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Engineering Lecture Series Brings Together Industry Execs Nov. 12

Published: November 3, 2009

Providing insider views while discussing solutions regarding energy and environmental sustainability, four executives from the upper echelon of industry will come together Thursday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. at CSULB for the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Addressing this critical topic will be Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs at Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) and former deputy chief of staff for California Gov. Gray Davis; Matt Kestian, chief technology officer, Microsoft Southwest District; Michael Niggli, chief operating office, Sempra Energy Utilities; and Braden R. Allenby, a Lincoln professor of engineering ethics, professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, and of law, Arizona State University.

“Cal State Long Beach and its industry partners are coming together to address the problems and seek solutions for a society that needs and desires economic growth, but has come to the realization that the growth must be achieved within the parameters of environmental sustainability,” said Forouzan Golshani, the dean of the College of Engineering (COE) at CSULB. “That is what the Distinguished Lecture Series is designed to do—address in a thought-provoking way the topics that are imperative in today’s society on a global scale while enabling the College of Engineering to further its core mission and goals as related to the sustainability area.”

Drawing from their unique industry and collegiate perspectives, the panel will confront tough and timely topics, such as finding green solutions for reducing emission, the consumption of resources, and new approaches to human waste and energy solutions for this and the next generation.

The speakers will also discuss alternative sources of energy and its generation and distribution as well as seek ideas for the improvement of mechanical, chemical and others types of recycling methods. The panel will touch on the idea of a “Smart Grid” that would optimize the distribution of energy. The group may also address local, national and global policies and the various ways different types of industries may contribute to prolonged sustainability.

“We want to help control and reduce the escalating power demands of enterprise technology. This will allow our customers and Microsoft to better manage the carbon footprint while also lowering costs,” said Kestian. “This makes sense because it reduces the potential impacts of global warming on society and it helps our customers reduce their costs.”

Kestian continued, “Microsoft is committed to delivering technology innovations that will help organizations reduce energy demands, manage energy and environmental footprints, rethink business practices to reduce environmental impact and improve their bottom line. Our aim is to accelerate innovation and the accessibility of worldwide solutions through broad technology leadership, global partnerships and environmental practices.”

The panel will enter the discussion having agreed on several truths about the Earth’s environmental condition. They include:

• the long-term maintenance of human wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of the world around us, which in turn depends on the responsible use of natural resources;

• it is now clear that human activities have a significant and sharply escalating impact on the biodiversity of world ecosystems, and there is abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably;

• and with the drastic increase of human population, natural ecosystems have declined and changes in the balance of natural cycles have had a negative impact on both humans and other living systems.

Nancy McFadden
Photo Courtesy of Nancy McFadden
Nancy McFadden

This first event of the Distinguished Lecture Series will feature a roundtable panel discussion that will be followed by a question/answer session. Other events may showcase a single renowned speaker. The audience for the lecture series will consist of students, graduates, faculty, members of the local and regional civic and private organizations, and supporters of COE.

The lecture series is hosted and sponsored by the College Advisory Council whose members include:

• Senior executives from BP America
• The City of Long Beach
• The Port of Long Beach
• The Port of Los Angeles
• Southern California Gas Company
• Pacific Gas and Electric
• Applied Medical
• DENSO Sales of California
• Fluor Enterprises
• The Boeing Company
• Raytheon Company
• Northrop Grumman
• SmartLabs
• P2S Engineering
• Bager Electronics
• RBF Consulting
• Community members and friends of the COE.

–Paul Browning