Meet Master of Energy Engineering Alumni
We believe the Master of Energy Engineering program will provide you with the knowledge you need to move your career to the next level. Practical knowledge, not theory, taught by a faculty with real world experience. But don’t just take our word for it. Hear what some of our alumni have to say about the benefits of a Master of Energy Engineering.
Meet UIC Master of Energy Engineering Alumna, Yeside Dipo-Salami, and hear what she has to say about the program.
Meet UIC Master of Energy Engineering Alumnus, Oscar Diaz Mora
Meet UIC Master of Energy Engineering Alumnus, Nathan Bohne
Meet UIC Master of Energy Engineering Alumnus, Mobuayo Pedro-Egbe
Meet UIC Master of Energy Engineering Alumna, Lilieric Florez Monroy
Meet Corina Cross a member of MEE’s first graduating class!
Corina came to the US with a degree in Industrial Engineering. After learning about HVAC and energy efficient building technology – not available in her native Romania – she enrolled in the Master of Energy Engineering program. Not only did she did take the first step toward becoming an energy engineer, Corina also landed an internship with a MEE classmate’s company. Networking at its best!
Corina’s career has gone from energy audits to energy services which includes building technology, controls, automation and more. Today she is hard at work as a regional business development manager with Siemens Energy Services group working with customers to ensure that energy efficiency is incorporated into their business.
Asked what advice she would share with current students, Corina said “Don’t be afraid to ask questions!”Class of 2011|
From Scholarship Winner to Board Member
2015 was an amazing year for Panos Bakos. He won three different scholarship awards while he was a Master of Energy Engineering student – one from ASHRAE, one from IBPSA and one from the Consular Corps. A remarkable achievement! (See scholarship page for more details)
Since graduating Panos relocated to northern California where he works for Arup. Starting as an engineer working in building projects with a focus on energy consumption optimization through modeling, he is now a senior engineer and project manager. He credits a strong foundation of building physics and HVAC systems from the Master of Energy Engineering program along with Arup’s project diversity for his success. Panos is now on the board of IBPSA – the same organization that gave him a scholarship when he was a MEE student! What a great way to say thank you! Panos states that “IBPSA is a truly collaborative environment where many simulation experts come together to discuss industry challenges and propose innovative solutions to shape a better world.”Class of 2016|
Meet Dana Guthrie Product Manager at Johnson Controls in Milwaukee
After receiving her baccalaureate in Computer Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Dana joined Johnson Controls as a Technology Development Engineer. Working with building controls she was becoming more involved with HVAC. In meetings with clients Dana realized there was a blending of controls and energy; she began to realize that her Facility Management clients were being assigned business goals around saving energy and Energy Managers were becoming more involved in the HVAC/controls decision-making process. She perceived a need to learn more about energy engineering if she were to stay current in her career. On the advice of a mentor working in energy she decided to earn her Master’s degree and enrolled in the Master of Energy Engineering program.
It was a long commute from Milwaukee to UIC, but her Master of Energy Engineering degree has helped Dana advance her career. When asked what advice she would give future Energy Engineers, Dana said, “Think outside the box. Be creative in how you find savings in your facilities.”
Sounds like excellent advice. In addition to engineering, Dana also has a passion for entrepreneurship and early-stage investing. One of her industries of focus is of course…Energy.Class of 2015|
Catching Up with Farhan Faisel
In 2016 when we last spoke to Farhan he and his team had just been selected to present their paper for a low cost resource allocation strategy for rural and semi-urban regions to provide the power required from the grid on a day ahead basis at the IEEE GHTC – Global Humanitarian Technology Conference 2016.
Upon graduating with a Master of Energy Engineering degree, Farhan went to work for RTM Engineering Consultants where he is a Project Engineer. In his job, Farhan is responsible for designing mechanical, plumbing and fire protection systems for variety of building types. He credits the MEE program with equipping him with the hands on, up-to-date engineering skills required to be successful in industry. Courses such as HVAC and Design of Energy Efficient Buildings provided him with a solid understanding of real world applications.Class of 2017, Project Engineer RTM|
Mechanical Engineer to Healthcare Energy Manager
Meet Ryan Ollie. In just six years he has grown from mechanical engineer at a MEP consulting firm to energy engineer at DNV GL to his current position as Manager of Energy Solutions at Advocate Health Care!
Ryan received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. While working as an energy engineer at DNV GL, a co-worker and MEE alumni introduced him to the MEE program. Ryan did his research and saw how applicable the program was to his job. He was very interested in building upon his knowledge of HVAC systems and learning more about the energy industry as a whole. Ryan enrolled in the program and was soon promoted to a manager position.
