June 2017 Technical Society Program

Dr. James Beavers will be the Technical Society speaker on June 12, 2017. The title of his presentation will be “Seismicity and Seismic Design in Tennessee”. Seismic activity is more common in east Tennessee than most of us realize and anyone interested in our safety and building ( public and private) integrity is invited to attend.

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Posted by on June 2, 2017 in Meetings


May 2017 Technical Society Program

Dr. Matthew N. Murray will be the Technical Society speaker on May 8, 2017. The title of his presentation will be “Free Trade or Protectionism?” This will be a discussion/lecture on a very relevant topic that is developed for non-economists and intended to be  broadly accessible.  Dr. Murray is Professor of Economics at  the University of Tennessee. He is Associate Director of the Boyd Center for Business & Economic Research and Director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Dr. Murray’s work in the Boyd Center includes maintenance of the state econometric forecasting model that supports the annual Economic Report to the Governor and the quarterly Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook.  He has worked closely with state and local governments on a wide range of public policy issues including economic development incentives, economic/fiscal impact analysis, tax policy analysis, education finance reform, and transportation infrastructure finance.

Future Technical Society programs:

June 12: Dr. James E. Beavers, consultant: Seismicity and seismic design assessment in Tennessee.

July:10: TBA

August 14: Prof. Joshua Fu, UT: Hemispherical transport of air pollution.

September 18 ( Note: this is not the second Monday):TBA

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Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Meetings


March 2017 Technical Society Program

The speaker for the Technical Society meeting on March 13, 2017 will be Dr. John W. Prados. The title of his presentation will be “Educating Engineers for a Global Profession: Can We Make Them Outsource-Resistant?” (PDH)

Dr. Prados has taught engineers since 1953 and he has been involved in every aspect of education since then. Anyone interested in technology education should take this opportunity to learn about this area that is critical to our country’s future success.

The list of a some of his areas of service is awesome: Chair of the Engineering Accreditation Commission, Secretary, and President of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (now ABET, Inc.); Treasurer and Director of AIChE; President and Treasurer of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; and member of the Commission on Colleges and Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. From 1995 to 2001 he edited the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)Journal of Engineering Education.

Dr. Prados has worked at the University of Tennessee as a chemical engineering faculty member,  Vice President for Academic Affairs of the statewide University of Tennessee System and Chemical Engineering  Department Head. He worked at ORNL and he was Senior Education Associate in the Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation.

And he did it all in only 60 years. He has also been a long time member of the Technical Society


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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Meetings


February 2017 Technical Society Program

Fangxing “Fran” Li, Ph.D., P.E., James W. McConnell Professor,The University of Tennessee will be the speaker at the Technical Society of Knoxville meeting on February 13, 2017. He will talk about demand response for modernized grid control. Our electrical power distribution system is so important that everyone needs to understand as much as they can about it. ( If you are reading this you are included in “everyone”).

The title will be: “Demand response for modernized grid control”. He plans these three parts:
1) General introduction of electric power systems with emerging technologies under the smart grid paradigm such as renewable energy.
2) General discussion of demand response, an emerging technology in smart grid control.
3) His most recent research results in demand control for power grid frequency regulation.
He will have 1) and 2) for the benefit of non-EE or non-power folks , since he will also include some high-level big-picture discussions.

Dr. Li is presently the James W. McConnell Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at The University of Tennessee. He also serves as the UT Campus Director for CURENT, an NSF/DOE Engineering Research Center. He is also an adjunct researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). His current research interests include renewable energy integration, demand response, distributed energy resources, energy markets, reactive power, power system computing and synchrophasor-based technologies.

Professor Li had worked at ABB Electrical System Consulting (ESC), a.k.a. ABB Consulting, in Raleigh, NC, from February 2001 to August 2005 as a Senior Engineer and then a Principal Engineer before joining UT. During his employment at ABB, he has been significantly involved first in power distribution systems and then in power market analysis, particularly in GridView related R&D and consulting service for power generation and transmission companies. He had also worked as a part-time engineer at Electrical Distribution Design (EDD) Inc., Blacksburg, VA from 1998 to 2000 and an engineer intern at NARI (China) in 1997. He is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in the state of North Carolina.

Professor Li is a Fellow of IEEE (Class of 2017) and a Fellow of IET (formerly IET, elected in 2011). Also, he is serving or has served as an Editor or Editorial Board Member for a number of journals, such as: IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, IEEE PES Letters, IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, Journal of Modern Power and Energy Systems, and CSEE Journal of Power and Energy Systems. He is presently serving as the Vice Chair for the IEEE PES PSOPE committee and in other positions within IEEE PES (Power and Energy Society).

