Areas of Focus
Valerie Thomas, professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been appointed to the Anderson-Interface Chair of Natural Systems. The Anderson-Interface Chair was created to enhance the Stewart School’s ability to attract and retain eminent teacher-scholars who provide academic leadership in the research area of natural systems, sustainability, energy, and climate. Prior to this appointment, Thomas held the Anderson-Interface Professorship in ISyE.
Thomas’ research focuses on energy and materials efficiency, sustainability, industrial ecology, technology assessment, international security, and science and technology policy. Current research projects include the environmental impacts of biofuels and electricity system development; assessment of renewable electricity options; and evaluation of alternative vehicle technologies.
“Congratulations to Valerie on this very well-deserved honor and recognition of her outstanding contributions to ISyE, Georgia Tech, and her field,” said ISyE School Chair Edwin Romeijn. “The additional funding will help further her current research on the environmental impacts of biofuels and electricity system development, which includes her recent work on energy development in Rwanda.”
“Ray C. Anderson saw natural systems as the touchstone for industry. He was a radical industrialist who believed and showed that it is possible to do business by respecting the Earth,” Thomas noted. “Inspired by Ray Anderson’s example, I will focus on higher profile projects that examine the role of land and forests in the combined systems of industry, energy, climate, nature, and people.”
Thomas is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society. From 2003-09, she was a member of the U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board, and from 2014-19, she was a member of the DOE/USDA Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory Committee.
Thomas has a joint appointment in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy. In 2018, she was honored with the Class of 1934 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Activities Award by Georgia Tech's Faculty Honors Committee. The award was established to recognize Georgia Tech faculty who have made significant interdisciplinary contributions to teaching and research.