LSU Selects Brad Ives to Lead LSU Institute for Energy Innovation

August 30, 2023

Brand Ives

Brad Ives describes the ongoing energy transition as the greatest transformation in the history of mankind: “Never has humanity been asked to make such a rapid and revolutionary change, and working with LSU is the best opportunity I have to make a big impact.”

Ives will join LSU in October from North Carolina’s Catawba College, which became the first certified carbon-neutral college in the Southeast U.S. under his leadership.

Bradley “Brad” Ives brings a rare combination of experience in industry, government and academia. As assistant secretary for natural resources in North Carolina between 2013 and 2015, he drafted and negotiated the state’s wind farm legislation, leading to the creation of its first wind farm. About 30 years earlier, he helped write Shell Chemicals’ mission statement while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in political science and later his law degree at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

“LSU is taking the lead to propel Louisiana’s positioning in the energy transition, ensuring that our state’s economy and job market remain strong during this critical period,” said LSU President William F. Tate. “Securing Brad as the leader of our Institute for Energy Innovation enhances our ability to make real progress in an area integral to our Scholarship First Agenda.”

Ives is equally excited to take the helm.

“Coming to LSU and seeing how serious people are about energy transition, seeing how serious Shell is, it’s just the perfect place to make an impact,” Ives said. “Baton Rouge is at the nexus of oil and gas and chemical plants, so talent is already here. Knowledge is here.”

Ives’ experience working with traditional oil and gas companies on emerging energy technologies supports a successful transition to lower-carbon sources of energy across the Gulf Coast.

“Whether it’s pipelines or working offshore or refining; we still need the same expertise to transport and sequester carbon dioxide, produce hydrogen, build wind farms and refine biofuels—it’s the same type of job, same type of people,” Ives said. “It’s just the source that is different, and we have to pivot. The bipartisan infrastructure law, the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are bringing huge economic opportunities to Louisiana. To be a winner, we must develop the energy jobs of the future.”

The LSU Institute for Energy Innovation was established last year through a historic $25 million investment from Shell focused on advancing reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy. The institute coordinates LSU’s research and development, service and outreach efforts related to the energy transition and serves as a single access point to the university’s energy resources for Louisiana industry, government and communities.

Ives’ appointment is the latest milestone in LSU’s progress toward achieving the ambitious aims of its Scholarship First Agenda, which includes energy talent and technology development as one of five main priorities.

“LSU is positioned again to lead the technology and community development associated with expanding the energy economy of Louisiana,” said Robert Twilley, vice president of research and economic development. “Brad brings unique experience in government, university and private sector positions. This experience will help him guide LSU’s partnerships with industry and communities to safely transition to new energy production opportunities.”

In his new role, Ives replaces Interim Director Rhoman Hardy, former Shell Senior Vice President for Gulf Coast Chemicals and Products. Hardy will remain on the advisory board for the institute and looks forward to working with Ives.

“I am very excited to welcome Brad Ives to Baton Rouge and the role as director,” Hardy said. “Brad’s experience and passion will be a great asset in both delivering on the mission of the institute and supporting and growing the energy economy in Louisiana. His background will be critical to continue the positive trajectory of energy-related studies at LSU and attract public and private funding in support of LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda.”

Since the announcement of LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda last year, the university has made significant strides in energy innovation in close collaboration with state and regional partners. LSU is now a finalist for one of five $160-million National Science Foundation grants to build a regional innovation engine—the largest award in NSF history—where LSU’s focus is on accelerating Louisiana’s energy transition. The university also partnered with GNO, Inc. to leverage $6 million in Economic Development Administration funding for H2theFuture, a large-scale effort to decarbonize South Louisiana’s industrial corridor by increasing the production and use of hydrogen. In addition, the LSU Center for Energy Studies received a $3.2-million award  from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to estimate methane emissions from orphaned and idle oil and gas wells, while the university also leads a $4.9-million feasibility study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy on how to build a direct air capture hub in Louisiana.

All of these efforts rely on combined expertise in research and talent development, industry and community engagement, economics and policy—areas in which Ives has long-standing experience. He worked for many years in law, finance, renewables and state government before serving as the chief sustainability officer, as well as in other capacities, for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. There, he advanced the university’s Three Zeroes commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, zero waste and net-zero water use, enabling it to reach the number-one rank for sustainability and environmental performance in the U.S. After a change in leadership, Ives then transitioned to Catawba College.

“Coming to LSU seems like the culmination of so many different things that I’ve done,” Ives said. “Ever since I worked on a landfill gas project to power ExxonMobil’s polyolefins chemical plant near Baton Rouge in 2008, which had the equivalent environmental impact of removing 59,000 cars from the roads or planting approximately 79,000 acres of pine forest, I’ve been looking for opportunities for impact at scale. From the minute I read the job description, I knew LSU offered the best opportunity I’ll perhaps ever have to work with major oil and gas and chemical companies on solutions that can benefit all people, and both preserve and create jobs.”

“Louisiana has been a long-time leader in creating the energy that powers our progress as a society, and the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation was established to ensure that this leadership continues as we build the future of energy for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast,” said Lee Stockwell, general manager of Shell’s U.S. Carbon Capture and Storage business. “Brad brings the enthusiasm, dedication and experience needed for LSU and Louisiana to thrive through the energy transition, and we are excited to be working with him on the journey.”