Letters From Leaders

Robert B. Catell, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, Stony Brook University
Robert B. Catell
Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center
Stony Brook University

There is no question that 2020 has been a stressful year. We have had to do without many of the things we have become used to as part of our normal lives. We have had to deal with a pandemic, lockdowns, economic woes, endless illness, and the loss of loved ones.

However, in the midst of all of this, we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to.

We have to be very thankful for the doctors and healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly to take care of the sick, and the scientists who have used their skills to produce a vaccine that will create a safer world going forward.

During this crisis, we have seen a number of examples of leadership, and the lack thereof.

Some of our leaders have been in denial and have made light of the seriousness of the situation. Others have urged caution and stressed the need for an organized approach to solving the problem.

As we look to the future, we must develop leaders who can gain our confidence and demonstrate an ability to drive consensus and take advantage of all that this country has to offer to provide a bright future for all of our population.

On the energy front, we are moving to a cleaner future with the incorporation of renewables in the form of solar and wind backed up with battery storage. This will be accomplished over a period of time, with natural gas providing a bridge to the future, which will include hydrogen and renewable fuels that lower our carbon footprint.

The companies that embrace the future and take a leadership role will be successful in attracting investment and providing value to its shareholders, customers, and employees. They will invest in the new technologies being developed at research universities and national labs to provide a more efficient, reliable, and resilient energy delivery system.

We are blessed with the foundation of a democracy that provides opportunity for all, but we must ensure that no one is excluded from that opportunity. Leadership comes with a responsibility to ensure that everyone is treated equally and given an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities to achieve success. There are many lessons to be learned from adversity that can provide a very bright future for all.

The future starts by the upcoming generation recognizing that we have the ability, through technology, to provide a quality of life for the world population focusing on areas of need. It includes providing quality education to allow all individuals to have a chance to succeed and provide a good life for themselves and their families.

I am optimistic that there is a great opportunity to develop the leaders of the future by learning from our mistakes and building on our successes, but it all starts by embracing our differences and listening to differing opinions to determine the best course of action.

There is a very bright light at the end of the dark tunnel we are currently going through and it can provide a brighter future for all.

Robert B. Catell
Chairman, Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center
Stony Brook University