A persistent skills gap plagues employers in all major industries, spurring the creation of SAS Analytics U, a program for developing the next generation of analytical talent. But we know the skills gap can mean different things to different people. This series features interviews with those who employ, possess, and educate analytics talent.
In this third piece in the series, we hear from academic Tao Hong, who leads the Energy Analytics Research Laboratory within the Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. SAS (this site's sponsor) recently gave EPIC a research and software grant, including energy forecasting technologies, to boost the analytics talent pipeline in energy and utilities. (See Investing in a Future of Analytics & Energy.)
Hong devotes his career to doing the same, having made a bold choice to do so. "I quit the best employer to work for," said Hong, chuckling, in an interview shared with All Analytics by Trent Smith, a government and education specialist at SAS. Hong, who formerly led SAS's energy forecasting practice, said he saw the skills gap in the energy industry and believed it would continue to grow to a crisis.
"At SAS, I felt I was making great contributions to the industry today. Nevertheless, I wanted to tackle a bigger challenge, the workforce crisis of the next decade, by producing the talent the industry needed," he said.
Hong also is the Graduate Program Director of the Systems Engineering and Engineering Management Department at UNC Charlotte, managing a Master of Science in Engineering Management (MSEM) program and four graduate certificate programs there. The MSEM program has a concentration in Energy Systems, while one of the graduate certificates is on Energy Analytics. Both programs produce graduates with analytical skills tailored to the unique needs of power and utilities companies.
Next Page: Tao Hong: An Academic's Perspective