EPIC: University-Industry Partnership in North CarolinaMay 17, 2016
One of the biggest university/industry partnership in the country is located at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. EPIC (Energy Production and Infrastructure Center) is unique in that it was founded by industry executives including former Duke Power CEO Jim Rogers and like-minded business leaders who needed access to more highly qualified energy engineers.
EPIC opened its 200,000 sq ft building in the fall of 2012 with classrooms and laboratories as well as space available for industrial partners. EPIC is located within the Lee College of Engineering with goals to educate multi-disciplinary energy students, perform energy research and boost economic development in the region.
Dr. Johan Enslin, the Director of EPIC, invited T&D World Strategic Director Rick Bush to Charlotte for a visit. As a mechanical engineer, Rick was mesmerized with the million pound 32 foot high wall where EPIC researchers can evaluate transmission foundations and tower sections. While he was there, the remaining strength of Duke wooden distribution poles were being tested. Because the center is multidisciplinary, researchers had access to an environmental lab where they could evaluate the condition of the individual fibers and determine residual wood preservatives so that Duke could develop a condition-based strategy for a pole change out program.