City of Fairmont, WV, attends Capital Investment workshop for downtown investment, social services ideas

Written by Sarah Stone on . Posted in Blog, News

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Sourced from WVNews, written by Mark Shaver

WHEELING — Hoping to spur more ideas and conversation about investment in the downtown area and social services, representatives from the city of Fairmont attended a Capital Absorption workshop Monday.

The workshop, held by the Center for Community Investment, saw Fairmont work with officials from Wheeling, Parkersburg and Charleston, with each city focusing on a unique problem that they’d like to tackle. Alex Petry, Fairmont’s program manager for economic development, said the workshop was a great venue to brainstorm ideas on how to bring more investment to downtown.

“I think this has been a great use of our time,” Petry said. “They’re trying to change the way we think about this. They aren’t trying to solve our problems for us, but they’re trying to really engage us in some different types of exercises that make us think about our issue and things going on in our city differently.

“We started off by identifying our shared priorities, and I think we learned a lot there. From there, we developed a pipeline of current projects that are happening within our city, and we kind of ran down those deals within the pipeline. We identified what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong and where a lot of those ideas get stuck.”

Preparation for the workshop started several weeks ago, at which the team — consisting of representatives from Main Street Fairmont, the Fairmont Community Development Partnership, United Way and more — spoke about ways to grow the downtown area despite an issue, or a perceived issue, with homelessness.

However, the conversation evolved and looking into ways to directly help those experiencing homelessness became a main topic on conversation.

“It’s been interesting to see how the idea has evolved from our first meeting,” said Fairmont Community Development Partnership leasing agent and project manager Emily Swain, who was one of several representatives at the workshop. “It seems like what we were originally talking about with the social services component was just an assumed integration into economic development instead of having a whole separate piece. My main concern is making sure that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.”

When asked to come up with a shared priority, the group agreed that the end goal is to make downtown Fairmont “a place where people want to be.” Both Swain and Petry said that a day at the workshop really put things into perspective, and the group decided that the city needs more conversation and open communication between agencies.

“Any time you can sit down and actually strategize and define goals is (worth it).” Swain said. “It’s difficult. You can think about what you want and what should happen, but when you put pen to paper and actually define it in a concise way, it’s difficult, but in the best way, because you have to think about it and prioritize. That’s where the most growth has happened so far.”

True to the workshop’s nature, Center for Community Investment Executive Director Robin Hacke said these revelations and advancements are the reason for getting these groups together.

“The framework gives people a structured way for people to think about where they’re getting stuck, and to use the experience of other places that have walked this path and think of some new angles and perspectives,” Hacke said. “The work, in the end, gets done at home, but this is an opportunity to give a jolt to the system and maybe think about how you can escape from the status quo and get different results.”

With a fresh perspective on things, the group is ready to take the next step, and will soon bring its findings back to Fairmont’s “home team” to further discuss how to breathe new life into the downtown area.

“I’m excited to move forward, really,” Petry said. “We have these new ways of thinking, and we can take these systems and exercises to our home teams and stakeholders, share everything we learned here and just try to move forward.”

FY2019 USGS 104g Request For Proposals Announcement

Written by Sarah Stone on . Posted in Blog, News

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West Virginia Water Research Institute Releases RFP Announcement for USGS 104g

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources will be releasing a request for proposals for matching grants to support research on the topic of:
  • Improving and enhancing the nation’s water supply, including evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management, and replacement; exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity.
  • Quality of water resources in response to a changing climate, population shifts, and land use changes; development of methods for better estimation of water supply, both surface and groundwater, including estimation of the physical supply and of the economic supply of water; and development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms for integrated surface/groundwater management.
  • The evaluation and assessment of conservation practices.

Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended ( Proposals involving substantial collaboration between the USGS and university scientists are encouraged. Proposals may be for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration and may request up to $250,000 in federal funds. Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from non-federal sources.

Pre-proposals must be submitted to your State Institute or Center by 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, February 15, 2019, and invited full proposals to the National Competitive Grants Program must be submitted to the internet site at not later than 5:00 pm Eastern Time, May 31, 2019, by the university at which the Institute or Center is located. Funds have not yet been appropriated for this program for FY2019. The Government’s obligation under this program is contingent upon the availability of funds.

Due Dates and Important Information

  • Notice will be sent out when USGS releases the FY2019 RFP.
  • The RFP will be placed on the WV Water Research Institute website at
  • Pre-proposals will be due February 15, 2019.
  • Full proposals will be due May 31, 2019.

Wood named WVU Energy Institute interim director as Anderson moves to NETL

Written by Sarah Stone on . Posted in Blog, News

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 Sourced from West Virginia University Center for Coal and Energy

James F. Wood has been appointed interim director of the West Virginia University Energy Institute, replacing Brian Anderson, named Friday (Nov. 9) to lead the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the only federally-operated National Laboratory in the Department of Energy system.

Wood, a long-time energy executive and leader, currently is director of the WVU-managed U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Advanced Coal Technology Consortium, established between the U.S. and China in 2009 to focus on technologies for improving the energy efficiency of buildings, advanced coal and clean vehicles.

“As a leading energy expert, Jim brings excellent experience and wise judgment to the Energy Institute. He has contributed to the success of the Institute in his current role and we are excited and thankful that he is willing to lead as interim director,” said Provost Joyce McConnell.

