On Jan. 30, Dr. Johan Enslin, director of the UNC Charlotte Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC), will be accepting an Energy Leadership Award from the Charlotte Business Journal at the Mint Museum in Uptown Charlotte.
Enslin has been selected this year as one of the ten recipients of this prestigious award. The award is open to key leaders of the energy industries in the Carolinas. Nominees are elected by the local community and then a panel of judges votes to select the ten recipients of the award.
Enslin has had the opportunity to work with several of the nominees from present and past years. Many of whom have been part of his staff at EPIC. UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois was even a past recipient.
As a native South African, Enslin received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Johannesburg. He went on to obtain his doctorate degree from The University of Johannesburg as well, and did a dual degree which also allowed him to study in Germany.
Enslin has been the director of EPIC for nearly two and a half years, ever since its completion and opening in August of 2012.
Enslin explained how EPIC is not only for engineering students. “All though EPIC started as a part of the college of engineering, it is in a way supporting the entire university’s energy education,” said Enslin
EPIC is integrated into the university across five different colleges. EPIC and the Belk College of Business were recently just approved to offer an MBA in business with an energy concentration.
EPIC focuses on setting workforce development goals to better all future professionals who go through any of their programs. Coordinating with industries to supply internships and scholarships to studentss another one of EPIC’s main focuses. There are currently 25 scholarships that EPIC provides to energy students.
Upon asking Enslin what made him decide to be an engineer he said,“I always broke things, and I got tired of breaking things and not knowing how to fix them.”
His father was also an engineer who influenced him greatly and exposed him to the industry.
When asked what his job was like Enslin said, “Someone asked me the other day and I told them It’s kind of like firefighting.” Enslin went on to explain the many activities he is involved in. A usual day for him means chatting with representatives of one or two energy corporations in the area, and finding new ways to get students involved in the field.
Another goal of Enslin’s to meet regularly with his staff to implement new goals in research, workforce development and leadership development. These workforce and leadership development goals focus not only on getting students into the industry quicker, but preparing them to succeed and move up in rank once they get there.
One workforce goal EPIC has is to bring together engineers of different disciplines to work together. Enslin focuses on giving students a “multidisciplinary” approach to their schooling and career.
EPIC is a unique research department, and is a very fast growing one to boot. Enslin spoke of an abundance of new labs that have emerged in EPIC within the last year such as the environmental lab, smart grid lab, energy analytics lab and the flexible power lab. There are a total number of about 25 labs within EPIC.
One of EPIC’s prized accomplishments was their performance in last year’s solar decathlon. The event took place in California where schools from across the U.S. and even several other countries competed against one another. Enslin was very proud of our UNC Charlotte and was ecstatic that his team came third in the competition overall and first nationally.
To contact Dr. Johan Enslin or to find out more about EPIC, visit http://epic.uncc.edu/