Professor Li has received a number of honors, such as the 2006 Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Teacher Award at UT, UT EECS Faculty Early Career Fellowship Awards (2008, 2009 & 2010), 2009 UT College of Engineering Research Fellow Awards, 2011 UT Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement, 2013 EECS Gonzalez Family Award for Faculty Excellence in Research, 2015 UT College of Engineering Professional Promise in Research Award, 2015 IEEE PES Technical Committee Distinguished Service Award, an Outstanding Reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Power Systems in 2015. His research team has been honored with Best Conference Papers/Posters seven times at various conferences.

Dr. Li is a member of the NSF/DOE Engineering Research Center – CURENT.

Ph.D from Virginia Tech, 2001
M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, 1997
B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, 1994

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Posted by on January 26, 2017 in Meetings


January 2017 Technical Society Program

The Technical Society of Knoxville will meet on January 23, 2017.

The featured speaker will be board certified family physician Jim Reynolds, MD, who will present a talk entitled “If There Were an Olympics of Health Care, Would the U.S.A. Medal?” Since the news is full of health care talk these days this will be an excellent opportunity to hear an opinion about the topic from a professional person.

Dr. Reynolds’ talk will include a frank assessment of our current healthcare system as well as what can be done to make it better. This event and other local meetings are actions initiated in response to the serious need for Americans to improve our healthcare system.

“Despite having the most expensive healthcare system, the United States ranked last among 11 industrialized countries in a 2014 Commonwealth Fund report. This report measured quality, efficiency, equity, access to care, and healthy lives. The other countries included in the study were France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. While there was room for improvement in every country, the United States stood out for having the highest costs and lowest performance. The United States spent $8508 per person per year versus the United Kingdom’s $3406 per person per year. The United Kingdom placed first overall,” said Dr. Reynolds.

Dr. Reynolds, Diplomate American Board of Family Medicine is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, (PNHP) an advocacy organization of some 20,000 American physicians, medical students, and health professionals that supports a single-payer system of universal national health care.

The presentation will be followed by a short Technical Society annual meeting.

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Meetings


December 2016 Technical Society Program

On December 12, 2016 Walter Wunderlich will be the Technical Society of Knoxville speaker. He has prepared a slide show with the theme “The national park system centennial 100-mile hiking challenge”. Walter will present his impressions during 15 hikes totaling about 150 miles, between January 1 and December 1, 2016, all in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park- and unfortunately not all good. (Surrounded by bears at midnight with no flashlight Walter?)

This year the National Park Service was celebrating its’ Centennial to honor the first 100 years of the National Park Service and launch into the next century. They encouraged hikers to set a goal of reaching 100 miles during this special year of celebration, between January 1-December 6, 2016. All those that completed their 100 miles by December 6th will receive a commemorative “Smokies Centennial Challenge – Hike 100” pin.

Walter Wunderlich is an 84 year old engineer, a water expert, originally from Germany, who retired from TVA and who hikes regularly in spite of recent serious illness. He is an inspiration to us all. Walter has served as a Technical Society of Knoxville officer for many years and he is always a source of wisdom- especially on the conversion to the metric system.

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Posted by on December 5, 2016 in Meetings


November 2016 Technical Society Program

The current East Tennessee hot dry weather is a reminder that the USA must be a leader in reducing the carbon dioxide in the air and harnessing water power is a good way to reduce our need for burning fossil fuels.

The Technical Society of Knoxville will meet at the Crowne Plaza at 11:30 a.m on November 14, 2016 . The speaker will be Dr. Boualem Hadjerioua, Deputy Water Power Program Manager & Senior Research Engineer, Environmental Science Division , ORNL. The title of his presentation will be “Potential Hydropower Expansion in the U.S.” (PDH)
Dr. Hadjerioua has spoken on this and similar topics in many places and this is an opportunity to get some perspective on an important underused energy source.

His current responsibilities include Leading and conventional hydropower projects(sic) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the Department of Energy (DOE). Specific responsibilities focus on developing technologies, decision-support tools, and methods of analysis that enable holistic management of water-dependent energy infrastructure and natural resources, in support of DOE-EE, Federal Hydropower agencies, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), energy producers and other entities.
He has been educated in a variety of places: A.A.S., Contemporary Management Business Dept., Roane State Community College; Ph.D., University of Arizona; M.S., University of Arizona ; and B.S., National Polytechnic School of Algiers.
His listed current projects are
Task Force Leader: Technology and Performance Hydropower U.S. Department of Energy Vision Project
Represent the United States Department of Energy in the International Energy Agency (IEA)
Assess and evaluate New Small Hydro Technology and Innovative Research
Modular Pumped Storage Hydropower (m-PSH) Economic Viability Analysis.
Collaborating with Federal hydropower agencies and research teams on several projects
Collaborating with Academia and Federal Hydropower Agencies on R&D Water Quality Modeling project
Lead the United States expert team with South East Asia countries, supporting U S DOI, State Department and DOE Office of Asian Affairs

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Posted by on November 7, 2016 in Meetings


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