Four staff members selected for prestigious U.S. Department of Energy leadership training programs

Written by
Jeanne Jackson DeVoe
Jan. 26, 2024

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) staff members to participate in three prestigious leadership training programs.

The selected staff members include Marc Cohen, deputy chief operating officer and chief information officer; Marc-André de Looz, a senior engineer; Dave Micheletti, director of major science and engineering projects; and Pia Wilson, procurement specialist and a senior buyer.

“We are proud to have our outstanding staff members chosen for these programs,” said Steve Cowley, PPPL director. “These are very selective programs, and these individuals are exceptional employees who will have the opportunity to learn and share best practices throughout our DOE national lab system.”

Marc Cohen

Cohen, who is also serving as interim head of human resources, was chosen to participate in the Building Executive Leaders of Tomorrow program. 

“I’m honored to be chosen for this program,” Cohen said, “and I’m looking forward to enhancing my skill set and doing my part to enhance the DOE enterprise.” 

Cohen has held numerous information technology positions at PPPL during his 20-year career at the Lab, including head of services management and deputy chief information officer before becoming chief information officer and deputy chief operating officer. Prior to joining PPPL, Cohen worked for New Jersey Cyber Coupons, where he was the lead web programmer and graphic artist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Drexel University.

Marc-André de Looz

De Looz was selected to attend the DOE’s Project Leadership Institute (PLI), which is offered through the Stanford Center for Professional Development at Stanford University and aimed at improving project management practices and “cultivating the next generation of project leaders.”

As the technical leader for the US ITER Diagnostics Toroidal Interferometer Polarimeter (TIP), de Looz is responsible for planning and constructing the diagnostic system, which will measure the electron density of the ITER plasma. De Looz joined PPPL in 2019. He previously worked for over a decade as a manager and independent contributor in the oil and gas industry. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.

De Looz said he is looking forward to modules of the course that include topics such as “Exercising Resiliency in Challenging and Stressful Scenarios.” “I am deeply honored to be a part of the 2024 PLI program and am excited to learn and ultimately apply that learning to helping us reach our bright future,” de Looz said.

Dave Micheletti

Micheletti joined PPPL in 2022 as project director of the NSTX-U Recovery Project, which is rebuilding key components of the NSTX-U. He was selected with Pia Wilson, a senior buyer, as a fellow of the Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program (OSELP).

Named for J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who headed the Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II (and the subject of the 2023 movie “Oppenheimer”), it is a leadership development program of the National Laboratory Directors’ Council. Fellows from various departments visit national laboratories, meet with national laboratory leaders and develop “strategic think pieces” focused on organizational, policy and system-level challenges facing the national laboratories in the year-long program. PPPL has participated in all but one year of the program since it began in 2017.

Micheletti has 20 years of experience as an engineering and project management executive. He spent the first 15 years of his career at ExxonMobil Corp. in Texas, Angola and Nigeria. He held a range of leadership positions in engineering, project management and strategic planning. After leaving the oil and gas industry, he worked in the renewable energy industry and held executive positions overseeing development and construction of large-scale renewable energy projects. Micheletti has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

“Being fairly new to the Lab, I was surprised and honored to be nominated for this,” Micheletti said. “It’s a great opportunity to share what we are doing at PPPL with the broader national laboratory complex and also to bring back best practices to improve the way we do things.”

Pia Wilson

Wilson, also an OSELP fellow, is a procurement specialist and senior buyer who has been at PPPL since 2019. She handles major procurements involving international companies for items like copper conductors for magnets for the NSTX-U. She also handles procurements for the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiments (FLARE), an experiment studying magnetic reconnection under construction at PPPL.

Before coming to PPPL, Wilson worked as a procurement specialist for New Jersey Transit, most recently as the manager of material purchasing rail procurement and support services. She earned an associate’s degree at Union County College, a bachelor’s degree in management from Rutgers University Business School and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in management from Saint Peter’s University. (You can read a longer profile of Wilson here.)

“I’m extremely happy to be part of this Oppenheimer program,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and learning from my colleagues at other national laboratories and sharing some of the experiences from PPPL with them.”

Previous PPPL participants in DOE leadership programs

Building Executive Leaders of Tomorrow

  • Jessica Guttenfelder, 2023

Project Leadership Institute

  • Elise Demoncheaux, 2023
  • Kenyon Petura, 2022
  • David Pryor, 2020
  • Emil Nassar, 2019
  • Carolyn Galayda, 2018
  • Stephen Langish, 2017

Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program

  • Andres Castaneda, 2023
  • Barbara Harrison, 2023
  • Ahmed Diallo, 2022
  • Francesca Poli, 2020-2021
  • Stuart Hudson, 2019
  • Michael Jaworski, 2017
  • Howard Yuh, 2017
  • Tim Meyer (then at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory), 2017
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