Esquire Feature on Enterra Solutions
November 15, 2006
Esquire Magazine’s December 2006 issue was recently mailed to subscribers and should hit the newsstands shortly. The December issue has become the one in which it honors the “Best and Brightest” Americans who are trying to make a difference in the world. I’m deeply honored to have been selected for inclusion in this year’s group [“The Age of Resilience,” by Brian Mockenhaupt]. I know that few honors are individual and this recognition really honors the group of people with whom I’ve surrounded myself. They are critical to making a difference. I mention this honor not to brag but to offer a fuller explanation of the activities in which I’m involved that led to the selection – particularly the Institute for Advanced Technologies in Global Resilience.
I established Enterra Solutions in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. I looked around to see how I might get involved and many of the people I spoke with indicated that they needed a better way to connect-the-dots. They were looking for better ways to blend, share, and analyze data. The Institute for Advance Technologies in Global Resilience is another way for me to help bring their desires to fruition.
As the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute, I have started recruiting some of the world’s best minds and will continue that effort. Some of those brilliant individuals undoubtedly would like to know exactly what the relationships are between Enterra and the Institute. In order to fully understand that relationship, you have to understand the relationships between the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT-Battelle, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies. I’m going to give you just a brief version of those relationships.
The Department of Energy oversees a number of national laboratories that work on nuclear issues, among them Oak Ridge National Laboratory. DOE, however, does not directly administer these labs. For Oak Ridge, that job is contracted to a not-for-profit company, known as UT-Battelle, whose sole purpose is managing and operating the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. Formed as a 50-50 limited liability partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle, UT-Battelle is the legal entity responsible for administering Oak Ridge National.
UT-Battelle has expanded the use of academic partnerships as a means for conducting collaborative research and development, facilitating access to the laboratory’s distinctive capabilities, improving the utilization of its scientific facilities, transferring technology to industry, and supporting the education of the next generation of scientists and engineers. In addition to the University of Tennessee, there are currently eight other academic partners (Duke University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities). The latter of these partners, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), is the entity under which the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies (ORCAS) was established. Here is what ORCAS’ Web site says about its history:
Launched in 2005 with Dr. Paul Gilman as its first director, the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies (ORCAS) will explore major issues of science and technology as contributors to our society, define new directions in science and identify new tools of scientific discovery, and provide high tech venues for specialized graduate courses and highly focused, intensive collaborations. ORCAS brings together intellectual leaders from government, research universities and laboratories, and industry to address highly complex, critical challenges with strong science and technology content. We frame problems broadly, taking into account their scientific, technical, economic, social and policy dimensions to develop integrated strategies for addressing those challenges. We bridge the worlds of research and education, ensuring that our studies offer attractive intellectual opportunities for senior researchers and students alike.
The Institute for Advanced Technologies in Global Resilience (IATGR) was established within ORCAS and, therefore, under the auspices of Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
Although Enterra Solutions helped establish the Institute, it is independent from Enterra’s commercial ventures. We deliberately sought a forum that would make it clear that Enterra’s involvement is not a subterfuge to attract business or tap free labor. That is why the academic association is so important. The company does support the Institute with pro bono assistance (I serve as Executive Director and Shane Deichman, another Enterra employee, serves as Managing Director). Our interest, however, is advancing technologies and ideas, not generating business leads.
We do hope that some of the work that we do in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory finds it way into Institute publications so that it can be discussed and applied in other sectors to make them more resilient. The most promising of these ventures, and the one discussed in the Esquire article, is ResilienceNet™. ResilienceNet is Enterra’s concept to complement Oak Ridge National Lab’s SensorNet program.
ResilienceNet is an intelligent, rules-based sense, think, and act application that enables decision support and secure information sharing based on real-time data sources such as SensorNet. SensorNet is an ORNL research program that addresses technical challenges associated with real-time sensor systems for national security and other large applications. ORNL and Enterra Solutions are collaborating to enable advanced ResilienceNet applications to interface with SensorNet interoperability standards. These tools will create an automated sense, think, and act capability in response to Chemical, Nuclear, Biological, Cyber and Explosive threats that should make existing nuclear emergency response capabilities even more effective.
Needless to say, I’m excited about all that’s happening and I hope that Esquire article stirs the imaginations of others who would like to join me in helping make the world a more resilient place. We owe it to our children and generations yet unborn.