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News Release: NREL Employees Honored for Advancing Industry

May 6, 2011

Professional organizations recently honored four employees from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for advancing renewable energy research and furthering their professions.

Thresher Inducted into Engineering Hall of Fame

Bob Thresher, a NREL Research Fellow, was recently inducted into Oregon State University's (OSU) Engineering Hall of Fame. Thresher was selected for his "distinguished contributions to the engineering community and society at large."

Thresher started working at NREL in 1984 as a principal scientist researching the effects of atmospheric turbulence on wind turbines. Later, he led research and development for the Federal Wind Energy Program, helping create the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Under his direction, the budget for the NWTC increased from $5 million to $30 million. He has been a strategist and spokesperson for the initiation of a national research program to develop offshore wind, wave, tidal, and current energy technology. Thresher provides unparalleled expertise in research, development and commercialization of wind and ocean energy technologies. In his role as a Research Fellow, he helps advise the Lab's executive management on enhancing the quality of and defining the strategic direction of science and technology for NREL.

Rugh Honored with Distinguished Speaker Award

Senior Engineer John Rugh is one of five recipients of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) 2011 Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award. Rugh is being honored because of his outstanding public speaking skills and for delivering high-quality presentations during SAE technical sessions. To qualify for the award, he had to receive SAE’s Oral Presentation Award at least twice.

Among his many presentations at SAE sessions, Rugh has covered a variety of topics including techniques to reduce thermal loads and air conditioning fuel use in vehicles, thermal comfort measurement and analysis in automobiles, and a vehicle-level test procedure to measure air conditioning fuel use.

Rugh is the first NREL employee to receive this award. His accomplishment was celebrated during a special ceremony at the 2011 SAE World Congress.

Romero Honored as Role Model

NREL Senior Scientist Manuel Romero, was recently singled out as a HENAAC Role Model of the Week. The program highlights Hispanic engineers, scientists, and technology professionals to middle school, high school and college students that participate in various HENACC education outreach programs. Role models are selected from the hundreds of nominees submitted for the annual HENAAC awards. Romero was honored with the HENAAC Luminary Award in 2010.

Romero joined NREL in January 2001 after earning his Ph.D. from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Cadiz, Spain. Romero develops innovative equipment to help develop state-of-the-art electronic materials used in solar cells. He has won a Laboratory Director’s Research and Development Award to further develop scanning tunneling luminescence, and investigate plasmonics in quantum dot structures. Romero spends off-hours visiting middle-school classrooms in Denver to talk to students about science.

Hayter to Receive Exceptional Service Award

NREL's Sheila Hayter will be honored with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) Exceptional Service Award at ASHRAE’s annual conference in June. The award recognizes ASHRAE members who serve the Society with exemplary effort, and for unstintingly volunteering their time and talent. In addition to being an ASHRAE member and Fellow, she is an ASHRAE vice president, and has served as board director-at-large. Hayter also has served on many Society committees, including the Finance Committee and the Board Governance Implementation Ad Hoc Committee. Hayter was selected for this honor from a pool of more than 52,000 members.

NREL is the Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.


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—Heather Lammers