Technical Advisory Board

The Conn Center is supervised by a Technical Advisory Board. This Board ensures that the efforts of the Center remain congruent with the legislative mandate from the state, accomplish the goals set forth by the University, and are responsive to the current state-of-the-science for renewable energy research, environmental stewardship, and public energy policy. This Board meets formally twice a year to set the Center's short-term and long-term strategies, monitor progress toward established goals, and advise on specific issues.



Past members

Henry "Hank" Conn

Hank Conn was the 2009 UofL Alumnus of the Year, is a senior executive advisor for corporations worldwide and guides chief executive officers and executive teams in leading their organizations through complex changes. He is the former vice president of the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Inc. Hank received his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the Speed School in 1964 and 1972, respectively, and his MBA from the UofL College of Business in 1969. Mr. Conn has held top executive positions at Ford, Allis-Chalmers Corp., Siemens-Allis Inc., and TRW Inc. He was the 2002 Alumni Fellow for the Speed School of Engineering, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Speed School in 2006, and is a member of the Speed School's Industrial Board of Advisors. Mr. Conn co-wrote "Maximum Performance Management," a best-selling guide to innovative management and compensation practices. In 2009, Mr. Conn and his wife, Rebecca, pledged more than $20 million to the UofL Speed School of Engineering to support the center's work; the center is named in their honor.

Mickey Wilhem, PhD, PE, Dean Emeritus, Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering, J.B. Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville

Mickey Wilhelm, PhD, PE is Dean Emeritus of the JB Speed School of Engineering and Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering at the University of Louisville. He was a faculty member at UofL for 41 years before retiring in August 2016. He received the BSE in Electrical Engineering, and the MSE and PhD degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a Fellow of both the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the World Academy of Productivity Sciences. He is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and was Chair of the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors in 2010. He is an Emeritus Member of both the Kentucky Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors, and of the National Council of Engineering Examiners. Currently, Dr. Wilhelm serves as a member of the Board of Directors of ABET, Inc, as a member of the Education Committee of the National Council of Engineering Examiners, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship. He is currently a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, as well as a member of the Internal Advisory Board of the Logistics and Distribution Institute at the University of Louisville.

Kevin Nolan, President & Cheif Executive Officer, GE Appliances

Kevin Nolan is the President & Chief Executive Officer of GE Appliances, a Haier company, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. The business employs 12,000 people.  He is GE Appliances’ senior officer, with overall responsibility for setting the business’ short- and long-term strategy, including technology, product innovation and product line performance to deliver financial and business results. In his 28-year GE career, he progressed through various cross-functional operating roles in a variety of GE businesses. Kevin assumed the CTO position for GE Appliances in November of 2006 and for Qingdao Haier in 2016. Kevin was responsible for establishing the company’s overall technical vision and global product roadmaps. He led the Global Product and Technology Synergy Committee aimed at growing the company’s technology leadership by better connecting and leveraging the R&D resources across all of 690’s business units globally. As a member of the senior leadership team, he focused on commercializing new technologies through new business models and partnerships. He played a key role in establishing FirstBuild, an innovation accelerator that is helping redefine how products are developed, built and sold. Throughout his career, he has continued to develop new technology with 27 patent awards, and has led the design and launch of numerous innovative appliance products. He also volunteers with several community nonprofit organizations.  

David Huff, Director of Customer Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid Strategy, LG&E and KU

David Huff was named to his current position in March 2010. He has nearly 35 years of experience in the electric utility industry. Huff joined LG&E and KU in 1983 as a mechanical engineer in power generation. In this role he worked on a myriad of priorities including system performance, reduction of maintenance costs, plant safety improvement and a plant rehabilitation plan. Through the years he has held many roles in the company, including Operations Manager at the Mill Creek Generating Station and Division Manager at Trimble County Station, both of which involved managing more than one hundred employees. He was then promoted to Wholesale Excellence Team Leader where he developed a management-union partnership and oversaw a significant change management project that effectively reduced unit costs by 30% over two years. In 1997, he became a director and advanced through several leadership positions within LG&E and KU, including Revenue Collections and Distribution Operations. In these roles he managed hundreds of employees and oversaw distribution substation operations, design engineering, outdoor lighting. He also worked as incident commander and planning section chief for several restoration efforts. Huff actively led state-wide utility collaboration on the Consideration of Federal Standards of the Energy Independence and Security Act over a period of several years.  He facilitated responses from 16 Kentucky utilities to the Kentucky PSC Case 2008-00408 and 2012-00428 on Smart Grid resulting in a comprehensive document on Smart Grid and Smart Meters for the Kentucky Public Service Commission. During this time he was responsible for the coordination of Smart Grid and Smart Meter strategy across LG&E and KU service territories. This includes the planning and implementation of Advanced Metering Services.

