Ronald M. Sega’s talk Thursday to the Akron Roundtable was a bit of a homecoming.
Sega, a former astronaut who twice flew in a space shuttle, was born in Northfield and graduated from Nordonia High School (Class of 1970) before going to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
He flew with the shuttle Discovery crew in 1994 and the Atlantis in 1996, logging 420 hours in space. Today, Sega is vice president and enterprise executive for energy and the environment at both Ohio State University and Colorado State University.
Ohio can serve as a national test bed for developing new energy options — from fuel cells to shale gas, wind and solar power — he told an audience of about 200 at the luncheon at Quaker Station downtown.
The energy “opportunity in Ohio is huge,” he said. “Ohio has lots of assets.”
So much is happening on the energy front, and Ohio is at the center of many of the new initiatives, he said.
“Do your homework” was Sega’s message when asked when Ohio safely can develop the Utica shale that is starting to produce natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids in eastern Ohio.
One has to be well- informed on shale drilling before one can make decisions, he said.
Being environmentally responsible in developing the Utica shale is “absolutely critical,” Sega said.
He called on young people in the audience to lead the way in conserving energy and developing new energy sources.
On another topic, Sega said he expects man someday will visit Mars.
“We’re explorers. We want to push frontiers,” he said. He added that he was unsure who would be first to reach the Red Planet. “I feel we will and must continue to explore space.”
Sega served as an undersecretary of the Air Force from 2005 to 2007. From 2001 to 2005, he served as director of Defense Research and Engineering, the chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.
He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 2005 as a major general.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.