Joe Smith began testing small wind turbines in 2006 while working on his master’s degree at Appalachian State University, where he was a member of a student organization that funded and managed the installation of a Northwind 100 on campus. Joe was the technical lead on this project. He is a board member for the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy, which promotes community-owned wind and renewable energy.
In 2008 he began working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in Boulder, Colorado. Since late 2008 he has continued working for the NWTC through Windward Engineering LLC. Between 2008 and 2011, he was the primary engineer for field testing two small wind turbines and was involved with locating seven other wind turbines at the NWTC for field testing; those turbines ranged in size from 1 kilowatt to 2.4 megawatts. Joe worked closely with emerging Regional Test Centers and their accreditation testing programs. He also participated in midsize wind turbine research and urban & built-environment wind turbine research.
In 2011, Joe moved to Germany with his wife, who is pursuing her post-doctoral fellowship there. While in Germany, he is working for Windward Engineering and the Wind Advisors Team while he pursues another master’s degree: computational mechanics of materials and structures at the University of Stuttgart.
Joe holds a master’s degree in industrial technology/appropriate technology from Appalachian State University and an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Notre Dame. He served for two years as a science teacher in Tanzania, East Africa for the U.S. Peace Corps and also worked for the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, where he gained experience in orbital and suborbital rocket launches. Weather is one of his many interests, and Joe enjoys building instruments for his private weather station.