David Landis, Ph.D., P.E.
The founding Executive Director of EST&P, Dr. Landis is retiring in May 2018. "These past 7 years have been a rewarding experience of working with CMU grad students and faculty to bring the College of Engineering MS Energy program to its current level of prominence. Now it's time for me to get out of the way, and in retirement watch from the sidelines as a new Director takes EST&P to the next level"
Dr. Landis grew up a several hour drive away from Pittsburgh in Altoona, PA and received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He began his engineering career at RCA, and after working for a few years he realized that the people who could answer his questions were those who had Master’s degrees. Deciding to pursue one himself, for the next few years Dr. Landis worked diligently to complete a Master's in Systems Engineering at University of Pennsylvania while still an R&D engineer at RCA. Eventually he left RCA to pursue the PhD while working full-time as an instructor at The Pennsylvania State University.
Although he has worked in the private as well as the non-profit sectors, his heart lies in academia. Companies are focused on business and making sure that things work. At universities there is more of a focus on thinking and learning, and what doesn’t work is just as important as what does. While he is not currently conducting research, his academic interests are focused on efficient and environmentally friendly electric power transport and storage, and on embedded systems safety, integrity, and security when applying modern information technology to energy systems.
When it comes to what he believes it takes to be successful in the energy sector, his motto is, "Pay attention to both depth and breadth. You’re going to learn details in your classes, but you also have to appreciate context and how to operate under policies". He recommends pursuing projects that you enjoy and that will make an impact on this world. Energy is the source of many of the future’s problems, but improvements in energy will be essential to the solutions.
Dr. Landis’s hobbies include playing acoustic guitar, riding motorcycles, experimenting with electronics and amateur radio, and applying his technical knowledge to restore and maintain old vehicles.