MCCC welcomes new alternative energy professor

Next fall, MCCC plans to add classes that focus on the growing industry of alternative energies.

New professor Clifton Brown has been recruited to lead the way.

“The solar industry is exploding,” Brown said.

Brown holds both a bachelor’s degree in electronics and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University.

After college, he was employed as a civilian contractor for the military, doing “security-related stuff,” for the National Command Control networks.

Later, Brown went on to work on all types of projects, including a stint as a developer for the DNA gene scanners used for the Human Genome Project.

“The companies I have been involved in have always been doing the weird, oddball, bleeding-edge stuff. Not the cutting-edge, the bleeding-edge,” Brown said.

He also holds a patent for a humidity sensor that is used along with other technologies to predict weather conditions that are conducive to fungi and other organisms that threaten farmers’ crops.

For the last two years, Brown has been instructing classes at Lansing Community College that are similar to the alternative energy courses he plans to set up for the 2011 fall semester at MCCC.

“I bring the hands-on, this is how you do it, this is how you break it, this is how you fix it approach that a lot of academics don’t have,” Brown said.

“I make smoke in the classroom.”

First, Brown plans to start introductory courses on alternative energy systems, solar power, and wind power.

He then plans to phase in classes that are more specific to areas such as hydroelectric energy, hydrogen/biofuels, energy management, and possibly residential energy efficiency.

Brown said he hopes to bring these classes together into an associates degree that may be dubbed, “Energy Management.”

He also said he will be talking with area universities to ensure that his classes will transfer to four-year degree programs in respective areas of study.

He noted that these classes also count toward industry certifications and apprenticeships, and would also be useful to business owners, home owners, and tradesmen looking to improve their employability.

According to Brown, there are an increasing number of jobs, not only in the construction and maintenance of alternative technologies, but in their sales and inspection.

He said there may be a huge increase in these types of jobs right here in Michigan due to the Great Lakes’ wind and water energy resources.

Brown then explained that jobs in the alternative energy field are growing rapidly due to the government’s pressure on companies to become “greener” and because of the continuing increases in the cost of energy.

“Energy makes the world go round,” Brown said.

For more information, you can contact Clifton Brown at