Welcome to Material Way
I remain willing to help organizations in their process application, metrology and equipment needs but I am not actively consulting in these areas as I now have a staff role within NASCENT, an NSF nanomanufacturing engineering research center (ERC), at the University of Texas at Austin.
That said, problems are still interesting and challenges need attention. If you encounter an issue that I might help address, please feel free to send an Email. I will try to aid as I can: firstname.lastname@example.org
ps: For someone who crosses this site by happenstance, Material Way = Matt Weldon. What social media I maintain can be found at LinkedIn.
What else am I doing these days? Note the pictures below.
- Keeping up with kids - they are on fire! College, science competitions, rock climbing, music, fencing, astronomy presentations...who knew such fun and interesting people would appear on the scene?!
- Electric Utility Commission (EUC) member representing District 6 of the City of Austin. I'm honored that my City Councilman, Jimmy Flannigan, asked me to participate on this commission (summer 2018). The city's governance structure has many boards and commissions that wield relatively little direct authority but do serve as as a means of community oversight and provide a mechanism for citizenry to aid in issue prioritization. The EUC is the primary citizen oversight body for Austin Energy, the largest city department, a billion dollar enterprise, and the 8th largest publicly owned electric utility.
- Dairy farmer: this is a familial activity into which each generation is drafted due to an Illinois farm established in 1849. Heartfelt thanks is given to my grandfather, who purchased the farm from his Uncle Lincoln (who had no children and passed away while still residing on the farm) to keep it in the family. The cousins and I are appreciative and love the time we spend there. There are some hot summer days when painting or mucking the barn that make one wonder if the enterprise has sufficient legs to continue on in its current form. The times are changing and challenging but our industrious tenant's focus is now on providing livestock and services to a larger regional dairy, so all is well for the moment. I'm sure you have heard the one about how to end up owning a small farm: First, you start with a large farm...
- Guide Dogs for the Blind - my association to this activity is through my wife and children, though having dogs about is always good. We often act as substitute sitters for full time puppy raisers who have short term conflicts, but right now Evan is working with his second puppy, Mink, who we expect to have through Sept. 2019.
- Climate change and emission pricing. This is an engrossing and challenging problem to which I am sensitized by my continual visits to my childhood home in southern Colorado. High altitude regions are among those affected most quickly as snow loss creates a rapid local feedback loop where the effects of shorter winters, faster snow melts, and longer hotter summers are quite visible.
Trying to convince political leadership to acknowledge the issue, to take mitigating action, and embrace the idea that competitive markets not only make sense but can be good for us, is more challenging than it should be. We certainly seem more interested in protecting the corporate status quo than actually enabling competitive capitalism, but I find volunteering time to the task to be a rewarding if Sisyphean pursuit.
The US still has great opportunity for economic growth and world policy leadership on this issue - the net good of action looks large. Inaction simply looks silly - embracing all risk with no upside potential, while forfeiting many real benefits such as better near term pricing value for American fossil fuel products (the US enjoys high energy/carbon ratio resources - but we get no environmental bonus for these better raw fuels). Pricing emissions at $0 perfectly socializes all risk and damages. Taking action can address a number of physical, market, and social issues at the same time. Some links for consideration:
- Citizens Climate Lobby - I feel fortunate to have found a grass roots organization that supports a reasonable policy. Read up! Specifically review the "REMI study" - a 3rd party review of policy impact on the economy from a reputable analysis organization, and the news is good even just based on jobs and GDP. Environmental benefits are merely an existentially important added bonus.
- Miracle of miracles, decent bills with bi-partisan sponsorship(!) were introduced in both house and senate late in 2018, largely following the CCL policy recommendation: Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act -H.R.7173 and S. 3791 - "To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations." Learn more at: https://energyinnovationact.org/ The expectation is that both bills will be re-introduced in 2019.
- Climate Leadership Council - James Baker and George Shultz participate in this initiative. They are among the best elder statesmen remaining to the Republican Party and informed my own early political thought when I reached voting age. I feel honored to share their company on this topic.
- In Colorado when circumstances allow.
An Unusual Dairy Farm
UT Austin Pickle Research Campus
An oldie but goody from 2012
Mix Lake near Platoro, Colorado