Chagrin Valley Times: “Retired” men’s group has energy to spare

This story appeared in the June 6, 2013 edition of The Chagrin Valley Times

By Joan Demirjian

Bill Jones should have had plenty of time to practice, but at age 90 said, “I flunked out on retirement.”

Mr. Jones tried, but couldn’t take it easy and runs his own business, DynaMotors which develops electrical controls for running electric motors. He also serves on the board of Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation, promoting green technology.

As an active resident at South Franklin Circle retirement community, he also serves on the program committee there.

Mr. Jones has been working on a series on energy innovations along with Ken Carr, a retired Navy admiral, Bill Doyle, who has a background in purchasing and manufacturing and served on Chagrin Falls Council, and Marty Pope who is a retired electrical engineer at Reliance Electric.

Major changes are being made involving energy, including solar power and wind turbines. Bill Jones, seated, Bill Doyle, left, and Ken Carr of South Franklin Circle have initiated a public series with speakers on energy innovations at the retirement community in Bainbridge. Photo by Joan Demirjian.

New  frontiers in energy is the subject of the Energy Innovation series which covers all types of renewable energy.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dianne Anderson, head of CWRU’s Great Lakes Energy Institute will talk on “Our Future Energy.”  She will discuss what forms of energy sources and uses there might be in 30 years.

The energy institute includes all the university’s scientists involved in the energy field.  The Cleveland Foundation is the primary sponsor, along with funding from Ohio’s Third Frontier fund, the U.S. Department of Energy and advance military programs. It brings research dollars into the area and also helps create products, companies and jobs.

The institute is a nationally recognized research center in innovations of power. The task is to develop technology and make technology cheaper.  Ms. Anderson is a former executive of British Petroleum.

The purpose of South Franklin Circle’s energy innovation series is to expand people’s understanding of major changes in energy, including solar power, natural gas, wind turbines, clean coal, atomic energy, fracking and geothermal energy, according to Mr. Jones. “There’s a lot going on.”

Northeast Ohio is active in innovative energy. CWRU, NASA and Cleveland State University are doing much in the field, he said.

A men’s group at South Franklin Circle started on the subject of energy, Mr. Doyle said, and it has blossomed into wide-ranging discussions. Programs on the topic have been so successful, it was decided to open them to the public. Past topics have included turbines on Lake Erie and solar panels for commercial users.

As it turns out, there is a great deal of interest in the subject and people want to keep up to date, according to the men. Mr. Carr said they are not looking to solve the world’s problems through lectures. “But we can at least start the fire,” Mr. Jones said.

“The energy issue is pervasive throughout the whole country,” he said. “And people want to get away from dependency on Arab oil. There is so much going on in Cleveland. Case is into so many things involving innovative energy,” The mix includes solar, nuclear, natural gas and coal.

The goal is to develop cleaner and cheaper ways of generating energy. “I like the idea of smaller wind turbines being used in shopping malls or solar panels,” Mr. Jones said. “Energy is worth learning about,” he said. “Everything depends on it. I feel it’s fascinating.”

“Power outages have occurred because the distribution systems aren’t being improved,” Mr. Doyle said. “A big thing is how to get that power from here to there.”

Ms. Anderson will be a rich source of information especially on questions that normally don’t get answered, according to the men. Guests should register for the program by calling 440-247-1300 or visit  Stay for an informal cocktail period afterward. Dinner is also available afterward at the Radius Restaurant for those who want to make reservations.

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