Long Lab Career Feted at ISTC

retirement party cake with a icing rat on topHis retirement cake was festooned with a big black rat.


That was alright with Jerry Bargren. After four decades in U of I labs, “lab rat” is no slight.


He first retired as lab supervisor at the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006. But after nine months of living la vida loca around the house, Jerry jumped at the chance to join ISTC.


“I thought it might be a year,” Bargren said. But he fulfilled a key role as a master of sample preparation. “I do enjoy working in the lab,” a phrase he repeated several times over 20 minutes. He first served in a hospital lab in Thailand during the Vietnam War. Next came his long stretch at Vet Med before his post-retirement at ISTC.


With the dizzying technological changes occurring during his time in the laboratory, Bargren says his job has largely stayed the same. Precision lab sample preparation and processing, sample clean-up, isolation and purification. The atmosphere in the lab is collegial and cooperative. When a mistake occurs (a shifted decimal point!) never be afraid to admit it, he said. Correct it.


Director Kevin O'Brien (left) and Senior Chemist (John Scott) congratulate Jerry Bargren upon his re-retirement.

Director Kevin O’Brien (left) and Senior Chemist John Scott (right) congratulate Jerry Bargren upon his re-retirement.

The best moments for this lab rat are when he devises a creative procedure that works as well as the standard published protocol. He remembered once working out a new procedure for evaluating antibiotic dosages using thin layer chromatography. Control measurements using standard methods at a Canadian lab showed the same results.


He and Senior Chemist John Scott recently collaborated on testing Scott’s idea for a quicker and cheaper technique for measuring total phenol. The new method worked as well as the standard one. “That’s the kind of thing I like to work with and get a better method,” Bargren said.


In retirement he said he will read a lot more – particularly books on World War II. He will also spend more time with his wife (also a career lab dam (momma rat)) and their seven children and 21 grandchildren.

Registration for the 2015 Governor’s Sustainability Awards is Now Open

govs awards ceremonyRegistration for the 29th Annual Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards is now OPEN! Join us to learn more about cutting-edge sustainable business strategies and celebrate the 2015 Award Finalists.


Register now!


The event will take place on October 27th, 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel Chicago. Registration prices are:

  • $50 – Morning Technical Symposium Only
  • $95 – Award Luncheon Only
  • $130 – All Day – Morning Technical Symposium and Awards Luncheon

Exhibitor rates include registration and the Awards Luncheon:

  • $150 – Exhibit Table & Morning Technical Symposium (one person)
  • $195 – Exhibit Table, Morning Technical Symposium and Awards Luncheon (one person).  Additional tickets can be purchased at above rates.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available and include a wide array of benefits. Visit our Sponsorship page for more information on the benefits of supporting this signature Illinois event.


Wondering what is happening at this year’s Awards Ceremony? Find the agenda here. More speakers to be announced soon.


If you have any questions, please contact our Governor’s Sustainability Awards coordinator, Cassie Carroll at ccarrol2@illinois.edu.


We hope that you can join us to celebrate this year’s Award winners!

Sustainability Seminar Series Fall 2015: Water Quality & Water Conservation

The ISTC Sustainability Seminar series continues this fall with the theme “Water Quality and Water Conservation.” The series kicks off with a talk by Walt Kelly of the Illinois State Water Survey titled “State & Regional Water Supply Planning in Illinois” on Sept. 10, 2015, from noon to 1 pm (abstract below). For more details on these seminars, please visit ISTC’s event calendar. To be added to the seminar and events email list or to receive links to the live broadcasts of the seminars, please contact Beth Meschewski at elm2@illinois.edu.


State & Regional Water Supply Planning in Illinois

Presented by Walt Kelly – Illinois State Water Survey on Sept. 10

In 2006, Executive Order 2006-01 called for the development of state and regional water supply planning under the direction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinois has been divided into 10 regions for water supply planning. For each region, a regional water supply planning committee (RWSPC) is formed, comprised of members from major stakeholder groups (e.g., agriculture, industry, mining, environmental, municipal, etc.). The State Water and Geological Surveys are responsible for scientific studies of Illinois’ water resources, working closely with the RWSPCs to optimize planning efforts. Plans have been developed for three regions (Northeast Illinois, East-Central Illinois, and the Kaskaskia River Basin). In 2014, funding was made available to start planning in two new regions (Middle Illinois River Basin and Northwest Illinois) and a sub-region (Kankakee River Basin). In this presentation, I will discuss past, current, and future water supply planning activities in Illinois, focusing on scientific work being done at the Water Survey.


Researcher Spotlight: Shantanu Pai

Shantanu PaiShantanu Pai is an assistant sustainability researcher at ISTC working in the Zero Waste Illinois program, which assists in waste diversion and pollution prevention benefits for Illinois business, industry, and government. He joined ISTC in 2013.


Shantanu graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2013 with a BS in Waste and Soils Resources. During his studies, he served as a research assistant at the Center for Land Use and Planning and at the Center for Waste Education. He also worked with Marathon County, WI, on framing their zero waste plan.


