The University of Texas at San Antonio announced today the appointment of Les Shephard, a nationally recognized expert who often speaks before U.S. Congress on energy and water issues, to head its Institute for Conventional, Alternative and Renewable Energy (ICARE). Shephard will assume his role as director of the UTSA institute effective April 15, 2010.
“Les Shephard is an expert in his field. He is knowledgeable, well-respected and highly sought-after by energy companies across the world,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. “We are thrilled that he will be coming here to UTSA, where he will work with our faculty and our collaborative partners to build a world-class energy institute right here in San Antonio.”
Shephard will reside in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in UTSA’s College of Engineering, where he will hold the USAA Robert F. McDermott Distinguished Chair in Engineering, an endowment which contributed greatly to his recruitment to UTSA.
“I am truly delighted to hear that Dr. Les Shephard is joining I-CARE after many years of very distinguished leadership at Sandia, including his position as vice president for energy and critical global infrastructure,” said David B. Prior, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at The University of Texas System. “I have known Les personally and professionally since his doctoral work at Texas A&M and know that he will undoubtedly contribute very substantially to new directions at ICARE and to the new strengths in energy-related research across the University of Texas System.”
Shephard’s hire comes at a crucial time for UTSA, which is competing with six other Texas universities to reach tier one status. To achieve that goal, UTSA must significantly increase its annual federal research expenditures. Energy research is one of five strategic areas it will focus on to do so.
Under Shephard’s direction, UTSA’s energy institute, ICARE, will bring together representatives from industry, government and academia to explore alternative energy sources. It will also look into new policies and best practices for the energy industry in the region, the state and internationally. The Institute’s research will involve every college at UTSA and the university’s existing Center for Water Research. ICARE will also support the Energy Research Alliance of San Antonio, developed earlier this year by UTSA, Southwest Research Institute, CPS Energy and San Antonio Water System. The Alliance, which is in its infancy, will conceptualize, develop and commercialize technologies to meet San Antonio’s current and future energy challenges.
Shephard joins UTSA from Sandia National Laboratories, which is managed by Lockheed Martin Corporation for the U.S. Department of Energy, where he served for more than 27 years. Most recently, Shephard was vice president of Sandia’s Energy, Security and Defense Technologies Division, a multi-program science-based engineering laboratory located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Historically, Shephard’s Sandia division has developed, deployed and commercialized technologies and capabilities that address many of our nation’s most pressing national security challenges in energy, water, infrastructure and strategic nuclear materials. The division has also pursued technology breakthroughs that will contribute to alternative transportation fuels, energy efficiency, responsible environmental stewardship and renewable energy options. Today, it works with more than 100 nations around the work, pursuing a principal mission of creating a peaceful and free world through technology.