Today, Ryan enjoys his role as the Manager of Energy Solutions for Advocate Health Care. This is a relatively new role for the organization and it keeps Ryan busy traveling between multiple campuses developing energy efficiency projects and implementing unique strategies to maximize energy savings. Ultimately, he is responsible for achieving a very significant energy reduction goal for his organization, by 2020. Ryan is confident that they will achieve their goal, but since Healthcare is the second most regulated industry in the country, he has his work cut out for him!Class of 2014, Manager of Energy Solutions, Advocate Health Care|
Meet Marcin Jakubowski, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Mentor, Sustainability Leader
Studying Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Refrigeration at the University of Lodz in Poland, Marcin knew he wanted to earn a Master’s degree in the US. He came to the US, studied CAD design and began working as a CAD designer for an Architectural Design firm. From there he moved to an Architectural/Engineering Design firm to work as a Mechanical Engineer. With his career established it was time to get his Masters.
Marcin chose the Master of Energy Engineering program at UIC because he wanted a program that focused on the practical. The best part was that he was able to directly apply knowledge learned in the classroom – HVAC, LEED, energy auditing – to his work.
And, now? Marcin is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at RTM where he is a busy project manager mentoring new engineers and focusing on non-typical sustainability. Currently he is leading teams in RTM’s Energy Sustainability Studio and credits the Master of Energy Engineering program with giving him the unique skill set he needed to establish the Studio.Class of 2012, Senior Mechanical Engineer, RTM|
Meet Farhan Faisal, Master of Energy Engineering, Class of 2017
As an Undergraduate Research Assistant, Farhan and his team worked on developing architectures and communication layers for rural microgrids. They proposed a dynamic grid forecasting algorithm for grid-connected solar PV microgrids where the grid is intermittent in nature. This low cost resource allocation strategy for rural and semi-urban regions provides the power required from the grid on a day ahead basis.
Farhan and his team were selected to present their paper at the IEEE GHTC – Global Humanitarian Technology Conference 2016. This global humanitarian technology conference focused on bringing people together to address the critical issues for the benefit of the resource-constrained and vulnerable populations in the world.
Congratulations to Farhan and the members of this team!Class of 2017|
Meet Kelly (Costello) Gunn - Energy Research Engineer and ASHRAE Research & Promotion Chair
Kelly is an Energy Research Engineer at Gas Technology Institute where she spends most of her time testing emerging technology products. She works with new products that need to be lab tested before they can be put in the marketplace. The fun part according to Kelly is she “determines the best way to test the product, creates the lab test, and then gets to make it work.” What Kelly loves most is that each day is different and challenging.
Kelly earned a BS in Architectural Engineering with a specialty in Environmental Engineering. However, she wanted to know more about energy to excel in her research career. She found the Master of Energy Engineering program offered just what she needed – combined heat & power, grid management, renewable & nuclear energy, air pollution – all important in understanding the energy industry.
Kelly has been an active ASHRAE member since her undergrad days. While a MEE student she won the Illinois Chapter Scholarship – not once, but twice! She currently is the chair of Research and Promotion – actively fundraising and recruiting young professionals. You may want to contact her at ASHRAE!
When asked if she had any advice for new students, Kelly said “find a mentor – it is essential to have help to succeed.” Good advice that’s certainly paid off for Kelly!Class of 2015, Energy Research Engineer, Gas Technolony Institute|
Meet Dan Comperchio – 2015 Energy Engineer Award Winner
Congratulations to Master of Energy Engineering graduate, Dan Comperchio!
Dan won the Association of Energy Engineers Energy Engineer Award, Region III (Midwest region), for work done with facilities across the Midwest, delivering over 70 million kWh in verified energy savings for more than 180 data center projects. One facility included a multi-year energy efficiency project which reduced the energy use of the data center by 7.4 million kWh annually, equivalent to powering 800 homes.
After graduating from Purdue, Dan went to work for a Chicago engineering firm. His work on design and HVAC projects piqued his interest in sustainability and energy. He knew he wanted to learn more about the energy industry and the Master of Energy Engineering program at UIC was a perfect solution. He could continue to work, UIC was an easy commute and the coursework provided easy- to- apply knowledge that was useful in the real world. An award winning Master of Energy Engineering!Class of 2010, Senior Engineer, Willdan Energy Solutions|
Meet Ben Drake - Master of Energy Engineering and Presidential Management Fellow
Ben is a member of The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF). As a PMF he was recently selected to develop energy strategy for the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
After considering a MBA Ben discovered the Master of Energy Engineering (MEE) program at UIC – a program he considered ahead of other energy engineering programs. Ben stated that having a MEE degree was important to becoming a PMF. When he was being vetted he had to be very specific about what he wanted to do with his career and his background with the MEE gave him an edge. He believes the MEE program was a launch pad for getting to work on important energy issues. The real world experience of the MEE faculty was invaluable and added another dimension to the courses. In addition to his work in the MEE program, Ben was a participant in the Summer Institute on Sustainability – another unique UIC experience.
