News Ticker

Tom Erickson, Associate Director for Business, Operations, and Intellectual Property, has been named Interim Director of the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) by University of North Dakota (UND) President Robert Kelley. Erickson has had a long career at the EERC, beginning as a lab technician. He earned both B.S. and M.S degrees in Chemical Engineering from UND.

“I am happy to accept this position, working alongside the current leadership team already in place,” Erickson said. “This solid core of people has been working together for the better part of two decades, some of us longer than that. It is my honor to work with them to continue leading the EERC through this transition period.”

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 ErinO’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. Together, the management team brings more than 200 combined years of service to the EERC.

“Tom has served in many capacities throughout his career and is uniquely qualified to lead as Interim Director,” said Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, UND Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Under his leadership, the EERC will continue to pursue collaborative opportunities that contribute to the continued success of clients, the EERC, and the University.”

Erickson was hired as a Research Specialist at the UND Energy and Mineral Research Center 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, and safe operations to enable and enhance the world-class research of the EERC.

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

“Our leadership team is, more than ever, committed to exceeding the expectations of our clients and building on the existing research portfolio,” Erickson said. “We will also be very focused on investing in our employees, giving them the necessary support and tools to pursue and grow future research programs.” 

The EERC has been operating as part of UND since 1983. It operates like a business and pursues an entrepreneurial, market-driven approach to research and development in order to successfully demonstrate and commercialize innovative technologies. The EERC currently employs about 235 people.

The Center was founded in 1951 as the Robertson Lignite Research Laboratory, a federal facility under the U.S. Bureau of Mines. It became a federal energy technology center under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1977 and was defederalized in 1983, becoming a part of the university. In 1987, all research entities within the UND School of Engineering and Mines were combined into the Energy & Mineral Research Center, changing over to the EERC in 1989. Today, the EERC leverages and enhances government research dollars by developing working partnerships with industry, government, and the research community. Since 1987, the EERC has had over 1280 clients in 52 countries.