Chandra Ratnasamy, Head of R&D, Clariant Corporation

Chandra Ratnasamy is the Head of R&D for Louisville (USA) and Suzano (Brazil) in the Business Unit Cataylsts. 

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, PhD, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Louisville

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, PhD, is the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, a position she's held since 2014. She earned her PhD from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Social Systems Sciences. She's applied her social science and policy expertise to the field of criminology, helping to advance measurement and understanding of crime patterns and to improve criminal justice procedures. She is a leading scholar on juvenile justice, and ways to identify and reduce minority overrepresentation and gender bias in criminal justice. She's published 6 books, over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and received over $600K in competitive grants and contracts. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Justice, the US Office of Juvinile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, the MacAurthur Foundation, the Kellog Foundation, and several state agencies. Dean Leonard supervises over 30 academic departments and programs covering the natural and physical sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, and the arts and humanities.   

Emmanuel Collins, PhD, Dean, Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville

Dr. Emmanuel G. Collins was appointed the ninth dean of the J. B. Speed School of Engineering by the U of L Board of Trustees on May 17, 2018. Collins  most recently was the John H. Seely Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Florida A&M University-Florida State University (FAMU-FSU). He was also founder and director of that institution’s Center for Intelligent Systems, Control and Robotics.


During his 23 years at FAMU-FSU, Collins was an engaged faculty member and administrator. Prior to his current positions, he served in roles that included engineering professor, associate chair of graduate studies and college director of graduate student recruitment, a role focused on the matriculation and retention of STEM graduate students from underrepresented minorities.

Collins holds bachelor’s degrees from Morehouse College and the Georgia Institute of Technology and, from Purdue University, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a doctoral degree in aeronautics and astronautics.

Collins was elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and Pi Tau Sigma international honor society for mechanical engineers.

Chris Teeley, Vice President, Global Director Research & Development, Quality Assurance and Packaging, Brown-Forman

Chris Teeley joined Brown-Forman in 2007 as Director of Research and Development. In that position, he was responsible for leading and driving an organization of scientists and engineers in developing new processes and technologies that produce innovative products, line extensions, and cost savings. As the Director, he guided the direction of R&D in troubleshooting of production operations from wood procurement to whiskey maturation and bottling. In 2011, Chris has moved to Director of Global Quality Assurance. In this role, he has oversight for the quality of Brown Forman products worldwide. The Quality Assurance team works to continually improve the performance of the package and the liquid being produced in both Brown Forman facilities and manufacturing partners worldwide.


Currently at Brown-Forman, Chris is the Vice President, Global Director Research & Development, Quality Assurance and Packaging. Chris has a Bachelor of Science and Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan, a Master’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, and an MBA from the University of Louisville. Currently holds two patents for the production of pigmented color. Before joining Brown Forman, Chris worked as the Site Manager in Elizabethtown, KY for Flint Group Pigments. Chris is a member of the Downtown Louisville Rotary Club, and serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Uspiritus. He also sits on the University of Louisville - Conn Center Board of Directors.  When not playing with his kids, Chris enjoys woodworking and running. 

Charles Snavely, Cabinet Secretary for Energy & Environment, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Charles G. Snavely was appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin as Secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet in December 2015. Mr. Snavely is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a B.S. in Mining Engineering and has recently completed the Executive MBA Program through a joint program of the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.


Mr. Snavely retired from the mining industry after more than 35 years, having served as a mine engineer and later president of several large coal companies in southeast Kentucky. He most recently was Executive Vice President of Operations for International Coal Group and President of Eastern Operations for Arch Coal, Inc.


He is past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Coal Association.  He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Virginia Tech Department of Mining Engineering.

