Constellation Energy executive James L. Connaughton, former U.S. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, and Invenergy founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael Polsky have been appointed as the newest members of the UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors.
Prospective board members are recommended by a nominating committee of the Board and appointed by University President Robert J. Zimmer, who also serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of UChicago Argonne LLC, which manages Argonne National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
Connaughton, Dorgan and Polsky will serve three-year terms as members of the Board of Governors, which consists of more than two dozen academic, business and public leaders.
“Argonne plays a key role in the nation’s scientific and technological advancement which underlies our competitiveness in the global economy,” Zimmer said. “The Board plays an essential role in the University of Chicago’s management of the Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, and we will benefit greatly from the knowledge, insight, and perspective that these three distinguished individuals will bring to the board.”
Said Argonne Director Eric D. Isaacs: “Sen. Dorgan, Michael Polsky and James L. Connaughton bring extraordinary depth of expertise and leadership in energy technology and policy to the UChicago Argonne, LLC Board of Governors. They will provide important guidance to Argonne as we continue to do innovative science and develop new technologies to reduce our energy usage, improve our energy security and protect our environment.”
Connaughton is executive vice president, corporate affairs and public and environmental policy at Constellation Energy. He leads a comprehensive public and environmental policy and innovation agenda at the company, which serves tens of thousands of commercial and industrial businesses across the country, operates one of the lowest-emitting merchant power generation fleets, and advances sustainable development with a growing portfolio of renewable energy, energy-efficiency and energy management technologies and services.
Before joining Constellation Energy in 2009, Connaughton served as chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2009. In this capacity, he served on President Bush’s senior staff as senior environment, energy and natural resources adviser, and as director of the White House Office of Environmental Policy.
During this period Connaughton worked closely with the president, his Cabinet and Congress to develop and implement climate change, air pollution and energy security policies. Internationally, he helped establish a broad series of technology initiatives, the public-private Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change, and the Major Economic Leaders Meetings on Energy and Climate, for which Connaughton served as the president’s personal representative.
Connaughton previously had been a partner in the environmental law practice group at the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP. A native of Maryland, Connaughton is a graduate of Yale University and Northwestern University School of Law.
Dorgan served as a congressman and U.S. senator for North Dakota for 30 years before retiring from the Senate in 2011. He served in the Senate for 18 years and was a member of Senate leadership for 16 years, first as assistant Democratic floor leader and then as chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. He served on Senate committees for Energy, Commerce, and Appropriations and was chairman of Indian Affairs. Dorgan also was chairman of Senate subcommittees on Energy and Water Appropriations, and Aviation.
While in the Senate, Dorgan’s extensive work on transmission issues included principal authorship of the transmission title of the energy bill passed by the Senate Energy Committee in 2009.
Dorgan is the author of two books: The first, Take This Job and Ship It, was a New York Times best-seller; the second, Reckless…How Debt Deregulation and Dark Money Nearly Bankrupted America (And How We Can Fix It), was released in 2009.
Dorgan works part time as a senior policy adviser at the Washington, D.C., law firm Arent Fox. He also is a visiting professor at two universities, lecturing on energy, economic policy and political affairs. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and his master’s degree from the University of Denver.
Polsky, a member of the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees, is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Invenergy. Invenergy is a leading clean energy company that develops, owns and operates power generation facilities in North America and Europe. It is North America’s largest independent wind power generation company.
In 1991 Polsky had founded SkyGen Energy, which was purchased by Calpine Corporation in 2000. Previously, Polsky co-founded and served as president of Indeck Energy Services Inc., where he led the development and financing of one of the first portfolios of independent power-generating assets.
At Argonne, located just outside Chicago, world-renowned scientists and engineers conduct mission-driven fundamental and applied research that addresses top priorities in energy, environment, technology and national security. One of the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest multidisciplinary research centers, Argonne has an annual operating budget of $695 million and employs more than 3,000 people.