Special to Mustang News
Energy — that was the topic of discussion at the forum hosted by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) on April 7 in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center Pavilion.
The forum was open to all students, especially those interested in engineering or entrepreneurship.
The evening began with refreshments and networking. Eight booths were set up for students to exhibit their current projects. Some focused on fuel, such as the use of methanol instead of gasoline for cars. Others were centered around energy use on Cal Poly’s campus. Each exhibition team gave a 90-second elevator pitch to the audience, which allowed them to quickly engage and inform the guests.
Four guest speakers were welcomed to the forum, including Jim Detmers, CEO for Power System Resources LLC, Suna Taymaz, senior manager at PG&E, John Conway, senior vice president at PG&E and Sandy Stannard, professor of architecture at Cal Poly.
Taymaz educated the audience with an overview of electricity use. The panelists then fielded questions from Jonathan York, director of CIE and a Cal Poly business associate professor. Various energy sources were spoken for, as well as ways individuals can improve their energy usage.
“I hope to work myself out of a job; that is my goal,” Stannard said.
Stannard’s focus is on how to make homes more energy efficient and self-reliable.
“We need to use no carbon for transportation; if that is not possible, we need to use the next best thing,” Conway said.
He also said he believes alternative sources of energy are the way of the future.
Chelsea Brown, the programs, events and media coordinator for CIE, spent two months planning the forum with the help of two co-workers. The last forum of the year will take place on May 19, and the winners for the HotHouse accelerator program in downtown San Luis Obispo will be announced at that time.
“I went to Cal Poly and I want to give back,” Detmers said. “I want to make sure the engineers of Cal Poly realize the huge opportunity in power systems and how we deal with energy for the future. It’s neat to see how energized everyone down here is.”