Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

3-31-08

Contacts:

Thomas J. Barton, Iowa Energy Center and Chemistry, (515) 294-7655, barton@ameslab.gov

John Brighton, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, (515) 294-1785, brighton@iastate.edu

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917, mkrapfl@iastate.edu

Thomas J. Barton named interim director of Iowa Energy Center

AMES, Iowa -- Thomas J. Barton, an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, will be interim director of the Iowa Energy Center.

Barton's appointment is effective April 1. He'll work three-fourths time leading the center and one-fourth time teaching organic chemistry. He'll direct the energy center until a permanent director joins the center.

Barton succeeds Floyd Barwig who recently left the center to become director of energy efficiency and the environment for the New York State Public Service Commission in Albany.

Barton directed the Ames Laboratory from 1988 until his resignation in February 2007. He also directed Iowa State's Institute for Physical Research and Technology from 1998 to 2007.

"Tom Barton is well qualified for this position," said John Brighton, Iowa State's vice president for research and economic development. "In his administrative positions he's made many connections across the state that will help him work with state leaders to address Iowa's energy issues."

Barton said he wasn't looking to take on another administrative post.

But, "I've had a lifetime interest in renewable energy," Barton said, noting he's put solar panels on his home's roof, has installed a geothermal heating and cooling system and drives a hybrid car. "I strongly believe in the center's mission."

The center's mission is to increase Iowa's energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, model state efforts to decrease dependence on imported fuels, and sponsor energy-related research, education and demonstration projects. The center also administers the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program for the state.

Brighton said a search committee has been appointed to find a permanent director for the center. That committee is led by Jennifer Easler, the vice chair of the center's advisory council and a member of the legal staff of the Iowa attorney general's Office of Consumer Advocate.

The Iowa Energy Center was created by the Iowa General Assembly and signed into law by former Gov. Terry Branstad in 1990. The energy center is administered by Iowa State University.

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Quick look

Thomas J. Barton will be interim director of the Iowa Energy Center effective April 1. He'll lead the center until a permanent director is named. The search for a permanent director is under way.

Quote

Barton

Thomas J. Barton

"I've had a lifetime interest in renewable energy. I strongly believe in the center's mission."

Thomas J. Barton, an Iowa State University Distinguished Professor in Liberal Arts and Sciences and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory