Former CIA director opens thematic year for Iowa State engineering institute

AMES, Iowa -- A former director of the CIA will officially open the Engineering Policy and Leadership Institute's first thematic year, "Energy Security and Sustainability."

R. James Woolsey -- a venture partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners of San Bruno, Calif., and CIA director from 1993 to 1995 -- will present "Energy and its Relationship to National Security" from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in the Alliant Energy-Lee Liu Auditorium of Iowa State University's Howe Hall.

Woolsey's presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion that will include David Morris, vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and Robert C. Brown, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Iowa State's Bioeconomy Institute. David Yepsen, political columnist for The Des Moines Register, will moderate the discussion.

The Engineering Policy and Leadership Institute (EPLI) was created through Iowa State's College of Engineering to provide opportunities for engineers to become more involved in policymaking at a national level. EPLI also teaches leadership skills to engineering students and promotes the importance of engagement in public policy issues.

The opening event, which will include an introduction by Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy, marks the first in a monthly series of presentations and moderated roundtable discussions that will cover energy and its relationship to national security, politics, conservation, supply and demand, economic prosperity, alternative energy and agriculture. The thematic year will conclude with a capstone summit in fall 2009.

The objective of each thematic year is to provide lawmakers and other constituencies with "thoughtful, well-articulated information that can help them in policymaking decisions," says EPLI Director Ed Jaselskis, the professor-in-charge of Iowa State's construction engineering program.

Woolsey also chairs the Strategic Advisory Group of the Washington, D.C., private equity fund, Paladin Capital Group. He is a senior executive adviser to the consulting firm of Booz Allen Hamilton. Woolsey serves as "of counsel" to the Washington, D.C., office of the Boston-based law firm Goodwin Procter. In the above capacities he specializes in a range of alternative energy and security issues. Woolsey previously served in the U.S. government on five different occasions, holding presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations.