Ceccarelli, an avid proponent for pursuing renewable energy sources and long-time Sparks resident, has now taken that energy and has helped lead a collaborative effort to establish a renewable energy minor program at UNR.
And Friday night at the Circus, Circus in downtown Reno, Ceccarelli was honored for his pioneering of this growing area, as he received from the College of Engineering at UNR the James G. Scrugham Medal, which recognizes outstanding excellence by engineering alumni.
“This (renewable energy) is a hot issue,” Ceccarelli said, explaining that the class is already in its second semester and has had great student response. “Renewable energy will be a big part of our energy mix and having students knowledgeable about the processes will help them to take those jobs when they open.”
Exploring solar and hyrdo energy sources, the minor program is designed to start attracting students to a fast-growing area that is particularly important to Nevada, Ceccarelli said.
“Nevada, if not the richest state in the nation, it is one of the richest states in renewable energy,” Ceccarelli said. “And we are the richest in geothermal energy.”
And fortunately, it’s all coming together quickly, Ceccarelli said.
As part of the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, Nevada needs to aim for at least 20 percent of the state’s energy drawing from renewable sources by 2015, Ceccarelli said, a goal to which northern Nevada is realistically very close.
“In northern Nevada, were ahead of the pace,” Ceccarelli said. “We have the highest percentage of solar and geothermal energy sources up here.”
Ceccarelli is also active in the community participating in the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, UNR Engineering Advisory Board, the Northern Nevada Network board, the Reno-Tahoe Open board and the Education Foundation Board.
And despite his many commitments, Ceccarelli is still quite modest, particularly about his recent medal award.
“I feel very honored,” Ceccarelli said. “I’m just a lucky guy.”