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Meet Our EnerGENIUS Team
- A Lockheed Martin Energy employee with exceptional intellectual or creative power in the energy field.
At Lockheed Martin Energy, we have some exceptional people. They are the best and brightest in the industry, solving complex problems for our customers every day.
Some might call them genius. We call them EnerGENIUS.
Read on to meet each EnerGENIUS – and consider adding EnerGENIUS to your resume. Check out our career opportunities below!
Meet Maggie Gutierrez:
Chief Engineer of Bioenergy at Lockheed Martin Energy and EnerGENIUS. Maggie turns waste into energy. Enough said.
What does the Chief Engineer of Bioenergy do?
Well, it’s a little bit of everything. I check on projects that are in construction and design; I help find new business and partnership opportunities; and I work to develop our technology roadmap and research and development projects that will frame the future of our business.
Why did you want to work in Bioenergy?
It’s not often that you can work on a project that solves three important global issues at once: What to do with the increasing volume of waste that the world is generating? How to generate more power from renewable sources? And how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases?
Bioenergy, or waste-to-energy, basically solves these three issues in a really beautiful way. First, it reduces the volume of waste going to landfills, then it converts the waste to energy and all of this occurs with less greenhouse gas emissions than landfilling and traditional fossil fuel-based power plants.
That’s why I’m very proud to be working in Bioenergy.
We have to ask: Is bioenergy stinky?
Not as stinky as you’d think! The waste is only in our facility for a maximum of three days before it starts being processed into energy. In a landfill, waste sits much longer so it smells much worse.
What are some of the challenges in this job?
Whenever you are working on new and emerging technologies, there are challenges just from the sheer newness of everything. You have to figure out each step of the way from process to delivery. But even with growing pains, it’s incredibly exciting to build the first of a kind for a company or even a country.
What advice would you give to an aspiring enerGEN-UIS?
I would advise them to find their passion. There are a lot of different ways to make a difference in energy. There are opportunities in designing waste-to-energy plants like I do, but there are also important roles to be played in developing energy strategies or in performing energy efficiency services, both internally for Lockheed Martin and for our customers.
If you weren’t working in Energy, what would you be doing?
I’m really passionate about improving education in America. Before working in energy, I worked for one year as a high school teacher. That year showed me first-hand the challenges students and teachers face with lagging technology and low science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) investment. It also showed me how great it feels to help students be successful. Now I serve as the South Jersey MathCounts coordinator and encourage other industry leaders to find ways to step into the classroom to improve our students’ performance and interest in STEM.
Meet Ian Metzger:
Senior Research Scientist, PE, CEM, LEED AP, EnerGENIUS. That’s a whole lot of acronyms. What’s it all mean? Ian is helping create a more sustainable future by designing programs that help people and businesses use energy more efficiently. He’s saving energy, lowering bills and reducing harmful emissions.
When did you know you want to work in energy?
In college, I did a senior design project using wind power to purify water. I did a lot of research on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Everything about energy was interesting to me. It also felt really good to work on something that makes the world a better place. That’s when I decided I wanted to work in this field.
What do you like about this field?
There is a lot of creativity and diversity in the work we do. Energy is evolving and moving fast in many directions. Each day we face new customers, new challenges and new goals to achieve. We’re constantly asking, “Is there a better way to do this?”
Innovation drives the energy industry which means we get to work on the cutting edge, every day.
What’s the coolest part of your job?
I see my ideas make a difference. I get to design programs and then see them implemented. Within my first few weeks on the team, I was asked to build a calculator to estimate emissions savings from the electrification of non-road vehicles. A couple months later, that calculator was being used to implement a program that is literally saving tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
What advice would you give to an aspiring enerGENIUS?
I encourage you to gain a strong understanding of engineering fundamentals. You’ll also need to learn to be comfortable not having all the answers. In Energy, we need creative minds who are ready to accelerate new and emerging technologies.
If you weren’t working in Energy, what would you be doing?
I would be finding a way to work in energy! I really love what I do so if I wasn’t in this role, I’d probably find another form of energy to work in. The great thing about this industry is there are so many interesting projects and exciting technologies, I know I’d find something.
Meet Tony Pellegrino:
Research Engineering Senior Manager and EnerGENIUS at Lockheed Martin Energy. Tony is using the Earth’s vast oceans to generate reliable and renewable energy.
Simply Put: How does tidal energy work?
Tidal Energy is similar to wind energy, except instead of using wind to spin the blades of a turbine, you use the very reliable and consistent tidal flow to power a sub-sea turbine.
Tidal flows that we tap into move at about 7-10 miles per hour, which may seem slow when compared to wind, but considering the fact that water is approximately 800 times more dense than air, there is a lot of energy in those tidal flows.