Terry Gill, Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development, Commonwealth of Kentucky

(Board member 2017 - 2019) Of all the words that can be used to describe Terry Gill, the one word that cannot be used is “Politician.” Gill is a businessman who was chosen by Governor Bevin to bring a fresh pro-business perspective to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Along with the Cabinet’s co-leader, Vivek Sarin, Terry travels the nation and the world to recruit new industry to the state, to expand existing Kentucky operations and to promote entrepreneurship and small business development. Before joining the Governor’s Cabinet, Gill served as the CEO of several companies and was most recently in Cincinnati, Ohio, leading the turnaround of a private equity-owned company. He also served as Vice President of EnterpriseCorp, the arm of Greater Louisville Inc. that is focused on increasing the number high potential early and second stage companies headquartered in the Louisville and Southern Indiana market. Terry holds a BA degree in Marketing with a Minor in Economics from the University of Kentucky. He serves the community through various charitable organizations and civic involvement.

Gail Depuy, PhD, Interim Dean, J. B. Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville

Gail W. DePuy, Ph.D., P.E. (board member 2017 - 2018) is the Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs for the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.  She served as Interim Dean of the Speed School of Engineering from 2017 to 2018.  Her research focus lies in the areas of production planning, healthcare engineering, and operations research.  She received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology, her M.S.I.E. with a concentration in Human Factors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University.  Dr. DePuy has authored over 80 technical papers and has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on over 2.3 million dollars of funded research. Dr. DePuy is a professional engineer and a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Institute of Operations Research and Management Science, and American Society for Engineering Education.

John Usher, PhD, Acting Dean, J. B. Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville

John Usher, PhD, PE, (board member 2015 - 2017) was the Acting Dean at the JB Speed School of Engineering from 2015 - 2017. He had served as Associate Dean for Administration, Planning, and Faculty Affairs since 2012. From 2005 - 2012, he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering. He received his BS and M Eng degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Louisville in 1980 and 1981, respectively. He received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1987. While completing this degree, he was employed by IBM in Research Triangle Park, NC for two years as a reliability engineer. After receiving his doctorate, he joined the faculty at the University of Louisville. Since then, Dr. Usher has been actively involved in teaching, consulting, scholarly research, and service to the fields of quality control, reliability engineering, material handling systems, and facilities planning.  

Tony Hancock, PhD, President, MEC Ltd.

Tony Hancock, PhD, (board member 2014 - 2017) is the president of MEC Ltd., an engineeirng and consulting firm that performs product development for a number of US and international companies in various fields. He was born in Cleveland, TN. His parents were educators and encouraged his thirst for knowledge. He earned the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee with a specialty in polymers and polymer processing. Tony has worked for a variety of companies in various engineering and managerial roles, including at E. I. duPont, IBM, Remington, and Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice. He served as adjunct professor of chemical engineering at the University of Kentucky. Tony holds two US Patents and has numerous publications. He serves on the Board of Industrial Advisors for Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville and the board of trustees at the University of the Cumberlands. 

Leonard Peters, PhD, Cabinet Secretary for the Energy and Environment Cabinet

Leonard Peters, PhD (board member 2009 - 2016) was the Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet. Governor Steve Beshear's choice to oversee Kentucky's energy and environmental protection program is an internationally renowned chemical engineer with demonstrated leadership in research, academia, and management. Dr. Peters served for five years with the Battelle Memorial Institute, a leading non-profit applied science and technology development company. During his tenure at Battelle, Dr. Peters was senior vice president and director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he oversaw a staff of 4,200. Under his leadership, he realigned the laboratory's research priorities to meet the needs of its diverse customer base. Dr. Peters has held senior academic and administrative positions at leading universities, including Virginia Tech and the University of Kentucky. He holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and is a prolific author and lecturer. Dr. Peters has been recognized for his achievements with honors ranging from the National Science Foundation Award to the Oak Ridge Associated Universities' Outstanding Leadership Award. 

Burtron Davis, PhD, Associate Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research

Burtron Davis, PhD, (board member 2009 - 2014) was the Associate Director of the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) at the University of Kentucky. He obtained his PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Florida and was a Research Associate under Professor Paul H. Emmett at The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Davis is responsible for catalysis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, and direct coal liquefaction research at CAER. He developed a program that involved both academic research and cooperative research with industry. He has developed a laboratory with extensive capabilities in the use of radioactive and stable isotopes in reaction mechanism studies and materials characterization. He has developed research programs in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, surface science studies, heterogenous catalysis, materials science, organic analysis, 1/4 ton per day direct coal liquefaction pilot plant operation, liquefaction mechanistic studies, clean gasoline reforming with superacid catalysts, and upgrading napthas. Dr. Davis has held various offices and membership in several professional societies including the American Chemical Society, The Catalysis Society, and the Materials Research Society. Dr. Davis is the recipient of the H. H. Storch Award for 2002. He is the author of more than 600 technical publications.

