East Carolina University’s (ECU) Integrated Coastal Programs and the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) are proud to announce the naming of George Bonner as the Director of the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP). The NCROEP is a research partnership that integrates coastal, electrical, civil and mechanical engineering with the natural and social sciences to research and develop technologies to harness ocean hydropower as a source of renewable energy for the state North Carolina. Supported by North Carolina state legislature since inception in 2010, the NCROEP is led by CSI along with the Colleges of Engineering at North Carolina State University, NCA&T, UNC Charlotte, and East Carolina University. The program includes a range of scientists, students, and industry professionals whose work focuses on various aspects of marine hydrokinetic power generation, thus building the foundation required to utilize ocean currents and waves as a renewable energy resource in the future.
“We are excited to have Mr. Bonner lead the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program as we enter this next stage of growth in our research on renewable ocean energy for the State of North Carolina. Bonner’s proven leadership and experience working across many coastal systems will be a valuable asset to the program, NC State, ECU and CSI,” states Dr. Reide Corbett, Executive Director of the Coastal Studies Institute and Dean of ECU’s Integrated Coastal Programs.
Bonner, a Roanoke Island native with three decades of engineering and management experience in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), will assume leadership of the NCROEP effective August 1, 2019. The position is filled in partnership with the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University and is located at the Coastal Studies Institute on ECU’s Outer Banks Campus in Wanchese, NC.
Mr. Bonner Joins CSI and the NCROEP after 30 years as an officer and civil engineer in the U.S. Coast Guard. This experience has awarded him strong relationship building and collaborative experience working across public and private stakeholders, with many universities, and across all levels of government. Most recently, Bonner served as the USCG Deputy Director of Operational Logistics. In this role, Bonner supervised the mission support headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia and was responsible for mission support and logistics across the Coast Guard enterprise.
“Throughout my 30 year Coast Guard career, I have strived to support our motto of Semper Paratus. I am thrilled to return home to Roanoke Island and the opportunity to work with the NC State, ECU, and the Coastal Studies Institute team in the emerging renewable ocean energy sector to help our state and nation remain Always Ready!”, states Bonner.
As director of the NCROEP, Bonner will be responsible for integrated research, education, training, and outreach efforts in the area of ocean renewable energy, working in conjunction with the CSI Executive Director and NCROEP Technical Advisory Board to revisit and implement the programs strategic plan and vision. He will draw on his years of leadership and interdisciplinary technical experience, including work in energy sustainability, coastal resiliency, and sea-level rise across various public, private, and academic stakeholder groups.
“With rapidly expanding application of renewable ocean solutions to meet energy demands across the world, I’m excited with this role in advancing industry-leading research across the UNC System and promoting sustainable solutions to best serve our economy, national security, and environment,” Bonner said.
Prior to Mr. Bonner, the NCROEP was led under the expert leadership of Dr. Billy Edge, CSI faculty member and professor in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. During his tenure, the NCROEP achieved substantial growth, attracting the attention of noteworthy federal, state, and private funding agencies. Since his retirement in 2015, diligent and dedicated interim leadership was provided by Mo Gabr (NC State University), and assisted by Lindsay Dubbs (CSI) and Mike Muglia (CSI), who have continued the upward trajectory, attracting new levels of undergraduate participation and research opportunities within the NCROEP.