Thomas E. Drennen, Professor of Economics and Chair of the Environmental Studies Department and Entrepreneurial Studies Program, was recognized this fall with the Senior Fellow Award from the United States Association for Energy Economics, a nonprofit group of leaders in academia, business and government who share an interest in the field.
“The USAEE Senior Fellow Award is given to individuals who have exemplified distinguished service in the field of energy economics and/or the USAEE. In Tom’s case, both criteria apply,” says James L. Smith, past president of USAEE and the organization’s awards committee chair. “We value and honor his scholarly achievements in teaching and research as well as the important contributions that he has made to the success of our Annual Conference in recent years. In particular, Tom deserves great credit for organizing engaging conference themes and programs that recognize and examine the broad range of energy issues that confront modern society. Tom’s leadership in this area has helped to expand the focus of USAEE to include many new energy sources and technologies, and their impact on society.”
As a USAEE Senior Fellow, Drennen joins “a highly distinguished group that includes academic scholars as well as energy economists working in the business community and government. Relative to the thousands of energy economists who have been plowing the fields all these years, this is indeed an exclusive group,” says Smith.
The author of the book Pathways to a Hydrogen Future, as well as dozens of articles, Drennen holds a Ph.D. in resource economics from Cornell University, a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As a senior economist for Sandia National Laboratories, Drennen developed several techno-economic models, including the Alternative Liquid Fuels Simulation (ALTSim) Biofuels Model. The high-level dynamic simulation model examines the economic and environmental tradeoffs of alternative fuels including corn, ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, soy-based biodiesel, and diesels derived from natural gas and coal.
At HWS, where he has helped lead campus sustainability efforts, Drennen teaches a number of courses challenging students to consider the relationships between energy, the environment and the economy. As chair of the Entrepreneurial Studies Program since 2015, he heads the Colleges’ newest and fastest growing academic program as it connects students not only with classroom and off-campus learning experiences, but incubator business space, programmatic support and mentor participation from HWS graduates, parents and HWS Trustees.
Drennen joined the HWS faculty in 1995. In 2006, he received the Hobart and William Smith Excellence in Teaching Award.