Neville Pinto, PhD, Dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville

Neville Pinto, PhD, (board member 2013- 2015) served as Dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville, then as Provost, and finally as President. He is a Professor of Chemical Engineering. He received the B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to his appointment at UofL, he served on the faculty of Chemical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati (UC) for 26 years. While at UC he held a number of administrative posts; most recently he was Vice Provost & Dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Pinto is currently the President of UC. He is a lifetime Fellow of the University of Cincinnati Graduate School for outstanding scholarly attainment. He has mentored over 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students, and is the recipient of outstanding teaching and service awards from ABET, BP, and Tau Beta Pi. He has also served on the Editorial Board for Separation Science & Technology since 1997.

Helge Toufar, PhD, Head of R&D Center Louisville, Clariant Corporation

Helge Toufar, PhD, (board member 2010 - 2015) was the Head of R&D Center, Louisville Clariant Corporation. He graduated in Technical Chemistry with focus on Heterogeneous Catalysis from the Technical University of Merseburg, Germany, and obtained a Ph.D. for work on isomophous substituted zeolites in 1992. He worked in academic positions at the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck Gesellschaft in Berlin, Germany, the Martin-Luther University in Halle, Germany, and the Center for Surface Science and Catalysis of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Through a cooperation between the University of Halle and the US-based company Tricat Industries and its subsidiaries Zeosorb and Tricat Zeolites, he became involved in process development and plant design for a new zeolite manufacturing plant in Bitterfeld, Germany. He joined the company as Head of Research & Development and oversaw design, construction, and startup of their new facility, which was completed in 2000. In 2003, he assumed additional responsibility for zeolite sales and marketing in Central and Eastern Europe. After acquisition of Tricat Zeolites by Sud-Chemie in 2006, he coordinated the implementation of new products and processes. From 2009-2012, Dr. Toufar oversaw Research & Development activities as well as analytical services for Sud-Chemie’s catalyst business in the Americas. In 2013, Dr. Helge was named Head of R&D Center, Louisville, for Clariant Corporation. He is currently the Site Manager for Clariant's facility in Bitterfeld, Germany.  

John Angus, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University

John Angus, PhD, (board member 2009-2011) is the Kent H. Smith Professor Emeritus of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. Professor Angus received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. After receiving his PhD, he worked for the 3M Company on thermoelectric materials. He joined the faculty of Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1963. He has been a Visiting Professor at both the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and at Northwestern University. At Case, he served as Interim Dean of Engineering and as Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering; he retired from Case in 2004. Dr. Angus' major research interests include metastable diamond synthesis, bulk growth of group III nitrides, applied thermodynamics, and electrochemical charge transfer to semiconductors. In 1968, Professor Angus published the first paper on the low-pressure growth of diamond. Professor Angus was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995; he is a Fellow of both the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Electrochemical Society. With Boris Spitsyn and Nobuo Setaka, he is the recipient of the Pioneer Award from the Electrochemical Society, and he has received an honorary ScD from Ohio University.

Kris Kimel, President & Founder, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation

Kris Kimel (board member 2009-2011) is the President and Founder of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), a non-profit company with an international reputation for designing and implementing a range of innovative initiatives. Over the 21-year life of KSTC, dozens of projects have been funded by diverse supporters involving corporations, private foundations, and state and federal government agencies. KSTC funds important R&D and technology commercialization projects at Kentucky universities. It also designed and manages the Kentucky Enterprise Fund (KEF), which is an early stage venture fund that currently holds over 60 equity positions in innovation-driven Kentucky companies. Mr. Kimel is also a leader behind the vision and implementation of Kentucky Space, a non-profit enterprise focused on the design, development, and application of entrepreneurial and educational space platforms. He is also the founder of the international Idea Festival (IF), a world-class event that attracts leading and highly diverse thinkers from across the nation and around the globe to explore and celebrate innovation, imagination, and game-changing ideas.

Please reload


Tel: 502-852-8597

Fax: 502-852-8619


University of Louisville

216 Eastern Parkway

Louisville, KY 40292

© 2017 University of Louisville by Feral Fagiola