Rice taps former DOE assistant secretary to direct Energy and Environment Initiative


Rice taps former DOE assistant secretary to direct Energy and Environment Initiative

HOUSTON -- Rice University has chosen former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy Charles McConnell to lead the university's campus-wide Energy and Environment Initiative (e2i) in its mission to partner with the energy industry to develop sustainable technologies and practices for all types of energy.

McConnell is a 35-year industry veteran, who left the Department of Energy (DOE) in February, after two years as the assistant secretary responsible for fossil fuels.

Rice launched e2i in September 2012. The initiative focuses on the diverse issues and challenges associated with society's reliance on hydrocarbons and on the transition to a future, where alternative sources of energy are more broadly integrated into both the supply and delivery chains.

McConnell said his task as e2i executive director is to forge new public and private partnerships, and to expand Rice's existing relationships with companies like Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, GE, Total, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger and Apache.

At DOE, McConnell was responsible for the strategic policy leadership, budgets, project management, and research and development of DOE's oil, natural gas, coal and advanced technologies programs. He was also responsible for the management and operations of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and for DOE's national energy technologies laboratories.

Prior to his service at DOE, McConnell served as V.P. of carbon management at Battelle Energy Technology in Columbus, Ohio, for two years, and he managed businesses at Praxair for 31 years, many of them in Houston. McConnell is a former member of the board of directors for both the Clean Carbon Foundation of Texas and the Gulf Coast Carbon Center. A member of the American Institute of Technology Chemical Engineers, he holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and an MBA in finance from Cleveland State University.

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