Timothy Schoechle, PhD, Senior Research Fellow with the National Institute for Science, Law and Public

Name: Timothy Schoechle, PhDTim Schoechle

Occupation: Computer and communications engineering, systems architecture, and policy analysis. Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy.

Author of “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” and “Green Electricity or Green Money? Why some environmental groups hamper clean energy.”

Place of Residence: Boulder, Colorado, for nearly 40 years

Background and Personal History: Timothy was born in Washington, DC, in 1943, and grew up in the Virginia suburbs. He attended several years at Virginia Tech aspiring to physics and math — but he most productively studied Shakespeare, caving and rock climbing. He moved west toward Boulder and Berkeley in the late 1960s for mountain climbing and other reflective pursuits.

Timothy studied computer science (before it was called such) in Southern California (UCLA, UC Irvine) and graduated from Pepperdine University in 1973. He then moved to the Boston area to get into computer engineering (Boston’s Route 128 — pre-dating Silicon Valley).

He learned about microprocessors from their beginning and got involved in developing cutting-edge embedded computer products including barcode identification devices (the first handheld UPC code reader), data storage devices, communications networks, electronic games, and other applications for the smallest microcomputers.

He then moved to Colorado from the Boston area in 1978, drawn by the mountains, the climate, and the appeal of the stimulating lifestyle and entrepreneurial and academic opportunities of Boulder.

Timothy then became a microcomputer hardware and software design consultant and then a serial entrepreneur. He started a company in Boulder with a former colleague, BI Incorporated, in 1979, that developed many advanced microcomputer and communication products — but most notably, they invented what is now called radio frequency identification, or RFID. They took BI public in 1983 (BI is now a ~$1 billion privately-held company in Boulder).

He left BI in 1984 to start CyberLYNX focused on home automation and networking product development. This led to an interest in energy and communications technology as well as consumer electronics.

At the same time, he got very much into standards committee work and the development of national and international technical standards.

Suddenly, he lost his 25-year life-partner, Maggie, in 1990 due to a rare illness — leading to big life changes for Timothy over the next few years. He closed CyberLYNX in 1992.

He went back to school at the University of Colorado, College of Engineering, in 1994 and joined the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program (ITP) to pursue a master’s in communication engineering.  There, he wrote a thesis on consumer policy and data privacy.

He became an ITP faculty member in 1997 and signed up for a PhD in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to study communication policy.

Timothy wrote a PhD dissertation on the international standardization process, finished in 2004, and published a hardcover book on the same topic in 2009, Standardization and Digital Enclosure: The Privatization of Standards, Knowledge, and Policy in the Age of Global Information Technology.

Current Projects: Now Timothy balances his time between a focus on renewable energy, electricity, and data

• Leading international standards activity in networks, data management, and energy

• Engineering of home and building systems for integration of renewable energy including solar PV, storage, and plug-in electric vehicles, microgrids

• Public policy analysis and advocacy on communications, energy, environment and privacy.

Smart grid, solar-plus-storage, electricity decentralization, privacy, and security

Other Fun Facts: Timothy has a love for animals and presently has accumulated seven rescue cats. Previously, he had about 20 Afghan hounds (mostly rescue) over about 20 years with his late wife, Maggie. He has traveled extensively over the last thirty years in many countries in Europe (France, Germany, England, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Romania, Yugoslavia) and Asia (Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia). He has traveled in almost every state in the U.S., parts of Mexico, and sailed in the Caribbean.

Timothy gets most of his productive writing done when he goes to where there is poor Internet and phone service, like up in the mountains near Fairplay, Colorado.

More Places to Find Timothy on the Web:

“Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” white paper

Energy and Policy Institute

Timothy Schoechle, PhD blog

Evolution 7 Labs

Smart Grid Quadrilogues (audio) and video

Philosophy: Technology is art and is socially constructed. Science and technology can only be understood as an expression of culture and in the context of its history.