His research interests include fate and transport of waste materials through market driven initiatives; the role of affluence and directed public policy in solid waste management; and solid waste industry in the developing world. His passion for these topics is captured in a 2014 Prairie Research Institute lightning talk.


Shantanu counts the Solid Waste Characterization and Zero Waste Assistance program at the Forest Preserve of Cook County as his greatest ISTC accomplishment to date. He is also proud of and dedicated to the many ISTC projects that have helped manufacturing facilities across Illinois reduce waste.


Connect with Shantanu on Twitter or LinkedIn.


Check the ISTC home page periodically for more Researcher Spotlights. Thanks to Lauren Quinn for writing the original profile of Shantanu for the home page!

Free Green Lunchroom Challenge Kickoff Workshop & Training, Sept. 17

A free kickoff workshop and training for the Green Lunchroom Challenge, a voluntary competition among K-12 schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations, will be held on Thursday, September 17 in the Stephen J. Warner conference room at ISTC from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The workshop will provide an overview of the Challenge, presentations on relevant tools and programs, discussions of barriers and opportunities related to food waste prevention and reduction in K-12 schools, and a school food service training session presented by Greg Christian, Founder and CEO of Beyond Green Partners, a food service and consulting company focused on nutritional and environmental impacts of school food.


Registration for this workshop is limited to 40 participants. Please note that you do NOT need to participate in the workshop in order to participate in the Challenge itself. Interested schools may sign up for the Challenge at any time during the Challenge period (Sept. 1, 2015 – April 1, 2016) at www.greenlunchroom.org.


The training presented by Greg Christian will take place during the final two hours of the half-day workshop, and will cover the problem of food waste, multiple barriers to its reduction, front and back of house waste, measurement techniques to identify opportunities for improvement, and a systems approach to waste reduction, drawing on Greg’s personal experiences and methods for maintaining a zero waste kitchen. The two hours of in-person training can be counted by school nutrition/food service professionals as continuing education for the USDA Professional Standards which went into effect on July 1, 2015 (See http://www.isbe.net/nutrition/htmls/snp-prof-stds.htm). Attendees will need to keep track of the training agenda, hours, and proof of attendance. ISTC will have a sign-in sheet at the event and can send you an email afterward confirming your presence at the training.


For more information on the workshop and to register online, see www.greenlunchroom.org/?kickoff. Questions may be addressed to Joy Scrogum.


The Green Lunchroom Challenge is sponsored by US EPA Region 5.


Green Lunchroom Challenge logo

Chambana Science Cafe Fall 2015 Schedule Announced

The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology co-sponsor the Chambana Science Café, a monthly seminar series that brings scientists to the public to talk about their research in an informal setting. Seminars take place on the first Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at Pizza-M (208 W. Main Street in Urbana, IL), and there is free pizza while it lasts. The first meeting of the semester will be next week on September 2, with a presentation by Sarah Brown-Schmidt, associate professor of psychology at Beckman Institute.


Science Cafe Fall 2015 schedule

Illini Gadget Garage Hours Set, Courses Begin

In case you missed it, check out the UI News Bureau coverage of the Illini Gadget Garage project. Thanks to Jodi Heckel for helping spread the word!


As noted in this article, the Gadget Garage will open to the general campus community for repair assistance on Monday, September 14. Fall hours will be Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m.


Professors Martin Wolske and William Bullock are also teaching courses associated with the Gadget Garage, with classes beginning this week. Professor Bullock’s class is a multidisciplinary effort with the following course objectives:

  • Collaborate with peers from business, design & technology in planning and startup
  • Experience project management, leadership and team building
  • Create a business and marketing plan to insure success going forward
  • Plan and implement new branding, advertising and wayfinding strategies
  • Participation in the iFixit Technical Writing Project (a unique portfolio piece)
  • Knowledge to create more sustainable designs and extend product life cycles


Professor Bullock is particularly interested in having students with interests in marketing and engineering participate alongside their peers from industrial design. A few seats are still available; interested students should see the course flyer and contact Professor Bullock directly with questions. Professor Wolske’s Introduction to Network Systems class will be meeting in the Gadget Garage space, and students will have opportunities to work on service learning projects associated with this project for the course.


See the Illini Gadget Garage page on the Sustainable Electronics Initiative web site for more information on the courses and the project itself, including a map of its location. General questions can be addressed to Joy Scrogum.


Illini Gadget Garage project team

Photo by Joyce Seay-Knoblauch. Pictured (left to right): William Bullock, professor of industrial design, Joy Scrogum, coordinator of the Sustainable Electronics Initiative, and Martin Wolske, research scientist and adjunct faculty member in library and information science.

Governor’s Sustainability Awards Morning Keynote Panel: Shaping the Future of Production

sustainable productsClients, shareholders, and consumers continue to pressure businesses, product manufacturers, and suppliers to produce products that reduce resource use while improving process and equipment efficiency. In addition, utility and raw material prices will continue to rise, as demand increases with a steadily growing population. As these and other sustainability standards and cost barriers continue to grow, companies will need to continue being creative on how to produce a quality product while maintaining a price point that is competitive.


At October 27th’s Governor’s Sustainability Awards Ceremony, the morning keynote panel will focus on manufacturers, businesses, and organizations that are helping to shape the future of production through sustainable resource management and process optimization. Learn more about sustainable production here.


global challenge Businesses have many opportunities to conserve by using fewer resources. Energy and water efficiency are especially important, although they are not always considered in connection with one another. Energy and water planners at the state and national level routinely make decisions that impact each another without adequately understanding the scientific or policy complexities of the other sector. This lack of understanding about the energy-water nexus often leads to missed opportunities for conservation, which has a negative impact on budgets, efficiency, the environment, and public health. Kate Zerrenner, Climate and Energy Project Manager for the Environmental Defense Fund, will discuss the longstanding division of these fundamentally intertwined resources.


bell helmetsKyle Kietzmann, President and COO of Bell Racing USA, the world’s premiere auto racing helmet company, will discuss key management and process optimization strategies that address the growing market for sustainably produced goods and more efficient resource use. He will also discuss how other leading sports equipment manufacturers are driving efficiency through sustainable production.


These organizations and companies are bringing greater awareness to opportunities and best practices for implementing more sustainable production processes that help Illinois companies shape a sustainable manufacturing future. By investing in sustainable production, companies realize the long- term benefits of investing in well-designed, resource efficient technologies and processes with engaged, well-trained employees who are invested in the organization’s sustainable mission.


For more information about the Governor’s Sustainability Awards, visit http://istc.illinois.edu/info/govs_awards.cfm.

Speaker Bio: Kyle Kietzmann

kyle kietzmannKyle Kietzmann is the co-owner of Bell Racing USA LLC and Head Protection Technologies LLC. Kietzmann is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Bell Racing USA LLC, the world’s premier auto racing helmet company. Bell Racing specializes in designing, developing, manufacturing and distributing auto racing helmets to professional and amateur drivers competing in the sport of auto racing. Bell Helmets have been worn and trusted by more champions than any other helmet brand.


Kietzmann also serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Head Protection Technologies LLC which specializes in the development, manufacturing and distribution of non-auto racing helmets and other industrial head protection products.


Kietzmann began his career as marketing and advertising manager for Management Services, Inc, a Mid-West based company specializing in the administration of third-party insurance programs. He was also the Business Development Director for full-service advertising agency in Champaign Illinois. Kietzmann joined Bell Sports, Inc. in 1996 as the Marketing and Promotional Coordinator for Bell’s Auto Racing Division. Kietzmann advanced during his career with Bell to serve in positions including Sales and Marketing Director, General Manager and President. In 2010, Kietzmann partnered with the principle owners of Bell Racing Europe, Stephane Cohen and Martine Kindt Cohen to acquire the Bell auto racing business for North and South America from Easton Bell Sports, Inc.


Kietzmann has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Illinois State University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Olivet Nazarene University and is a member of the International Council of Motorsport Sciences. Mr. Kietzmann is married to Laura Kietzmann, they have two children and live in Mahomet, Illinois.

Speaker Bio: Kate Zerrenner

kate zerrennerKate Zerrenner, one of the panelists for “Shaping the Future of Sustainable Production” at the 29th Annual Governor’s Awards, is a Climate and Energy Project Manager with the Environmental Defense Fund’s US Climate and Energy Program and is based in their Texas Regional Office. She helps develop and implement strategies to promote energy and water efficiency and climate change solutions in Texas and leads EDF’s multi-year campaign to influence and enact state and national energy and water efficiency policy, including breaking down financial, regulatory and behavioral barriers. She also directs regional efforts to improve options for clean energy choices that create jobs, reduce climate change impacts, water intensity and air pollution. Her expertise includes a sound understanding of technologies and policies affecting traditional energy generation, energy efficiency business models, and the energy-water nexus.


EDF logoShe designs and implements non-regulatory, legislative and policy strategies to increase energy and water efficiency (business models, technological, and financing options) and clean energy options to reduce climate change pollution and water intensity and encourage clean and sustainable energy choices. She collaborates with key stakeholders and legislative sponsors on passage of clean energy and energy-water legislation, including drafting legislative language and providing oral and written testimony.


Kate participates in the Energy Efficiency Implementation Project at the PUC of Texas, submitting written comments and providing input to rulemaking and utility efficiency program design. She serves on the City of Austin Integrated Water Resource Planning Community Task Force and the Advisory Board of the Smart Cities Council.


Prior to joining EDF, Kate worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office analyzing U.S. action on climate change and the voluntary carbon offset market; SAIC, on climate change projects for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and U.S. Department of Energy on the Energy Policy Act of 2005. She has also worked for the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission and the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission) at the U.S. Department of Defense.


She holds a Master’s degree in International Energy and Environmental Policy and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, a Master’s in Comparative Politics from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.