Welcome to New Professor Dr. John P. Helveston

Great Wall
Professor Helveston on the Great Wall
January 06, 2019
EEM colleagues are pleased to welcome Dr. John P. Helveston to the EEM team. John joined the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering and the Environmental and Energy Management Program as an Assistant Professor in the Fall 2018 semester.  Within the EEM academic program and the Environmental and Energy Management Institute, John joins Professors Royce Francis, Ekundayo Shittu, Joe Cascio, Alex Beehler, Rachael Jonassen, Kelly Scanlon, Scott Sklar, Ed Saltzberg, Jonathan Deason and others. 
Professor Helveston’ s primary research interests involve understanding the factors that shape technology change, with a particular focus on transitioning to environmentally sustainable and energy-saving technologies.  Within this broader category, he studies consumer preferences and market demand for new technologies as well as relationships between firm innovation, industry structure, and technology policy.  
John has spent a number of years in China and is a recognized expert on China's electric vehicle industry. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and has conducted extensive fieldwork in China, collaborating with colleagues at Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University and the State Information Center on past projects.
John began studying Chinese during his second year as an undergraduate engineering student at Virginia Tech in the fall of 2006. The next spring, he received the Horton Scholarship that provided an opportunity to travel to China and complete an educational project of his own design. He traveled to Dalian in the summer of 2008 to study language and culture at Liaoning Normal University, then moved to Shanghai to gain international engineering experience as an intern in General Electric's Advanced Wind Turbine Operations Division. 


After returning to the U.S., he was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State to study Chinese in Harbin, China during the summer of 2009, and has since returned to China numerous times for work or research, including an internship at the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation and as a 2014 East Asia Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellow supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. 
Professor Helveston has gotten off to a fast start at GW with the August 22, 2018 publication of a paper entitled “Institutional Complementarities: The Origins of Experimentation in China’s Plug-in Electric Vehicle Industry” in the journal Research Policy with co-authors Y. Wang, V. J. Karplus, and E. R.H. Fuchs. The paper summarizes results of a study on the potential significance of firms experimenting across multiple levels of the interconnected electric vehicle technology platform in China and how China's institutions may be influencing that experimentation.
He also has submitted a research proposal to Duke Energy Renewables for a project entitled “Spatial and Temporal Mapping of Technological Progress in Electric Vehicle Powertrain Technologies.” If funded, this project will analyze global EV data from the past decade to identify spatial and temporal trends in performance improvement of core EV technologies. 
John received his B.S. degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics, from the Virginia Institute of Technology in 2010, his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering and Public Policy from the Carnegie Mellon University in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University from 2016 to 2018.