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Tom Erickson has been named Director of the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), UND Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo announced today. Erickson had been serving as Interim Director since July (Acting Director since May) and prior to that as Associate Director for Business, Operations, and Intellectual Property at the EERC.

DiLorenzo met with more than 30 individuals and groups as he considered the future leadership for the EERC.  “I thoroughly enjoyed my meetings, and I know that the innovative spirit and entrepreneurial drive at the EERC are strong. It is clear to me that good scientific inquiry is the basis for the work there while interest in energy and our environment is the driving passion,” said DiLorenzo.

Added DiLorenzo, “President (Robert) Kelley and I believe in Tom’s leadership abilities and in the team around him, and we believe that Tom and the team should continue to be given the opportunity to shine.”

"I am thrilled to accept this role. It is my honor to continue leading the outstanding staff at the EERC and working alongside the current leadership team and UND officials to map out a positive path forward," said Erickson.

Erickson and the EERC leadership team are committed to developing and enhancing strategic collaborative partnerships, protecting relevant intellectual property, and advancing EERC-developed technologies into the commercial marketplace.

In addition to Erickson, the EERC’s current leadership team consists of John Harju, Associate Director for Research; Deb Haley, Associate Director for Marketing, Outreach, and Administrative Resources; and Erin O’Leary, Interim Associate Director for Business and Operations, along with Deputy Associate Directors for Research Michael Holmes, Ed Steadman, and Chris Zygarlicke and Deputy Associate Director for Marketing, Outreach, and Administrative Resources Anne Fiala.

“I want to add how much we appreciate the efforts of the entire EERC staff as we have moved through this transition over the past several months,” said DiLorenzo.

“With a new financial plan in place, we are focused on strategically expanding our technical programs under development and strengthening our existing programs. With the strong and focused group of employees at the EERC, I am very confident of a bright future ahead,” said Erickson.  “I am also looking forward to working with Provost DiLorenzo on further collaborations with other key departments within the University family in order to strengthen relationships and build future research opportunities.”

Since 1983, the EERC has been transformed from a former federal R&D facility to a practical, entrepreneurial, market-driven organization with national and international clientele emphasizing working partnerships with industry, government, research, and academic institutions. During that time, the EERC has had nearly 1300 clients in 52 countries, over 960 of which have been from the private sector, including many Fortune 500 companies. The EERC's research portfolio totaled $202.5 million in fiscal year 2014.

The EERC, with its long tradition of fossil fuel-related R&D, has broadened its scope to include a wide array of strategic energy and environmental issues.  Erickson oversees efforts to address these issues through strategic initiatives focused on clean coal technologies; oil and gas industry technologies; carbon capture, utilization, and storage; energy and water sustainability; air toxics and fine particulate control; water management strategies; global climate change; waste utilization; hydrogen technologies; and contaminant cleanup.

Erickson began his career in 1986, when he was hired as a student at the UND Energy and Mineral Research Center. He was hired full-time as a Research Specialist in 1988. Over the years, he has held many different positions, including Research Engineer, Supervisor for Analytical Research, Research Manager, and Senior Research Manager. From 1999 to 2011, he served the EERC as an Associate Director for Research, where he focused on the development of advanced power and fuel systems from fossil and renewable energy sources.

Since 2011, Erickson has served as Associate Director for Business, Operations, and Intellectual Property, where he oversees activities related to safety, facilities, business functions, and protection and commercialization of intellectual property. The duties and responsibilities of this position are focused on providing facilities, engineering and construction support, accounting services, contracting services, business policies and practices, safe operations, and intellectual property protection and development to enable and enhance the cutting-edge research of the EERC.

Erickson earned both his B.S. and M.S degrees in Chemical Engineering from UND.