Technical Advisory Board - Past Members

The Conn Center remains grateful to past members of the Technical Advisory Board. These distinguished professionals shared their considerable talents, perspectives, and time to ensure that the efforts of the Center remained congruent with the legislative mandate from the state, accomplished the goals set forth by the University, and were responsive to the current state-of-the-science for renewable energy research, environmental stewardship, and public energy policy. 

Thank you for your service.

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

John Angus, PhD 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2009 - 2011

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

Burtron Davis, PhD 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2009 - 2014

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

Gail W. DePuy, PhD, PE 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2017 - 2018

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

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.


Technical Advisory Board member 2017 - 2019

Tony Hancock, PhD, President, MEC Ltd.

Tony Hancock, PhD 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2014 - 2017

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

Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, PhD was the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 2014 through 2019. 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. 


Technical Advisory Board member 2015 - 2019  

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

Kris Kimel 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2009 - 2011

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

Leonard Peters, PhD was the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet Secretary for Energy & Environment. 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. 

Technical Advisory Board member 2009 - 2016

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

Neville Pinto, PhD 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 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 MS and PhD 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.

Technical Advisory Board chair 2013 - 2015

Chandra Ratnasamy, Head of R&D, Clariant Corporation

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

Technical Advisory Board member 2015 - 2019

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

Charles G. Snavely was appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin as Cabinet Secretary for Energy & Environment 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.

Technical Advisory Board member 2016 - 2019

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

Helge Toufar, PhD 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. 


Technical Advisory Board member 2010 - 2015 

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

John Usher, PhD, PE 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. 


Technical Advisory Board member 2015 - 2017 

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