Professional Experience

Submitted by cvining on

Professional Positions

1995-present              President and founder, ZT Services

Information and consulting services to the energy conversion industry.  Clients include Global 500 companies (Honda, Whirlpool), venture capitalists (Carl Berg, Dawson Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), thermoelectric manufacturing firms (Marlow, Melcor, Tellurex), federal agencies (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Ames Laboratory USDoE, NASA/Glenn, NASA/JPL, NASA/HQ), and a variety of other clients (BSST, Tecumseh).  ZT Services also provides web and internet services for the International Thermoelectric Society (, and a number of commercial clients.

1999-2003               Affiliate Professor of Physics, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama

Collaborations with Prof. Peter Barnes's group on thermionic and thermoelectric projects, resulting in several papers (written primarily by graduate students).  Served on advisory committees for one Masters and two Ph.D. students.

1995                        Guest Lecturer, Various Universities, Companies and National Laboratories in Japan (January).

1994-2004               Research Advisor, Ames Laboratory USDoE, Ames,  Iowa.

Theoretical and experimental development of new thermoelectric materials.  Emphasis on novel materials systems such as heavy fermions and metals, not traditionally associated with high thermoelectric performance.

1994                        Consultant to Dawson Ventures, Inc., San Jose, California

Evaluation of the technical and business potential of novel, high-risk/high-payoff energy conversion technologies.

1990-1991               Consultant to Marlow Industries, Dallas, Texas

Concepts, approaches and program plans for the development of advanced thermoelectric cooling materials capable of achieving cryogenic temperatures with efficiencies comparable to dynamic cooling technologies.

1987-1994               Member of Technical Staff

Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, California, Thermal Power Conversion Group

Theoretical and experimental development of thermoelectric materials for advanced space power applications, with special emphasis on theoretical aspects of thermoelectric energy conversion and development of advanced thermoelectric materials.  Task Manager for 4-5 tasks related to silicon-germanium, boron carbide and rare-earth chalcogenide thermoelectric materials, ($500K/year) 1988-89.  Task Manager for advanced thermoelectric materials development, with emphasis on transition-metal silicides, ($200K-$250K/year) 1990-93.  Task Manager for a JPL Technology Affiliates Program sponsored by Marlow Industries to transfer JPL developed thermoelectric technology based on skutterudite thermoelectric materials to Marlow Industries, ($350K/year) 1993-94.  Proposal Manager for a three year program on the basic physics and chemistry of skutterudite thermoelectric materials sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, awarded in 1994 ($250K/year).

1984-1987               Senior Physicist

General Electric Company, Valley Forge Space Center, Thermoelectric Technology Group, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Transport properties of semiconductors for high temperature thermal to electrical energy conversion applications.

Design and implementation of a complete high temperature thermoelectric materials preparation  and characterization facility suitable for research and development of state-of-the-art thermoelectric materials to be used in space nuclear power generation systems.  This facility included induction and resistance melting, vacuum casting, pressure sintering, inert atmosphere handling capabilities as well as thermal diffusivity, thermal conductivity, electrical resistivity, Seebeck coefficient, Hall Effect, Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and X‑ray diffraction measurement capabilities, most of which could be performed from 300 to 1300 K.  $750,000 value.

Program manager for internal General Electric R&D programs on thermoelectric materials (1984-$100,000; 1985-$160,000; 1986-$40,000).  Program manager for NASA‑JPL rare-earth chalcogenide development programs at General Electric (1984-1985-$130,000). Program manager for subcontract to Thermo Electron Corporation on SiGe/GaP alloy development (1986‑$100,000).  Project leader and principle investigator for DOE sponsored Improved Thermoelectric Materials Development program, $2,700,000 over 3 years.

Responsible for the daily direction of one Ph.D., two engineers and three technicians.