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Staff Accomplishments

PNNL's Osman Ahmed Helms International Technology Management Organization

Early exposure to American ingenuity helps fuel a career focused on innovation

March 2018
Osman Ahmed

Osman Ahmed

The man who introduced Mustangs and K-cars to the American public also made a lasting impression on Osman Ahmed.

In 1979, Ahmed, who had just earned his bachelor’s degree from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, arrived in Canada with only a suitcase and $24. Among his early memories in North America: U.S. automotive icon Lee Iacocca talking about “Chrysler innovation.” Ahmed was inspired by Iaccoca’s message and became a self-described “student of innovation,” passionate about the value and benefits that breakthroughs in science and technology bring to the nation and world.

Ahmed’s passion for innovation has only grown over time and has become a hallmark of his career, well known by the peers who recently elected him president of the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT).

IAMOT focuses on helping research institutions, academia and industry understand the importance of technology management—that is, knowing when, where and how to invest in technology, both to enhance the viability of business and industry and to bring the benefits of technology to the public. The association advances technology management concepts through an annual conference that brings together experts from around the world. IAMOT also supports curriculum development in colleges and universities.

“I am honored to be selected to lead IAMOT for the next year,” Ahmed says, noting that one of his goals will be to develop a strategy and vision that strengthen the association and maintain IAMOT’s visibility as an international leader in promoting the tenets of effective technology management. “This organization started in 1992 as a primarily U.S.-focused entity, but has become global, with participants from more than 50 countries,” Ahmed says.

Within IAMOT, Ahmed is recognized for his expertise in an emerging discipline, digitalization. Digitalization is broadly defined as creation of exceptional business or non-monetary value driven by data. Essentially, digitalization pertains to today’s rapid deployment of IOT (Internet of Things) technologies and associated advances in connectivity, which are yielding abundant and affordable data. IOT allows convergence of multiple elements—sensing, processing, wireless communication, and efficient power management—all integrated in a single silicon chip. Data availability is a key to unlocking breakthroughs in machine learning, artificial intelligence and other areas, and ultimately bringing revolutionary progress to a wide range of fields.

“At PNNL, we’re looking at what digitalization means for DOE’s national mission, for the national interest,” Ahmed says. “We want to understand how we can apply this digital future for DOE, how we can leverage and take advantage of this phenomenon to impact the entire energy value chain, from exploration to consumption, and bring about efficiencies. We’re in the early stages of understanding digitalization. It could have a substantial positive impact on the nation, companies and consumers.”

Ahmed came to PNNL in 2016, following nearly three decades at Siemens, where he held a number of technology leadership roles, including vice president of the Siemens Center of Excellence in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, which provided a living laboratory for smart grid, smart building and smart consumption concepts. Masdar City is the world’s first carbon neutral municipality.

Ahmed is a prolific, award-winning inventor who holds more than 42 patents (55 additional inventions are in patent application or disclosure stages). In addition to his bachelor’s degree, he earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Windsor (Canada) and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ahmed currently serves as a Principal Technical Advisor in the Optimization and Control Group in PNNL’s Energy and Environment Directorate.

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