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Job Profiles

KARI L. GAGNER
POSITION: Communications Specialist and Event Coordinator

RESPONSIBILITIES: Kari L. Gagner is the Communications Specialist and Event Coordinator at the EERC, where she is responsible for the development and maintenance of the EERC's Web site, including its design, organization, and content. In addition, she coordinates and facilitates administrative activities associated with conferences, workshops, short courses, and other EERC outreach activities nationwide. Ms. Gagner also manages the EERC's social media platforms; writes e-mail marketing campaigns, press releases, and event advertisements; and creates promotional materials for conferences and other events to market the EERC and its programs.


PERSONAL: A native of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, she lives in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, with her husband Danny and their two children.


Professional Background: Gagner holds a B.A. degree in Communications from the University of North Dakota (UND). Prior to her position at the EERC, she worked at the Grand Forks Herald as the Online Consultant, where she was responsible for the implementation of online advertising, promotions, and partnerships, as well as developing plans and proposals for multiple online campaigns. Before that, she spent 2 years as a Product Test Coordinator at Gardening How-To Magazine, where she coordinated and oversaw the product testing process, identified product sales leads for product testing, and developed and implemented content for both the magazine’s Web site and weekly e-newsletters.

Quote: "The EERC has a work environment unlike any other. The people here are friendly, the atmosphere is positive, and the innovations that come out of this building are amazing. It feels great knowing I have a job that is fun and that we are all working toward a common goal, to make the Earth a better and cleaner place to live."

Michael J. Holmes
POSITION: Deputy Associate Director for Research

RESPONSIBILITIES: Holmes oversees fossil energy research areas at the EERC, including hydrogen production, advanced energy systems, and emission control technology projects involving mercury, SO2, NOx, H2S, and particulate. He is currently the project manager on two large consortium projects (totaling $7.9 million) to perform long-term field testing of mercury control technologies at lignite-fired utilities.


PERSONAL: A native of Mayville, North Dakota, he loves spending time with his wife and children and enjoys outdoor activities, especially hunting and fishing.


Professional Background: Holmes received an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from UND in 1986 and a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Mayville State University in 1984. Prior to his current position, he was a Senior Research Advisor at the EERC. He joined the EERC in 2001 after serving as a Principal Research Engineer at McDermott Technology, Inc. (MTI). At MTI, Holmes spent 15 years as a process development engineer for advanced energy systems in support of the operating divisions of McDermott International, including Babcock & Wilcox, Jay Ray McDermott Engineering, and Diamond Power Specialty Company.

Quote: "After living away from North Dakota and family for 15 years, the EERC provided an excellent opportunity to come back and work at a world-recognized research organization as well as be close to family. I really enjoy the family atmosphere the EERC provides while working on projects that focus on solving real-world problems facing the EERC’s industry partners."

Corey R. Irion
POSITION:Contracts Officer

RESPONSIBILITIES: Irion prepares, reviews, negotiates, and administers numerous types of agreements, including sponsored research agreements, cash-equivalent agreements, subcontract agreements, proposal teaming agreements, and confidentiality agreements in accordance with federal and nonfederal contractual requirements, government and university regulations and policies, and EERC policies. He also assists with intellectual property matters.


PERSONAL: A native of Edgeley, North Dakota, Irion and his wife, Jess, have been married for 4 years. He enjoys downhill skiing, reading, hunting, and fishing.


Professional Background: Irion received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from UND in 2002. He then attended the UND School of Law and served as an extern to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals during his time there. In 2005, Irion completed his J.D. with distinction and was elected to the Order of the Coif. Prior to joining the EERC, he was an Associate Attorney with Pearson Christensen & Clapp, PLLP, in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Quote: "Working at the EERC provides unique challenges and an environment that combines a business atmosphere and a world-renowned research institute."


Scott G. Tolbert
POSITION: Research Manager

RESPONSIBILITIES: Tolbert's work at the EERC focuses on hydrogen production and utilization. He also serves as a consultant to industry on the topics of electrohydraulic machinery and ISO certification. Currently, Tolbert works on coal gasification and gas cleanup technologies.


PERSONAL: Tolbert and his wife, Mary, have three children. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling.


Professional Background: Tolbert received an M.S. in 1990 and a B.S. in 1985 in Industrial Technology from UND. Prior to joining the EERC, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UND. In addition to teaching, he served as an academic advisor and an Assistant to the Dean. He has also provided his expertise as a consultant on electrohydraulic machinery and ISO certifications for several manufacturing companies.

Quote: "The true gem of the EERC is the wealth of knowledge that people are willing to share. It’s not a business model, but a way of life. People truly believe in what they do."