“Energy-related research has always been a key element of WVU, and that will not change,” Wood said. “It is too important not only to West Virginia University, but to the state and nation. We will continue the Institute’s momentum and support the current major faculty research initiatives.”

A national search for the permanent director will be conducted; read more about the search.

Wood noted several major programs the Institute leads or supports:

Also, the Energy Institute manages WVU obligations under the Cooperative Agreement with U.S. DOE related to the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Advanced Coal Technology Consortium, and will participate and manage various university obligations associated with several international memoranda of understanding, and continue to be a resource to federal and state agencies, and activities such as West Virginia Forward, and the Tri-State Shale Coalition.

“We are fortunate to have a seasoned leader in Jim Wood,” said Fred King, WVU’s vice president for research. “As someone with broad knowledge of the energy industry, the US Department of Energy, and our state, he is the ideal candidate to lead the Energy Institute until a permanent director can be identified.  This Institute will be in good hands and it will not lose the momentum that has been building over the last few years.”

The Energy Institute is a key piece of WVU’s West Virginia Forward initiative, a collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Commerce and Marshall University to help change the economic health of the state with new, collaborative approaches.

“Jim has been an important participant in helping move the Energy Institute to its place of leadership, both nationally and internationally, and I look forward to working with him in this expanded capacity,” WVU President Gordon Gee said.

Wood came to WVU in 2014 from ThermoEnergy Corp., where he was chairman, president and CEO of the Massachusetts-based company focused on industrial wastewater treatment and power generation technologies.

Previously he was deputy assistant secretary of DOE’s Office of Clean Coal, responsible for a $4.5 billion program for research and demonstration projects related to carbon capture and storage, advanced power generation cycles, fuel cells and advanced integrated gas combined cycle processes.

Wood has 30 years of experience in the power industry. Between 1996 and 2001, he served as president and chief operating officer Babcock & Wilcox Co., and executive vice president of McDermott International Inc., its parent. Prior to that, he was president of WTI International, Inc. and senior vice president and general manager of Wheelabrator Environmental Systems Inc., both subsidiaries of Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.

His international experience includes periods of residency in Italy, India, Colombia, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. He represented the U.S. as a delegate to the 1995 Presidential Mission on Sustainable Energy and Trade to China.

He has accepted federal appointments to the National Coal Council, a Department of Energy senior advisory committee serving the U.S. secretary of energy and the U.S.-Egypt Presidents’ Council, an advisory body to the U.S. vice president during the Clinton administration. He served 20 years as a trustee of Clarkson University, where he received a bachelor of chemistry degree, and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Anderson has led the Energy Institute since its creation in 2014, pulling together related research from around the University.

“Brian has been one of our rock stars, so we’re disappointed to lose him to NETL,” Gee said. “However, it would be selfish not to share his skill and abilities with the nation in this key energy role. I am pleased to continue working with Brian in his new role, and am confident that West Virginia University and West Virginia will continue to be great partners with NETL.”

“As the leader of our Energy Institute, Brian has consistently demonstrated incredible vision and a deep understanding of the future of energy in our country. We are all tremendously grateful to him, not only for the work he did here at WVU, but for the work he will be embarking on in this new phase of his career,” said McConnell, who added that a national search would be conducted for Anderson’s permanent successor.

“This is a great opportunity for Dr. Anderson and a perfect fit with his background both as a researcher and administrator,” King said. “The University is definitely going to miss his contributions as a thought leader in the area of energy, but his impact as the leader of NETL will positively effect West Virginia, the region and our country.”

Read NETL’s announcement of Anderson’s appointment.



CONTACT: John A. Bolt; WVU Office of Communications

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

The State Journal Publishes Article Highlighting West Virginia At Shale Insight

Written by Sarah Stone on . Posted in Blog, Media, News, Press Release

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The State Journal penned an article discussing West Virginia’s strong presence at Shale Insight. The article titled, “W.Va research and projects makes strong showing at Shale Insight” highlights research from WVU graduate students and members of WVU’s associated institutes. One of the aforementioned members, Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of West Virginia Water Research Institute, was featured prominently.

The State Journal wrote, “Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, began the day’s activities with a presentation on the work being conducted at WVU’s Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, much of which is done in conjunction with the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Northeast Energy, among others.

“We’re doing a lot of work on instrumenting these wells, and we hope this is useful to the industry in increasing efficiency and production and recovery rates,” he said.

Ziemkiewicz added that there are also environmental components to the work at Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, which is where his institution comes into play, studying the organic and inorganic chemicals associated with well operations and water quality.

“We’re finding the growth and drop-off rates of the different chemistries, and we’re finding that the produced waters have a great deal of salinity, levels off for a few years then starts dropping off fairly rapid in some of the six-year-old or seven-year-old wells,” he explained.

Ziemkiewicz also said that drill cuttings have caused controversy because some have claimed that they become radioactive. However, tests at the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory were conducted with green completion fluids (which reduce emissions) on 18 cutting samples in two wells.

“We found that they’re not radioactive and pass the TCLP (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure) test, so we’re not entirely sure why they keep having to go to a special landfill when they can be used beneficially for other uses that are not considered hazardous.”

To view the entire article, visit