News Release: Wirth Chair Honors NREL’s Dan Arvizu

Aug. 31, 2015 | By George Douglas | Contact media relations

Dr. Dan E. Arvizu was honored at the 16th annual Wirth Chair Sustainability Awards Luncheon in Denver today for his longtime leadership at the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The longest-serving director and chief executive in the research organization's history, Arvizu is retiring after 10 years at its helm.

The Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development, part of the University of Colorado Denver's School of Public Affairs, annually honors someone who has made an impact on environmental, economic and social sustainability issues. The Wirth Chair is named for Tim Wirth, who represented Colorado first in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the U.S. Senate.

During Arvizu's tenure, NREL's research portfolio has nearly doubled. High-performance computing, electricity grid integration, and fundamental research in materials and biological science have emerged to complement major technology research and development programs in renewable generation, renewable fuels, and buildings energy efficiency. NREL has markedly increased commercial and public partnerships and the stature of the laboratory's leading energy analysis capabilities have expanded as NREL has examined increasingly complex issues.

"During the 10 years I've spent at NREL, we have - along with countless others - cleared a path for a transformation in the way all of us make and use energy," Arvizu said. "We've done so in a way that will guarantee coming generations a chance at a future in which energy is affordable, available to all, and environmentally friendly."

In addition to his role as NREL director, Arvizu was appointed by two successive U.S. presidents to serve six-year terms on the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation and advises the president and Congress on science policy. Before joining NREL, Arvizu was a chief technology officer with CH2M. Previously, he was an executive with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, leading organizations in energy technologies, material science, and technology commercialization. He started his career and spent four years at AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Arvizu earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from New Mexico State University, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.

Editor's note: Photo available upon request.

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


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