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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Secretary Leonard K. Peters

Office of the Secretary

Appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear in 2008 to oversee Kentucky’s energy, environmental protection and natural resources programs, Dr. Len Peters has developed and implemented Kentucky’s first comprehensive strategic energy plan to address the state’s growing demands for energy in an environmentally sustainable and economically effective manner. He also has been instrumental in creating a unique partnership opportunity among the Argonne National Laboratory, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and two of the state’s leading research institutions--the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville--to advance lithium battery manufacturing research and development. 

Dr. Peters is a recognized leader in research, academia and management.  He served at the Battelle Memorial Institute, a leading nonprofit applied science and technology development company, where he was senior vice president and director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). From 2003 through 2006, Dr. Peters led the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s 4,200 staff at the multi-program national laboratory to apply their broad scientific and technical capabilities, not only to the mission of DOE’s Office of Science, but also to those of DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Defense, the Department of Defense, and other agencies.

Dr. Peters realigned the laboratory’s research priorities to meet the needs of the laboratory’s diverse customer base. He directed the PNNL community in articulating a strategy for interdisciplinary science bringing together physics, chemistry and biology to undertake the grand challenges that are transforming the way society deals with issues of energy, health, national security, and the environment.  PNNL’s business volume was the highest in laboratory history.   

Under Dr. Peters’ leadership, the laboratory achieved a major milestone when it received the first investment of strategic funding for a shared facility, the PNNL/Washington State University Bioproducts Sciences and Engineering Laboratory.  He also guided the laboratory to many other successes, including an improved safety and security culture, and enhanced relationships with regional research universities. 

Dr. Peters has held senior academic and administrative positions at leading universities, including the University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech. He holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus by that university. He has been recognized for his achievements with honors ranging from the National Science Foundation Award for contributions in science and technology, to the Oak Ridge Associated Universities' Outstanding Leadership Award. 

Executive Staff
Telephone 502-564-3350

Dr. Len Peters, Cabinet Secretary
Karen Wilson, Chief of Staff
Wendy Higgins, Executive Assistant
Mike Haines, General Counsel
Kate Shanks, Executive Director, Legislative Affairs
John Lyons, Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy