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Key Staff

Marianne Walck

Marianne Walck, Ph.D. — NETL Director

Marianne Walck, Ph.D., manages the complete NETL complex, including delivery and execution of the Laboratory’s mission and national programs in carbon-based energy and program support to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Electricity; and Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response. Walck leads NETL’s more than 1,300 employees and guides more than 1,000 R&D projects in 50 states with a total award value of $5 billion. As director, Walck fosters strategic relationships with utility and academic institutions, state and local governments, and important carbon management stakeholders. Prior to joining NETL, Walck served as deputy laboratory director for Science and Technology and chief research officer at Idaho National Laboratory. Her prior experience includes 33 years at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), concluding as vice president for SNL’s California laboratory and its Energy and Climate Program. She is a member of numerous societies and councils. Walck earned a doctorate and master’s in geophysics from California Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s in geology/physics from Hope College.

Sean I. Plasynski,

Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., Acting Principal Deputy Director

As acting principal deputy director of NETL, Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., is responsible for assisting the NETL director in executing the Lab’s mission by leading the effective management of the human resources capabilities and talent at NETL and maintaining a thriving, innovative culture. Since joining NETL in 1992, Plasynski has held numerous management and technical positions, including acting NETL director, deputy director and chief technology officer, chief operating officer, director of the Strategic Center of Coal and Sequestration technology manager. He holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.

Alexandra Hakala

Alexandra Hakala, Ph.D. — Acting NETL Chief Research Officer

As acting chief research officer, Alexandra Hakala, Ph.D., directs the organization’s research activities and frames S&T strategic plans based on broad assessment and evaluation of current and emerging energy challenges. Hakala also serves as an NETL senior fellow, providing strategic leadership across multidisciplinary geoscience and engineering research teams executing R&D to ensure prudent development of natural resources for energy extraction, water management, and climate change mitigation. Hakala represents NETL on the Network of National Laboratories for Environmental Management and Stewardship and is active in geothermal R&D via DOE-Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office. She is the author of more than 70 technical publications focused on multiple energy geoscience topics and has mentored more than 30 students and postdocs. Hakala received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2017) and is an Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program Fellow (2023). Hakala joined NETL in 2008 after earning her doctorate in earth sciences from The Ohio State University, where she was a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results Graduate Fellow. She also holds a bachelor’s cum laude in geosciences with a certificate in environmental studies from Princeton University (2003).

Sydni Credle

Sydni Credle, Ph.D. — Acting Deputy Director & Chief Technology Officer

Sydni Credle, Ph.D., is currently acting NETL deputy director and chief technology officer. In this role, she is responsible for managing the Lab’s national programs with various DOE national laboratories, universities and industrial partners. The focus surrounds the development of technology primarily for minimizing environmental impacts of fossil fuels while working toward net-zero emissions in addition to technologies implemented by NETL for other parts of DOE. Previously, Credle served as acting senior fellow for Computational Science & Engineering, providing technical and strategic leadership to help ensure high-level quality and relevancy of computational programs within NETL. During her tenure at the Lab, Credle has served as technology manager and portfolio lead for three research and development (R&D) programs within Hydrogen with Carbon Management Program, including Sensors, Controls, and Novel Concepts; Simulation-Based Engineering; and University Training and Research. Credle holds a bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M University, as well as a doctorate in the same field from University of Florida. Credle is a registered professional engineer with a specialization in thermal and fluid systems for the state of West Virginia.

Heather Quedenfeld

Heather Quedenfeld — Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer for NETL, Heather Quedenfeld provides strategic direction, leadership and management of NETL’s support functions and services, including facilities; environmental, safety and health; emergency response; security; cybersecurity and information technology infrastructure; business assessments, audits, directives and processes; and career management and education programs.

During her 32 years of federal service, Quedenfeld has worked in all technology program-related areas, resulting in diverse experience at the Lab. She served as deputy director for NETL’s Technology Development Center, responsible for implementing the nation’s portfolio of active energy research, development, demonstration and deployment projects in support of the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management and other Department of Energy programs. Quedenfeld has also served as associate director for Carbon Management research, acting chief of staff for the Laboratory director, and acting lead for the Office of Science and Technology Career Management. She holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Penn State University, and a master’s in industrial engineering from West Virginia University.

Bryan Morreale

Bryan Morreale, Ph.D. — Associate Laboratory Director for Research and Innovation

As associate laboratory director for Research and Innovation for NETL, Bryan Morreale, Ph.D., is responsible for all aspects of NETL’s internal research efforts, valued at approximately $120 million per year and involving about 500 multidisciplinary federal and contract research staff at the Lab’s three research sites. Morreale leads NETL’s Research and Innovation Center (RIC) in developing and implementing a dynamic research portfolio that effectively addresses DOE and other customer goals by effectively exercising NETL’s core competencies. In nearly 19 years of service with NETL, Morreale has pursued gas separations and membrane-reactor research, led strategic technical and organizational initiatives, and served in senior leadership positions within RIC. Morreale holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

James E. Wilson

James E. Wilson — Chief Financial Officer

As chief financial officer (CFO) for NETL, Jim Wilson is responsible for planning, direction and coordination of the Laboratory’s CFO, procurement and financial assistance functions; he provides effective oversight and stewardship of the Laboratory’s financial resources. Wilson has more than 30 years of management and finance experience in the energy industry, including serving as president of Wholesale and Retail Energy Trading Businesses within PJM Interconnection, corporate controller for a public electric utility and working as a management consultant in the energy industry and as an auditor with a Big Four accounting firm. Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Saint Vincent College and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Susan E. Malie

Susan E. Malie, J.D. — Chief Counsel

As chief counsel for NETL, Susan Malie is responsible for the management and oversight of the complete portfolio of NETL legal matters. An accomplished legal executive, she leads the Office of Chief Counsel and administers expert guidance concerning legal authority for and implementation of all activities related to execution of NETL’s mission, including multiple R&D programs and projects, science and technical research, and management, business, strategic, financial and operational functions. Malie has decades of experience as senior in-house government corporate counsel managing full-service legal organizations engaged in a broad spectrum of legal practice. Malie holds a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law.