Serving as FBRI Project Manager, Dwane oversees the administrative functions for FBRI, coordinates project work for FBRI’s technical staff, and works with the Executive Director in planning for FBRI. In general the function of the project manager is to make sure that day to day FBRI operations continue safely, efficiently, and meet the needs of the principal researchers.
After earning his B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas, Dwane worked with several pulp and paper producers, and one chemical company before joining the University of Maine Process Development Center as Group Leader, Pulping. During his career, Dwane has worked as a process engineer, process control engineer, research scientist, research group manager, and marketing engineer.
When Dwane joined FBRI in 2008, the support staff consisted of an administrative assistant, one research associate, and one analytical chemist. Since then Dwane has been instrumental in expanding the staff to its current level of seven professionals: an Analytical Group Leader, one Analytical Scientist, a Process Research Group Leader, and four Process Research Scientists. The current staff provides a base level of expertise to support PIs, post docs, and students for continuity of expertise. Before the staff was brought to its current level, whenever post docs and graduate students completed their terms, some expertise was invariably lost. With the current permanent staff, we are better preserving our in-house expertise. FBRI staff members coach new post docs and graduate students regarding previous research and basic techniques so that they are more efficient with their research. Additionally, FBRI staff supports researchers when special skills are required.
In 2008, office space and lab space were limited and shared. After the lease agreement with Old Town Fuel and Fiber was signed, we began work on additional office and pilot plant space. For most of the past 2 years, Dwane has been immersed in the design, construction, and occupation of both the on campus FBRI offices and the off campus Technology Research Center (TRC). With the completion of these additions, FBRI now has adequate space and equipment for current needs with room to grow. As part of this project, Dwane also helped with the purchase of almost $1,000,000 of new equipment for TRC. Purchase and installation of another $700,000 in new equipment is planned. With the start up of TRC, FBRI is now uniquely capable of taking new processes and products from the initial bench proof of concept to floor scale production. The ability to produce product in greater quantity allows for near production scale testing of products, and improves scale up design for commercial implementation.
For near term goals, Dwane hopes to continue improving the efficiency of the administrative systems; fine tune technical staffing and staff skills to better serve PIs with their research projects; and foster a more cohesive research program that provides a continual flow of new products and processes from conception to commercial implementation.
Please watch the following You Tube Video: