U.S. Department of Energy – Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Office
Room 5F-065, MS EE-5A
1000 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dr. Steven McKnight, Director
Dr. Steve McKnight is the Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO). Dr. McKnight leads each office’s strategy, management, and execution to advance materials and manufacturing technologies and dramatically reduce industrial emissions. Dr. McKnight has more than 25 years of leadership and research experience in government, academia, and the nonprofit sector.
He previously served as the Vice President for Strategic Alliances at Virginia Tech where he advanced strategic partnerships and oversaw executive-level engagement with federal agencies, research sponsors, and labs. Before joining Virginia Tech, Steve spent five years at the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he served as the Deputy Assistant Director of Directorate for Engineering and the Division Director for Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation. Steve also spent 13 years at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
Steve holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Delaware and a B.S. in Materials Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is also a professor of biomechanical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech’s Macromolecular and Interfaces Institute and Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science.
Dr. Diana Bauer, Deputy Director and Energy Technology Manufacturing and Workforce Program Manager (Acting)
Dr. Diana Bauer is the Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO). Dr. Bauer helps lead the strategic direction and execution of AMMTO’s funding to advance energy-related materials and manufacturing technologies to increase domestic competitiveness and build a clean, decarbonized economy.
Dr. Bauer has departmental and interagency leadership roles in energy storage and critical materials. Before joining AMMTO, Diana directed the Office of Energy Systems Integration Analysis within the Department’s Office of Policy, where she and her staff looked at the connection between energy and other systems. She was the lead author of The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities in 2014. Also, in the policy office, she led the drafting of DOE’s 2010 and 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reports.
Before coming to DOE, Diana led the extramural sustainability research program at the Environmental Protection Agency, which focused on green engineering, green chemistry, green buildings, and transportation systems.
She has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a concentration in green design and manufacturing from the University of California, Berkeley.
Kathryn Peretti, Secure and Sustainable Materials Program Manager
Kate Peretti is the Program Manager the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) Secure and Sustainable Materials subprogram. Prior to this, she was the Program Manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) Consortia pillar. She came to AMO as a AAAS Science and Technology Fellow in 2018, where she worked primarily on projects funded through the Rapid Advancement of Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute on process intensification and modularization. Her portfolio includes material sustainability where she works on material recyclability, particularly of plastics, and topics related to the circular economy.
Prior to arriving at DOE, she spent a decade in industry where she worked in chemicals research as a lab supervisor and product manager.
She graduated with a BA in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and earned her PhD in Organic Chemistry from Cornell in 2007.
Huijuan Dai, Next Generation Materials and Processes Program Manager
Dr. Huijuan Dai works as Program Manager for the Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) Next Generation Materials and Process subprogram. Her portfolio includes smart manufacturing, cyber security for manufacturing, additive manufacturing, composites, highly conductive materials, and materials for harsh service conditions.
Before joining DOE, Huijuan spent more than 15 years working on industry research and technology development across aerospace, space, energy, and oil and gas industries. She also has more than 10 years of experience in program and team management, leading multidisciplinary teams from idea generation to new technology introduction. Previously, Huijuan was the Additive Program Manager and then Senior Engineering Manager at GE Renewable Energy. She also has served as a Lead Research Engineer at GE Global Research.
Huijuan graduated with B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology, China and earned her PhD in Materials Science from the University of Leicester, UK. She is also currently an MBA candidate at the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Christopher Hovanec – Sr. Supply Chain Analyst (On Detail)
Dr. Hovanec is a Technology Manager in the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) at the United States Department of Energy, currently on detail as its Senior Supply Chain Strategist. In this role, Christopher is responsible for technical oversight of a portfolio that incudes topics such as additive manufacturing, hybrid manufacturing, materials for harsh service conditions, and the advanced processing of metals. Christopher’s technical work aligns to the AMMTO Next Generation Materials and Processes (NGMP) program area and strategic crosscutting initiatives.
Prior to joining the DOE, Dr. Hovanec served as a Materials Engineer at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). While at the NRC he performed technical evaluations related to material performance/degradation and represented the NRC at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At NAVAIR, Dr. Hovanec was empowered as a subject matter expert with Flight Clearance signature authority for the performance and processing of metallic materials. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Drexel University as a member of the Mechanics of Microstructure Research Group.
Kristen McDaniel, Program Manager for Technical Projects
Kristen McDaniel works as the Program Manager for the Technical Projects team. In this role, Kristen is responsible for the execution of AMMTO's activities through the Golden Field Office, including the competitive solicitation process and active project management of the research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) award portfolio. She also manages the AMMTO Technical Project Officers team. Prior to this, Kristen worked as a Technical Project Officer within AMMTO and its predecessor office, AMO. She also served as a technical contractor for several years within DOE.
Her portfolio/scope/area of expertise includes project management for RDD&D awards in innovative clean energy technologies, including AMMTO’s Manufacturing USA Institutes. She focuses on opportunities for collaboration and process improvement across AMMTO’s portfolio of active projects.
Before joining DOE, Kristen worked as an engineer and project manager for diverse industries, from oil and gas to nonprofit community development.
Kristen has a BS in Civil Engineering from Cornell University and a MS in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Brandi Panbach, Operations Supervisor (Acting)
Brandi Panbach is the acting AMMTO Operations Supervisor, on detail from the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office. She oversees the offices’ budget formulation and execution, human relations, operations, communications, and legislative affairs functions. She was previously the Operations Manager of AMO and IEDO overseeing the same mission space. She has over ten years of program management, project management, and consulting experience in the energy field. In her previous role at DOE FEMP, she was the program lead for ESPC project facilitation services and life of contract services where she led the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at federal sites. She previously analyzed facility energy issues and determined appropriate investment strategies for energy projects for the Navy. Prior to that she provided technical guidance, performed project review, and developed program implementation processes for a utility demand side management program for industrial and commercial clients. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Oberlin College, a M.B.A. from California Polytechnic State University, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
Matherly Gainer, Communications Lead (Acting)
Mattie Gainer is the Strategic Communications lead for the Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO). She is also the acting Strategic Communications Lead for the Advanced Materials and strategy. Her work includes written and visual storytelling to help translate technical information to a wide range of audiences on subjects spanning IEDO’s portfolio.
Before joining IEDO, Mattie spent the last decade leading strategic engagement efforts for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. Most recently, Mattie worked as Senior Programs and Communications Manager at the National Archives Foundation.
Mattie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Elon University in Strategic Communications and Political Science in 2015.