DOE's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center hires Daniel Lauffer as COO to bring together public university research, private industry

MADISON, Wisconsin , September 22, 2010 (press release) – Anchored in the basic research of academia and charged with generating new biofuels technologies, the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) is a bit of a hybrid.

To ensure the future success of this unique Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center, institutional leaders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University identified the need for a chief operating officer who is comfortable crossing the boundaries and processes that flow between public university research systems and private industry.

After completing a national search, the GLBRC has hired Daniel Lauffer to fill this role.

"Dan has excellent credentials for this position," says Tim Donohue, GLBRC director and UW-Madison professor of bacteriology. "He has operations experience in both academic and private sector settings. Center members have been very impressed with his energy, passion and interest in improving GLBRC."

After a six-month stint as the interim chief operating officer (COO), Lauffer began the transition to his new role this August.

By establishing good working relationships with both universities' leadership, Lauffer has already developed forward momentum on a number of fronts, including: broadening the universities' overall support for the center, developing a regional industry engagement plan and creating greater transparency about operations through improved communications.

"During the past six months, I have developed a solid understanding of the systems at Michigan State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison that are core to the GLBRC," Lauffer says.

Prior to joining the GLBRC, Lauffer held the position of associate director of the Wisconsin Fast Plants Program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW-Madison. In addition, as president of a successful seed business that grew from research at UW-Madison, Lauffer is well versed in the systems by which GLBRC operates.

"The diversity of experiences that make up my portfolio afford me the ability to view the center's work from multiple, relevant perspectives," says Lauffer. "These considerations are all important as we synthesize our long-term vision and create the infrastructure to support the GLBRC mission and goals."

As the COO, Lauffer is directly responsible for supporting the GLBRC director to meet the center's research goals and objectives and serves as the center's operational liaison to the DOE and GLBRC member institutions.

Most immediately Lauffer's attention is focused on the center's annual DOE review, which sets the stage for the future of the GLBRC.

Beyond the review, Lauffer's top priorities are to foster new avenues for communications and learning throughout all levels of the center and to develop a plan for building the center's national bioenergy leadership capacity.

"In recent months, institutional leaders at UW-Madison and MSU have made significant fiscal and operational commitments to ensure the future success of GLBRC," says Donohue. "I view the addition of Dan Lauffer as an important next step to ensure the center's success during this and hopefully future funding cycles."

For more information on the GLBRC, visit http://www.glbrc.org.

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