February 21, 2017
UTRC celebrates engineering and scientific talent during Engineers Week (part 1)

EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut - United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) celebrated its engineers this week by asking a few of them to explain what drives them...in their own words. UTRC is proud to recognize engineers during Engineers Week, Feb. 19-25.

Mike Perry
Project Leader, Electrochemical Systems, CCS Program Office

What is your greatest career passion?
"I have been passionate about changing our energy paradigm since I was young. I grew up in the Los Angeles, California area, where the air quality was very poor during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Subsequently, I served as a Naval Aviator in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. These early experiences made me cognizant of the many serious negative externalities associated with fossil fuels. In the intervening years, climate change has further motivated my commitment to developing clean-energy technologies."

Why did you choose to become an engineer?
"I became an engineer because I have always found science fascinating, but I wanted to contribute directly to improving our world, not just our knowledge base. Additionally, I witnessed substantial improvements in air quality in Los Angeles with the introduction of catalytic converters on automobiles. This clearly demonstrated how technology can improve our quality of life, which had a major impact on me."

What professional honors have you received?
"Teamwork is critical to all major engineering accomplishments, and I am especially proud of being part of three significant team awards: 1) UTC's 2005 George Mead Medal Award, with four colleagues at the former UTC Power, for the development of a new water-management technology in polymer-electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs); 2) the 2013 New Electrochemical Technology Award from the Electrochemical Society for developing PEMFC technologies that enabled UTC's fuel cell-powered bus fleet to achieve unmatched durability and reliability in real-world applications; and 3) a 2013 R&D 100 Award for the development of 'breakthrough flow-battery technology.'"

What is the best professional compliment you've ever received?
"For me, the most satisfying professional compliment has been the successful transformation of technologies I helped develop at UTC into multi-million dollar licensing deals. These include the licensing of novel PEMFC technologies to multiple automotive OEMs and Ballard Power Systems and, more recently, the licensing of UTC’s flow battery technology to Vionx Energy. I also consider having a research proposal selected for an award to be one of the best compliments an R&D team can receive."

Veronica Adetola
Staff Research Engineer, Control Systems Group, Systems Department

How long have you been with the Research Center?
"I joined UTRC in December 2009, after completing my Ph.D. at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario and worked for a year in Canada."

What are your responsibilities at UTRC?
"I am currently a principal investigator on multiple projects in the areas of building energy systems, transport refrigeration and controls."

Why did you choose to become an engineer?
"I thought it would be fun and fulfilling to solve impactful problems with mathematics and physics. Today, I get satisfaction from developing and delivering advanced automation and system solutions to UTC's businesses, enabling them to meet their business goals and continue to remain at the forefront of technology in their respective industry sectors."

What professional honors have you received?
"In 2012, I received the prestigious IFAC prize for the Best Methodology/Theory Paper published in the Journal of Process Control for the period 2008-2011 for my Ph.D. thesis work on integration of real-time optimization and model predictive control. In 2016, I received the ASHRAE Science and Technology for the Built Environment Best Paper Award for an article I co-authored at UTRC on Fault-Tolerant Optimal Control of a Building HVAC System."

If you would change one thing in today's R&D world, what would it be and why?
"To effectively link fundamental research theory and practice. In doing applied research and/or developing new products and services, I would like to leverage works published in scientific literature. In most cases, however, the methodology is not transferable due to the assumptions made. Being able to influence basic research activities based on practical problems would help to better harness breakthroughs in research theory."

Jinlei Ding
Group Leader, Thermal and Controls Systems, UTRC China

What are your responsibilities at UTRC?
"I am responsible for the development of core capabilities in thermal and controls systems, focusing on thermodynamic modeling, building energy modeling, advanced HVAC systems, and controls engineering that solve challenging problems and create innovative solutions for both global and local customers."

Why did you choose to become an engineer?
"As a child, I was exposed to science and technology, and I liked to sketch things: robots, aircraft, space ships and buildings. As an engineer, I was given the opportunity to build the things I used to sketch."

How long have you been with the Research Center?
"I've worked at UTRC for 10 years. I was hired as a Senior Research Engineer after earning my Ph.D. in engineering thermophysics from the University of Science and Technology of China."

If you could change one thing in today's R&D world, what would it be and why?
"Create digital twins for all things in the physical world. Digitalization is changing the way we live and work. The digital twins may empower us to develop innovative solutions beyond the limits and boundaries of the physical world."

What professional honors have you received?
"As part of the Advanced Flow Battery team, I helped develop the breakthrough electric energy storage system that won an R&D 100 Award in 2013."

Contact: Laura Stevens, (860) 610-1653

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