Consciousness-raising 21st-century style: Forums help people understand energy issues.

Consciousness-raising 21st-century style: Forums help people understand energy issues.


GM’s Energy Diversity and Fuel Economy tour.

“I want each of you to look at the person sitting next to you,” said Ed Glab, director, Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management in the College of Business Administration, at the beginning of a presentation titled Energy Diversity and Fuel Economy. “Meet the problem.”

Glab directed his words at the 185 people who gathered to hear about General Motor’s (GM) energy diversity strategy and to see some of the cars on display that do not rely on petroleum. He alerted the audience that, until we all change our behaviors, the problems spawned by greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependences won’t be solved. Yet, solve them we must, he added.


“The 20th century was the age of oil but the 21st century will be the age of technology and alternative fuels.”

Ed Glab, director, Knight Ridder Center for Excellence in Management


“Through our Energy and Business Forum, which seeks to advance Western Hemispheric energy security by lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, we have offered—and will continue to offer—a number of programs to get people to realize that, while the 20th century was the age of oil, the 21st century will be the age of technology and alternative fuels,” he said. “Since transportation accounts for about one-half of all the petroleum used daily in the United States, it’s important that we look at the challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry.”


GM’s Energy Diversity and Fuel Economy tour.

GM hits the road to showcase its progress.

GM, which is traveling the country on an “energy diversity and fuel economy tour,” selected Florida International University as the sole site in Florida at which to appear. GM’s Dave Schmidt, engineering group manager, Global Energy Center, and Mary Beth Stanek, director, Environment and Energy, joined Glab and Rajiv Srivastava, associate director for water and environmental technologies, Applied Research Center (ARC), Florida International University on June 6, 2007. GM, ARC, and the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy & Citizenship Studies co-sponsored the event with the Knight Ridder Center.


GM’s Energy Diversity and Fuel Economy tour.

“GM representatives spoke about biofuels like E85 ethanol, hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and electric cars,” said Carmen Algeciras (MIB ’03, BA ’01), director, John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and ARC researcher, who helped organize the event, along with Deanna Salpietra, research coordinator, Knight Ridder Center. “We were very happy to have students from engineering, business, and environmental studies courses among those attending; it made for a very dynamic Q&A session. It was gratifying to see our faculty and students, who comprised about half the audience, engaged in a topic of such great importance to all of us.”

Members of the media, including NBC 6, the South Florida Business Journal, and journals that cover the automotive industry, were present, and like everyone over 21 who attended, had the opportunity to test drive the GM cars and learn about their inner workings.


“This was a significant step in strengthening our relationship with GM.”

Carmen Algeciras (MIB ’03, BA ’01), director, John Ogonowski Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)


“This was a significant step in strengthening our relationship with GM, whose representatives were very impressed with our facility and our organization of the event,” Algeciras said, looking ahead to a major conference, “Transportation Fuel Security for the Américas.” “This conference will take place in January, 2008, and it will be valuable for alternative fuel developers and producers, biofuels technologists, fuel distributors, automotive manufacturers, financiers and investors, and government policy makers and regulators.”

Program on biofuels calls attention to the agricultural side of new energy development.


GM’s Energy Diversity and Fuel Economy tour.

On May 24, 2007, about sixty people attended “Biofuels in the Hemisphere: Current Status and Prospects,” part of the “Hemispheric Agribusiness Seminar Series.” Moderated by Algeciras, the event brought together university and global experts. Dr. Chelston W.D. Brathwaite, director general, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), gave an introduction, followed by remarks from George Philippidis, director, Center for Energy and Technology for the Américas (CETA) ARC, whose seventeen years of expertise in cellulosic ethanol enabled him to provide an overview of the technology. Mario Seixas, associate deputy director general, IICA, focused on the potential in Latin América and the Caribbean; and Jay Levenstein, deputy commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, covered investment and grant opportunities related to biofuel initiatives in the state.

Visit the following sites for more information:
Energy and Business Forum: http://krcem.fiu.edu/energy.html.
GM presentation: http://business.fiu.edu/media/?apseries=259.
IICA presentation: http://usaid.fiu.edu/has2.htm.
“Transportation Fuel Security for the Américas”: http://krcem.fiu.edu/TFSA.htm.

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