Charles D. McConnell is executive director of Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort to partner with industry and external stakeholders to create a reliable and affordable energy platform. He joined Rice in August 2013 after serving two years as the assistant secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining DOE, he served as vice president of carbon management at Battelle Energy Technology in Columbus, Ohio and had 32 years with Praxair, Inc. running global businesses. He holds a number of board positions in the energy market and has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1977) and an MBA in finance from Cleveland State University (1984).