The Energy Innovation Center in Pittsburgh is an ideal culmination of initiatives such as workforce development, renewable energy concepts, energy research, commercial development and other related efforts to advance energy independence. Its mission is succinct and ambitious:
The mission of the Energy Innovation Center is to contribute to socially responsible workforce development, foster energy and sustainable technology advancement, and assist in job creation through a commitment to diversity, innovation and comprehensive education.
Rarely does an effort exceed the sums of its parts. This is such an instance since the sum of these impressive individual parts is considerable. A renovated and restored Connelley Trade School has become a LEED certified Platinum building. It boasts tenants such as the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy, CCAC and Covestro, and supporters such as the RK Mellon Foundation, Shell, Chevron, The Heinz Endowments and Eaton Corporation (to name only a few of many). The EIC is an instant hub of energy sources, training, research, and workforce development. Coordinating all of those constituents is a monumental task. Assembling them under the roof of a resurrected trade school is a phenomenon.
Our world has experienced an energy metamorphosis as part of an evolutionary process hastened by shale energy reserves; most significantly the reserves of our Appalachian Basin, which rests beneath the EIC facility. That this effort should come to fruition in Pittsburgh is appropriate.
But perhaps the biggest coup is the self awareness born of these efforts. While not all may agree on energy options, most will certainly concur that energy is essential to our future with a skilled and responsive workforce acting as the central nervous system of our efforts. Charlie Schliebs of Stone Pier Capital and one of the prime movers behind the EIC’s vision and creation has invested much time and effort into this endeavor. To him and his cohorts the message is clear: Your efforts have paid off handsomely. Soon our region will be fortunate to have those who attend the EIC emerge as skilled workers who have benefitted from both the institute’s cutting edge technology and the vision of its leadership --those who were astute enough to know that a vision without action is just a mirage.
To witness the directives of the Energy Innovation Center in motion is nothing short of awe-inspiring. There is simply nothing comparable in the United States.
To those responsible for the EIC…thank you for your vision, dedication and commitment to progress. We in the Energy industry applaud your efforts.