Monthly Archives: September 2016

October 2016 Technical Society Program

The Technical Society of Knoxville will meet at the Crowne Plaza at 11:30 a.m. October 3, 2016. Please note that this is the FIRST Monday of October and NOT the second Monday.

The speaker will be Erin Gill, the Director of Sustainability at the City of Knoxville. The title of her talk will be “Thinking Globally: Reflections on Cities’ Roles in Tackling Climate Change.” (PDH). 

It is beginning to dawn on the world that people cannot treat the earth as if it is infinite and unchanging and instead people can and have and are continuing to make earth wide changes in the oceans, atmosphere and land – that must be reversed. Changes that are world wide have to start with local changes in a myriad of places. The City of Knoxville appears to be taking a leadership role among the cities. This is an opportunity to learn of the needs and consider how the Technical Society can contribute. There is a lot of activity in Knoxville right now.

Erin Gill worked several years for the City of Knoxville starting in 2008. She left the city and obtained a masters degree in environmental management from Yale. Her Master’s Project was a Renewable Portfolio Standard Policy Assessment for the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association. She has worked for New York city, ICF International,Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, US EPA and Georgia Power and returned to Knoxville in 2013. She has bachelors degree from Notre Dame in history.
One of her references on Linkedin said “Erin takes initiative. She’s a great partner to have on any project because she can quickly assess situations, find innovative solutions, and build and maintain the relationships needed to implement those solutions over time. Her management of Knoxville’s Solar America City grant helped grow Knoxville’s solar capacity from around 15 kilowatts to over 1 megawatt in two years time.”

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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Meetings


August 2016 Technical Society News

On August 8, 2016 Barry Thacker gave an excellent presentation on the history of Coal Creek. He came dressed as a person from the past and told the story from that person’s perspective. The presentation was well done.

Inexpensive natural gas and stringent government regulations are killing the traditional economy of coal-mining communities in Tennessee. What hope of survival do residents of these communities have? We all need to be thinking of a future when there will be no fossil fuels extracted from the ground, there will be no subsistence farmers and manufacturing will be done by sophisticated robots.

As the founder of the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit watershed-restoration group. Mr. Thacker has emphasized education. To give us an idea of the importance of education he brought a former student, Kyle Leinart, who is co-founder and systems/software developer at ImmersaCAD in Knoxville, TN. Kyle was the recipient of the 2011 Nantglo Scholarship from the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation and he has used his education well and is now co-patent holder on a portable virtual reality device with One-Touch Navigation™, which enables architectural and engineering CAD drawings to be viewed in virtual reality. This is not even close to describing the device! Mr. Leinart demonstrated the device and I, secretary Bob Scott, could understand Samuel Morse’s message “ What hath God wrought?” Go to to learn more.
We sometimes fail to realize the quality of speakers we have at the Technical Society meetings. I said in the meeting announcements that Barry Thacker was a recipient of the prestigious Hoover Medal bestowed by an international consortium of engineering societies. What I didn’t say was that among other recipients have been Edgar Kaiser, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and Steve Wozniak.

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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in News


September 2016 Technical Society Program

On September 12, 2016. The speaker will be Dan Stout, Senior Manager, Small Modular Reactors (SMR), Tennessee Valley Authority. The title of Mr. Stout’s presentation will be “Small Modular Reactors: Challenges and Path Forward”(PDH).

TVA is considering additional nuclear reactors as part of their future power options. This presentation will be valuable to anyone who is concerned with the future of our planet. The earth will stop emitting CO2 from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere in the near future. How soon will TVA stop burning fossil fuels? What part will nuclear energy play in the future? What are the plans and studies of one of the largest power producers in the world?
Dan Stout is responsible for nuclear project development including managing the scope, schedule, budget and business planning associated with licensing and potentially deploying SMRs at TVA’s Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Mr. Stout has over 29 years of experience in the nuclear energy sector.  He joined the TVA in 2009 and became responsible for TVA’s SMR program in 2012.
Prior to TVA, Mr. Stout served as Director, Nuclear Fuel Recycling at the Department of Energy where he was responsible for planning and policy development regarding nuclear fuel recycling.  From 1991 to 2006, Mr. Stout worked in the uranium enrichment industry predominantly at USEC Inc., with responsibility for R&D, engineering, and licensing of advanced uranium enrichment technologies and facilities.
From 1985-1991 Mr. Stout served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer.  He also served in the Naval Reserves in the Naval Special Warfare community from 1991-2007, retiring as a Commander. Mr. Stout graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985.  He received his Masters Degree in Engineering Management from the National Technological University in 1997.

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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Meetings


STEM professional volunteers needed

Hi All,

I hope this message finds you well. I have two needs I wanted to share with you.

1. We are looking for STEM professionals to present some type of career based engaging activity to a group of their middle school students. This would be on a Friday from 8:25 – 8:55. We need someone for each of the following months – October, November, December, January, March, April and May. If you are interested please let me know.

2. November 8th is Knox County Schools District Learning Day – the district science supervisor is putting together a “Science Playground” and has asked for help finding community STEM professionals to host a table with an activity for teachers to complete. I know I have already spoken with a few of you about this so please forgive the repetition. The time will most likely be 9:30 – 10:30am, that will be confirmed ASAP. Please let me know if you are able to host a table.

Thank you,

Haley Holt

STEMSpark Director

401 Henley Street

Knoxville, TN 37902


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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Volunteer Opportunities