Learn more about the expertise and technical skills of the wind power research team and staff at NREL.
Center Director I-Technical
Dr. Daniel Laird is director of the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Laird also serves as an executive committee member of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Atmosphere to Electrons Wind Plant Optimization Initiative and provides leadership in the focus areas of high-fidelity modeling, wind power plant controls, and rotor dynamics. Prior to joining NREL in 2015, he spent 19 years at Sandia National Laboratories leading wind energy and water power research efforts in structural analysis and simulation, computational design tools, advanced manufacturing, composite materials, and blade reliability.
LABORATORY PROGRAM MANAGER II - MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Brian Smith is the partnership manager for the NWTC and focuses on portfolio diversification, capability enhancement, and strategy. Smith joined NREL in 1988, first as a test engineer for advanced airfoil blades and then as the project leader for advanced wind technology development and field verification partnerships with industry. He managed the DOE Turbine Research and DOE-Electric Power Research Institute Turbine Verification Program activities at NREL in the 1990s that helped reinvigorate the development and deployment of wind technology and power plants in the United States. Smith served as the manager of NREL's Laboratory Wind and Water Power Program from 2002 to 2014 and acting NWTC director from 2014 to 2015. He is the U.S. alternate member and vice chair of the executive committee for the International Energy Agency's Technology Collaboration Programme for Wind Energy Systems Research, Development, and Demonstration.
Paul Veers is the chief engineer at the NWTC and also represents NREL on DOE's Atmosphere to Electrons Executive Management Committee. He has worked in the area of wind energy technology since 1980, conducting research on wind energy systems—including atmospheric turbulence simulation, fatigue analysis, reliability, structural dynamics, aeroelastic tailoring of blades, and the evaluation of design requirements. Prior to his role at NREL, he was a distinguished member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. Veers has authored more than 70 articles, papers, book chapters, and reports, and for 12 years he was the chief editor for Wind Energy, an international journal for progress and applications in wind power.