September 9, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:



Please join ASME Government Relations for our Sept. 15th webinar (1:00pm-2:00pm EST) which will feature two ASME Foundation Swanson Fellows who will provide an update on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program, the network of manufacturing innovation institutes, the Strategic Plan, institute partnerships, current and future opportunities and highlights of their Fellowships!

Guest Speakers:

  • Lester Su, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and the Chair of the ASME Committee on Government Relations. He was an ASME Congressional Fellow in 2000-2001 and has remained involved with ASME’s policy activities since that time. Lester’s technical interests are in energy systems, fluid mechanics, and combustion, while his policy interests center on federal research funding, STEM education, and workforce development issues.
  • Shreyes Melkote, Ph.D. recently completed his term as a 2015-2016 ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow serving in the Interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As Assistant Director for Technology at the AMNPO, Dr. Melkote participated in various activities of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program. Dr. Melkote works at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, where he holds the Morris M. Bryan Jr. Professorship in Mechanical Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing Systems. His teaching and research interests are in manufacturing processes with a focus on precision machining, low-cost sensors for process monitoring, and photovoltaic manufacturing.
  • Dr. Frank Pfefferkorn was also a 2015-2016 ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow serving at AMNPO. He was the point of contact in AMNPO for the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC) Subcommittee on Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) and MForesight: the Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NIST. Dr. Pfefferkorn was also the main point of contact for the project to craft a new identity for the NNMI Program and helped craft the messaging for the program’s participating in the Hannover Messe 2016 and IMTS 2016 in Chicago, IL.  He also helped AMNPO draft two Congressionally mandated reports: the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) Program Annual Report and NNMI Program Strategic Plan.  Dr. Pfefferkorn is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The NNMI is the U.S. Federal Government program for coordinating public and private investments to improve the competitiveness and productivity of U.S. manufacturing through the creation of a robust network of manufacturing innovation institutes, each focused on a specific and promising advanced manufacturing technology area. The NNMI Program advances American manufacturing innovation by creating an effective research and development, technology transition, workforce training and education outreach infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant manufacturing problems.

The vision of the NNMI Program is a network of institutes that bring U.S. industry, academia, and government together to solve pre-competitive cross-sector manufacturing challenges that an individual entity cannot solve alone. Currently, there are nine manufacturing innovation institutes. These nine institutes are, in chronological order:

  • America Makes: The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (additive manufacturing/3D printing), August 2012.
  • DMDII: Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (digital manufacturing and design), February 2014.
  • LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (lightweight metals manufacturing), February 2014.
  • PowerAmerica: The Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (wide bandgap power electronics manufacturing), December 2014.
  • IACMI: Institute of Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (fiber-reinforced polymer composites), June 2015.
  • AIM Photonics: American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (integrated photonics manufacturing), July 2015.
  • NextFlex: America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute (thin flexible electronic devices and sensors), August 2015.
  • AFFOA: Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (advanced fibers and textiles), April 2016.
  • Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing: Advanced Sensors, Controls, Platforms and Modeling for Manufacturing (selection announced June 2016)

The institutes, each led by manufacturing experts renowned in their field, have attracted nearly 1,000 companies, universities and nonprofits as members. The federal government’s commitment of more than $600 million to the nine institutes has been matched by more than $1.2 billion in non-federal resources from across industry, academia and state governments. 

In addition to the institutes listed above, five competitions are running to create manufacturing hubs, with a national impact, in the areas of robotics for manufacturing, biofabrication of cells and tissues, chemical process intensification, revolutionizing the ways materials can be reused and recycled, and the first open topic competition in which the proposing team picks the focus of a new institute.  Nearly $800 million in combined federal and non-federal resources will be invested in these institutes to support the development and dissemination of transformative manufacturing technologies. These new institutes will be sponsored by the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Energy (DOE). Throughout its growth, the network will continue to be guided by both its public and private members, and the federal agencies with interests in manufacturing, including the DOE, the DoD, the DOC, the Department of Education (ED), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

While significant progress has been made, the grand challenge for the US to achieve global leadership is to establish 45 institutes over the next decade.

ASME Members and Non-Members can register online at: Additional information will be posted on the PPEC at

Apply for a 2017-2018 ASME Congressional Fellowship!

Applications will be September 9, 2016 – January 31, 2017: Apply online at

Since 1973, ASME has sponsored the Congressional Fellowship program to provide an opportunity for Society members to work with the U.S. Congress. As federal legislation becomes increasingly technical, the need for engineering expertise is essential. Congressional fellows participate directly in the lawmaking process and learn how the federal government operates. In addition, Congress is provided with the necessary engineering expertise and, at the end of the fellowship year, a fellow's employer has an engineer with in-depth knowledge of congressional decision-making processes.

