even further into a great forum for the interested public to engage with the scientific academic, and institutional players who will assemble here each year. Cleveland will become the Center of Excellence for addressing the broad issues of Energy and Critical Infrastructure.
Ample parking is available in close proximity to the Wolstein Center, on the periphery of the CSU campus. There are plenty of $5 lots on Prospect and Carnegie, plus a large parking structure directly across from the conference facilities, with easy access to the conference center. For more info on the 2015 EnergyTech Conference and registration, click the link below.