What attracted you to ocean technologies and tidal energy?
First and foremost, it’s a challenge. We are designing large complex systems in a very unforgiving sub-sea environment. The broad system level thinking, coupled with the design challenges is a great fit for my background and keeps me interested in pushing the boundaries with this technology.
And with a challenge this complex, it takes a true team effort to be successful. We have to collaborate effectively to consider design aspects across all engineering disciplines. I believe there is a role for everyone on this project – and the team comradery is something I thrive on.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job other than getting to play in the water, of course?
I truly enjoy watching all of the moving parts of a project come together for the first time. The AR1500 is the first tidal turbine that we have designed of this magnitude. There is nothing else in the world that is this sophisticated and of this size. To be part of a team developing a first-in-class system like this is extremely rewarding.
What are some of the biggest challenges our engineers face in ocean technologies?
Beyond meeting the operational requirements, one of the most challenging aspects of the design is meeting its required service life. Most systems can be serviced, or at a minimum inspected, on a semi-regular basis. The AR1500 Tidal Turbine we are developing will be deployed on the ocean floor, making maintenance calls few and far between. In fact, our A1500 will not be scheduled for a single maintenance intervention for a minimum of 6.25 years. Imagine trying to design a car that is continuously driven every day and only gets a single service call every 6 years!
What innovative approach has Lockheed Martin Energy taken to address the complex challenges of tidal energy?
We have partnered with a commercial company and project developer Atlantis Resources Ltd (ARL) to develop the first-in-class AR1500 Tidal Turbine. And as part of that partnership, we have invested in two critical subsystems, the Yaw Drive System (YDS) and Variable Pitch System (VPS).
These two subsystems allow the turbine to rotate around its base (the YDS) to always face into the tidal flow as well as to change the pitch angle of the turbine blades (the VPS) to optimize the power generation in a given tidal stream. Both of these systems require extremely complicated structural components, high pressure hydraulic actuation systems and incredibly precise motion control. To meet these challenges, our engineering team has instituted a very structured development process, with buy-in from other industry experts to implement the best design solution possible. I am proud and humbled to be part of a team that has achieved so much, in such a relatively short amount of time – with much, much more to come.
What advice would you give an aspiring EnerGENIUS?
It’s a very rewarding experience to feel technically challenged and also find meaning in your work. If you can combine the two you create passion in an individual and passion drives people to achieve great things. If you enjoy pushing the boundaries of technology and want to change the world, look to take advantage of an opportunity within LM Energy and become an EnerGENIUS!
Meet Liz Santori:
Senior Research Scientist, PhD, EnerGENIUS. Liz is working on changing the way the world stores energy.
How would you explain what you do to your best non-chemist friend?
I work on a battery technology that can enable the use of more renewable, non-carbon resources on the electric grid. As renewable energy increases, there is a real need for large-scale energy storage. We are making a product that fits that need – a flow battery. Most people are familiar with lithium ion batteries, which store energy in materials fixed in place inside the battery. In a flow battery, the compounds that store energy are in solutions that are pumped in and out of the battery, and stored in large tanks. Adjusting the energy storage required becomes simple – you’re only limited to how big the tank is. It’s a technology that has unique advantages for grid-scale energy storage.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the pioneering aspect of what I do – making something for the first time. The work we’re doing is focused on creating a unique technology that will be more affordable and effective than the current options on the market. I’m not just a chemist in a lab; I’m making a product that is going to go to a commercial market. It is extremely exciting.
What is the most challenging part about what you do?
The pace is definitely challenging, but it’s also what makes my job fun! We want to make a commercially attractive product, and we want it ready when the market is ready. It’s moving fast, and there is never a dull day.
How did you know you wanted to work for Lockheed Martin Energy?
A few years ago, Lockheed Martin acquired flow battery technology from a company called Sun Catalytix. I was familiar with the company, and when I heard that its technology was being acquired by Lockheed Martin, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. Lockheed Martin has a strong reputation among engineers and scientists – and with its commitment to the energy market, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity. It felt like the right fit.
Can you tell a story about the most exciting thing that’s happened to you at work?
Thankfully not – excitement in the chemistry lab (i.e. an explosive reaction) is generally bad! But everything we do is interesting. I certainly get excited when an experiment works and goes my way, but you also try and keep an even keel when an experiment does not give you the desired result. You have to learn to be even-keeled so you aren’t going through highs and lows as a scientist. Luckily, in my work, I’ve seen more positive than negative – which is always a good sign!
What is the one thing you are most proud of?
Having this job, quite honestly. It’s something I’ve worked toward for nine years. It’s been my goal since before graduate school to have an impact in the energy field, and that’s what I’m doing right now. It feels amazing to be accomplishing that dream.