Key Staff

Scott Klara, Acting Director
Scott Klara manages the day-to-day execution of all aspects of the Laboratory's mission. He has over 29 years of diversified engineering and management experience that spans a broad spectrum of technology areas including: electric power generation, advanced separation processes, process control, coal conversion processes, and simulation/systems analysis. Mr. Klara's industry experience includes 7 years with AT&T Technologies—Bell Laboratories and Calgon Carbon Corporation. He has 22 years of Federal government experience with NETL and its predecessor organizations. Mr.Klara holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering and an M.S. degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a registered professional engineer in chemical engineering in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Brad Tomer, Chief Operating Officer
Brad Tomer is the Chief Operating Officer for the National Energy Technology Laboratory responsible for managing the day-to-day operations for the Lab. Mr. Tomer oversees institutional operations including Information Technology, Environmental, Safety and Health, Human Resources, and Site Operations for five sites across the United States including significant research laboratories in Morgantown, WV, Pittsburgh, PA and Albany, OR. In addition, Mr. Tomer manages all business operations including Site Support Contracting, Acquisition and Assistance, and, Budget, Finance and Accounting. Mr. Tomer serves as a member of NETL's Executive Board which oversees the implementation of major science and technology development programs in Fossil Energy, Office of Electricity, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Previously at NETL, he served as Director of the Office of Major Demonstrations (OMD), Deputy Director for the Strategic Center for Coal, Director for the Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil, Technology Manager and project manager. Prior to NETL, he worked at the Belvoir Research, Development & Engineering Center as a petroleum engineer. Mr. Tomer has 26 years experience in successfully moving technologies from concept to field deployment. He has a B.S. degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering from The Pennsylvania State University, an M.B.A. from George Mason University, and a Masters degree in economics from West Virginia University.

R. Paul Detwiler, Chief Counsel
Paul Detwiler came to NETL in January 2009. Prior to joining the laboratory, he had served DOE in a number of positions: special assistant to the general counsel, acting manager of the Carlsbad Field Office, and deputy general counsel of NNSA. He worked for the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, DC, before coming to DOE in 1994. He has an AB degree from Dartmouth College, a PhD in ecology from Cornell University, a JD from George Washington University, and is a registered patent attorney.

Cynthia Powell, Director, Office of Research and Development
Cynthia Powell supervises the onsite research personnel and laboratories in Albany, Oregon; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Morgantown, West Virginia. Dr. Powell was previously the Materials Science Focus Area Lead at NETL. She has over 15 years experience in high-temperature phase and microstructural development of structural materials and the effects of these phase changes on the bulk properties of these materials. She received her Ph.D. in materials science from Case Western Reserve University preceded by an M.S. and B.S. in ceramic engineering from Clemson University. Her research also addressed microstructure/processing relationships in a wide range of intermetallic, metallic, ceramic, and composite materials, and the influence of microstructure on the tribological performance of ceramics and ceramics-based composites.

Maria Vargas, Deputy Director, Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil
Maria Vargas manages  NETL's R&D activities aimed at providing national and economic security to the United States through reliable, clean, and affordable supplies of oil and natural gas. This includes a broad range of technology initiatives in the areas of Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Technologies,  Environmentally Prudent Development of Natural Gas, and Methane Hydrates.  Maria earned a Masters of Science Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. She has been with DOE for 26 years. In addition to the NETL, she has held positions at the Richland Operations Office, Rocky Flats Site, and Savannah River Operations Office. Prior to joining the Energy Department, Maria worked in the private sector for several years.

Ken Kern, Director, Office of Strategic Energy Analysis and Planning
Ken Kern has been involved in a wide range of energy related business activities during a 35 year career within the power generation industry. He has participated in business development, strategic planning, sales and licensing of major equipment for the power generation industry (gas turbine, steam turbine and boilers), both domestically and internationally. His international power generation involvement included several years of operations and general management at manufacturing and sales offices in Singapore, Japan and Poland. Prior to joining NETL, he was Vice President for Marketing and Business Development for a major, international power generation equipment manufacturing company. Mr. Kern holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Charles M. Zeh, Director, Office of Energy Project Management 
Chuck Zeh manages NETL's clean energy programs. In this role he is responsible for management and oversight of projects for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE). Over his 27 year career Mr. Zeh has held numerous management positions administering the research, development and commercialization of new and emerging technologies at NETL. He supervised and was responsible for developing technology for vehicles, buildings, gas turbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engines, and environmental restoration. Mr. Zeh holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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