Congratulations Ben!Class of 2013, Presidential Management Fellow|
Energy Audits and Project Management Begin Career Path
Wildivina’s first experience with energy auditing was as an undergrad working at the University of Florida’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) where she led a team of 8 students through various manufacturing site energy surveys. Upon graduating from undergrad, Wildivina interned in Washington D.C. performing commercial site energy audits. This summer internship, and her previous work at the IAC, further convinced her that she wanted to pursue a career in the energy industry and the Master of Energy Engineering program was a perfect fit.
Wildivina can tell you that networking pays off. While attending an industry conference prior to starting the MEE program, she introduced herself to a recruiter for future reference. After starting the program Wildivina realized she had the time to both pursue her career and work on her degree. She contacted the recruiter who then introduced her to Siemens where she is still employed.
Did working on her Master of Energy Engineering degree help her land the job? Wildivina thinks it did. Siemens had employed other MEE students and knew that the real world experience gained in the program allows the employee to become effective on the job very quickly and eliminate the need for lengthy training.
When asked if she had any advice for women thinking of working in the Energy Engineering field, Wildivina had two suggestions: Improve your communication skills; effective communication is critical to the job. Secondly, don’t be afraid to be the only woman!Class of 2014, Energy Engineer, Siemens|
Master of Energy Engineering Leads to Patent Filing
Meet Maher Maymoun recent MEE graduate. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Engineering Maher began working in a sustainable buildings design firm located in Jordan. He knew he wanted to specialize in this field and further his education in energy engineering. Why UIC? Not only was the Master of Energy Engineering program exactly what he was looking for, but a recommendation from a colleague who had received her Masters of Architecture at UIC finalized the decision.
Maher has been in his new job with Baumann Consulting as an Energy Engineer since he graduated from UIC. He credits the MEE Energy Auditing and HVAC courses in particular for preparing him for the real world. Moreover, it was the sustainable and renewable energy course project that motivated him with an idea that was registered as a US provisional patent. He has filed his idea with the US Patent Office, set up a prototype and will begin testing and evaluating the innovation soon.This idea was selected to be one of the GIST Tech-I 2014 semi-finals which is a global innovation competition organized by the US Department of State and American Association for Advanced Science.
We will keep you updated on Maher’s progress with his patent filing and the global competition final results.Class of 2013, Energy Engineer, Baumann Consulting|
MEE Program Facilitates Career Change
“I was an architect with an engineering background from my time with the Navy in the nuclear program. I knew buildings and I knew energy and determined that a new career as a facilities manager would be a good fit. However, I needed an engineering degree for the job I wanted.
I was looking for an energy based program and found lots of courses, but many were on-line programs. I think there are benefits to being in the classroom and I was right. There was a good mix of students and with classmates in the workforce there were good exchanges which kept the class informed of the latest developments in the field. . The course work consisted of current, practical information that was immediately applicable. I thought the program did a good job covering the whole energy spectrum from production to end use.“Class of 2013, Resource Efficiency Manager, Booz Allen Hamilton|
Meet Behzad Aghababazadeh
“When I graduated from Purdue with a BS in EE I was looking for something new – engineering with a different focus, practical, not theoretical. I wanted skills that would assist me on the job. I looked at other engineering schools and found that the Master of Energy Engineering program was unique and offered the skills I wanted.
The program was a big help with my job where I was immediately able to apply course material at work. I liked that the courses are designed for specific jobs and found it beneficial that the instructors have been out in the real world. Having classes in the evening was also helpful.”Class of 2013, Energy Engineer, Elara Energy Services, Inc.|
Meet Britt Mork
“During my senior year of undergrad I knew I was interested in the energy industry. I found the Masters of Energy Engineering (MEE) program and liked that I could work while I took classes. I started the MEE program the same time I started a new job at The Shaw Group. I believe my enrollment in the MEE program was definitely a factor in getting the job. Shaw was very interested in the program and currently has one employee enrolled with another one starting class soon.
I thought it was convenient taking classes and working. Interestingly, everything I was learning in class mirrored what I was doing at work.”
CEM class of 2010, Energy Manager, CBRE|
Meet Emile Jabre
“I was interested in renewable and emerging energy and thought the Master of Energy Engineering (MEE) program was a great opportunity to be more involved in the energy field and investigate different technologies. The name Master of Energy Engineering accurately defines the program – it is more technical, more focused and creates more job opportunities. My job is quite challenging and having a MEE degree has helped me to think more practically than theoretically.”
Class of 2010, Sustainable Engineering Assistant, Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP|
Meet Hillary Richmond Vadna
“The Master of Energy Engineering (MEE) is a gateway into the energy field. The instructors, having worked in the energy field, are industry experts and provide unparalleled opportunities for students. The way the MEE program is structured, with evening classes in a great location, allowed me to continue working while fully engaged in the program. The classes are small, making it easy to build long-lasting relationships with my peers. I selected this program because I was looking for a career that had positive employment prospects, interesting work, and also complemented undergrad degree. Ultimately, it was integral to landing my current job, and energy engineering is a great field to go into.”
Class of 2011, Engineer, Building Energy Efficiency, Gas Technology Institute|