Once chosen as a congressional fellow, an ASME member selects his or her congressional assignment through interviews with congressional offices, with assistance from the ASME government relations staff, and with reference to ASME’s priority issues, which includes “Clean Energy.” Additional information on our public policy priorities is available at

Applicant Background
Applicants for this Fellowship must have a strong energy background. ASME has long supported a balanced portfolio of energy supplies to meet the nation's energy needs, including advanced clean coal, petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, waste-to-energy, biomass, solar, wind and hydroelectric power. ASME also supports energy efficient building and transportation technologies, as well as transmission and distribution infrastructure sufficient to satisfy demand under reasonably foreseeable contingencies. Only such a portfolio will allow the U.S. to maintain its quality of life while addressing future environmental and security challenges. Additional information is available in ASME's General Position Paper Entitled "Securing America's Energy Future" at

Recruitment and Training
Fellows may serve from January through December, or September through August, at their option. An ASME selection committee screens applications and will notify selected candidates in February or March of their interest in scheduling an interview. Interviews with final candidates will be convened in April. After the interviews, the selection committee may tentatively match finalists with available fellowship opportunities. Selected fellows will receive offers in late April or early May.

ASME Congressional Fellows are required to attend a two-week orientation course in Washington, DC, in September.  Paid for by ASME, but administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the course provides useful training and a foundation for a fellow's network that serves as both a formal and informal resource for participants throughout the fellowship year.

Financial Support of Federal Government Fellows
ASME has a limited number of stipends of $80,000 per congressional/federal government fellow. Because the stipend is not intended to be the fellow's entire financial support, the remaining salary and other costs, including benefits, must be negotiated between the fellow and his or her employer. Society members selected for congressional fellowships typically take a one-year leave of absence from their employer.

Who Should Apply
All Fellowship Applicants must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • ASME member at the time of application.

The following credentials are encouraged:

  • at least five years of professional experience;
  • advanced engineering degree;
  • professional engineer registration; and
  • public policy experience.

Apply online at
Program Guidelines

  • Sex, creed, race, ethnic background, and political affiliation are expressly excluded as selection criteria for fellows.
  • The fellowship does not create an employer-employee relationship with the government nor with ASME.
  • During the entire selection process, applicants shall only contact a prospective government host office with the knowledge and consent of the ASME program manager.
  • Except for the congressional fellows, final selection of the federal government fellows is conditional upon consent of the host government office where the fellow will be working during the fellowship year and successful completion of any necessary agreements between the host office and ASME.
  • The federal government fellow may receive a stipend of $80,000. The remaining salary, moving expenses, and all other costs (including fringe benefits) must be negotiated between the fellow and his or her current employer (if applicable).
  • ASME's financial liability to the federal government fellow does not exceed the amount of any expenses approved by the ASME program manager. No person or entity shall have any claim against ASME for any other expenses, nor for the actions of the fellows.
  • Federal government fellows shall be willing to make oral presentations and appearances at a reasonable number of ASME functions during their fellowship year. Travel expenses for such activities will be paid by ASME. Any travel must be approved in advance by the ASME program manager.
  • Fellows are responsible for all out-of-pocket costs once they begin work in Washington; any costs they anticipate for which they wish ASME reimbursement must be approved by the ASME program manager
  • Fellows must attend an orientation program in Washington, D.C., preceding the fellowship; his or her employer must be prepared to give the fellow this time off. The orientation program is paid by ASME.
  • Fellows must submit monthly activity reports to the ASME program manager.
  • Fellows must comply with ASME policy on conflict of interest. In addition, White House fellows must comply with executive branch policies regarding conflict of interest and financial disclosure.
  • Fellows shall not discredit the integrity of the assistance rendered to the Congress, White House, or other government office by permitting improper influence by any organization nor by action that would suggest such influence. Fellows must not engage in any partisan political activities during the term of appointment, including campaign activities.
  • In the event of malfeasance on the part of a fellow, as determined by the ASME Committee on Government Relations, the fellowship may be suspended immediately.
  • After they have completed their term, fellows will be asked to serve as adjunct members of the ASME Committee on Government Relations and encouraged to participate in the Society's public affairs activities.
  • Federal Employees may apply for an ASME Federal Government Fellowship.
  • ASME Federal Fellows are required to relocate to Washington D.C. for one year for their fellowship, and are responsible for researching members of Congress and finding their own fellowships, etc.

This ASME Congressional Fellowship is sponsored by ASME Government Relations, the ASME Foundation and the ASME Petroleum Division.

National Labs Advance Carbon Capture Tech

Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM) have developed a powerful new method to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Using a new silica-based membrane that is 10 times thinner than a soap bubble, researchers were able to efficiently capture CO2 from flue gas emissions.

CO2 from the approximately 600 coal-fired power plants emitted over a quarter of all the U.S. CO2 emissions in 2015. Counting emissions from natural gas plants, that figure reaches nearly 40 percent. Currently, commercial technologies used to capture plant emissions use expensive, amine-based liquids while also consuming approximately one third of the plant’s energy generated.

Sandia and UNM’s new CO2 Memzyme claims to be the first CO2 capture technology that could meet the Department of Energy’s (DOE) goal for a technology that captures 90 percent of CO2 emissions by 2025 while also being cost-effective. The CO2 Memzyme received its patent in early 2016 and is still at laboratory-scale performance.

To review the full press release, please visit:

National Science Foundation Provides Progress Update on Facility Management Reforms

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently provided a progress update on facilities management reform initiated by deficiencies uncovered at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which had millions in cost overruns as the construction advanced for a continental-scale network of data collection sites. 

In NSF’s August letter to the research community on facilities management reform, it referenced the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) December 2015 report entitled National Science Foundation: Use of Cooperative Agreements to Support Large Scale Investment in Research.

The report found that cooperative agreements (CAs) were the appropriate mechanism for NSF to support the design and construction of large-scale research facilities. Specifically, CAs allowed for substantial involvement of the federal agency since a critical success factor for these types of projects is project management discipline, along with the capacity and capability of a skilled workforce, to carry out and oversee project management responsibilities.

NSF has also moved forward with improvements of its internal business practices that are critical to the effective oversight of large facility projects, and has accomplished some of the NAPA recommendations. These recommendations fall within three general categories: Business Practices; Planning, Oversight and Accountability; and Project Management and provided status reports in each category.


For more information, visit:,4GM5G,E2AE8N,GGGJJ,1

109 Organizations Sign the Manufacturing Universities Grant Program Support Letter

ASME recently sent a letter signed by 109 nongovernmental organizations to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voicing support for the Manufacturing Universities Grant Program, which was included in the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The letter urged its recipients to support Section 214, The Manufacturing Universities Grant Program, of S. 2943, the Senate-passed bill, which would authorize the Defense Department to support industry-relevant, manufacturing-focused, engineering training at U.S. universities. Institutions would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and would be required to better align their educational offerings with the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.

Designated schools would receive federal grant funding to meet specific goals, including focusing engineering programs on the development of industry-relevant advanced manufacturing skills, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing hands-on training opportunities for students, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship. The program would be run by the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with other federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, The National Institute of Standards and Technology, The Department of Energy, and the Department of Education.

The House and Senate are expected to convene a conference committee to begin negotiations on a final bill in the coming months. ASME and its coalition partners will continue to work to build support for this provision on Capitol Hill for its inclusion in the final NDAA bill.

ASME would like to thank the numerous Mechanical Engineering Department Heads who offered their support for this letter, as well all the organizations, companies, and universities that signed on.

To view the letter and a list of organizations that have offered their support, please visit:

DOE Releases Report on Strategic Petroleum Reserve

The Department of Energy has released a new report reviewing the long-term strategy for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).  The congressionally-mandated study provides an overview of the SPR and addresses key challenges that will impact the Reserve’s ability to carry out its energy security mission.

As expanding North American crude oil production has substantially reduced waterborne imports into the United States and changed the flow of petroleum, numerous questions have arisen about the future of the SPR.  Areas examined in the report include:

  • The state of the SPR’s surface and subsurface infrastructure;
  • Bottlenecks in the North American midstream infrastructure that impact the SPR’s ability to move oil to the market;
  • Costs and benefits of SPR options;
  • SPR modernization requirements for infrastructure life extension and the addition of dedicated marine terminals; and
  • Issues with the SPR’s authorizing legislation, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).

Each of these areas are evaluated with consideration given to requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which mandate the sale of an estimated 124 million barrels of the SPR’s crude oil inventory and authorize the funding of an SPR modernization program through the sale of up to an additional $2 billion worth of oil.  The conclusion of the review will help inform decisions about the SPR going forward.

With an inventory of approximately 700 million barrels, the SPR remains the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil. The federally-owned oil stocks are stored in underground salt caverns along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The full report has been transmitted to Congress and may be found here:

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036