Brook Byers Professors Appointed

In January 2014, three distinguished faculty were named Brook Byers Professors:  Bert Bras (Mechanical Engineering), Marilyn Brown (Public Policy), and Elsa Reichmanis (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering). Made possible by a gift from Shawn and Brook Byers, a 1968 Georgia Tech alumnus in Electrical Engineering, the Brook Byers Professorships provide resources to enable and enhance cross-disciplinary, collaborative research and education in sustainability, energy, and water. Recommended by their peers, the three recipients were chosen by the Provost and approved by the Board of Regents. The appointments recognize superior scholarly achievement and the potential for further progress. The Brook Byers Professorship is the highest title bestowed at Georgia Tech for those specifically engaged in sustainability related research and education.

Bert Bras is the director of Sustainable Design and Manufacturing group and a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Bras excels at taking a systems view of sustainability problems resulting in novel and innovative opportunities that yield environmental as well as economic benefits. Funded by government agencies as well as major industry partners, his recent collaboration with Ford Motor Company resulted in Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle® campaign and the Ford C-Max Solar Energi concept car. As a Brook Byers Professor, Bras intends to expand his collaborative work with other faculty and students on campus. In particular he plans to expand and integrate his work in biologically-inspired design, energy systems, vehicle electrification, and personal mobility.

As a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy and member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee ValleyAuthority, Marilyn Brown is a leading expert on scenarios for a clean energy future.  Using sophisticated energy-engineering models, Professor Brown has brought a fact-based and authoritative perspective to energy sustainability discussions, influencing policy initiatives across the globe, the U.S., and particularly the South. Her research over the past several years has examined the impact of energy benchmarking to address information gaps in the real estate industry; trade-offs between electric and diesel urban delivery trucks; the potential for U.S. electrical efficiency improvements; the potential for co-generation to improve U.S. industrial competitiveness; and the evolution of smart grid governance. Through the Brook Byers Professorship, Brown will endeavor to expand the sustainability dialogue across campus as a means to establish Georgia Tech as a thought leader on technologies and policies for a clean energy future. 

Elsa Reichmanis, professor in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a member of the National Academyof Engineering, is an expert in the design of materials architectures for advanced energy applications such as solar cells and batteries. She is specifically focused on developing processes that enable low-cost, large-area, high-throughput manufacturing that uses sustainable, environmentally benign materials and processes. Additionally, Reichmanis is working to enrich the professional development of students, along with enhancing their interest and involvement in sustainable development. Included among these activities are student led invitations to leaders in the sustainability arena; student forums related to sustainability and renewable energy; and support for the development of instructional modules that relate to the sustainability technology/policy interface. About her appointment, Reichmanis said: “Georgia Tech is home to many great programs and initiatives, and as a Brook Byers Professor, I hope to work with my colleagues to help address the many challenges associated with building a sustainable future.

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Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS