Building relationships, creating new ideas


By Bill Stanton, Contributor

The Peter Kiewit Institute welcomes James Taylor as its new Research Coordinator. One of Taylor’s main responsibilities will be finding individuals and institutions that will help fund the institute and its many programs. There is an opportunity to work with other collegiate institutions and businesses around Omaha to help fund and develop new research and technology, Taylor said.
Innovation is important for Taylor and the institute. The Institute’s mission is to fuel collaborations and fire the imagination of faculty, students and businesses alike, according to the PKI website.
PKI offers career opportunities for students and provides the business community with a growing labor pool of skilled professionals.
“There is always a technology push and a requirement pull,” Taylor said. “Research facilities such as ours have the ability to think of new technologies that people have never thought about.”
PKI and its staff have the unique advantage of being able to teach students how to get directly involved in the working community. Faculty, like Taylor, have spent time in the private and government sectors learning about the high-tech problems facing the industry and offering their expertise.
“I’ve leveraged a lot of things learned over my working career with this job,” Taylor said.
One experience he will never forget is working with Russian scientists on a project. Being a child of the Cold War, he learned to set aside preconceived notions about his colleagues. He said it was definitely a culture shock. It is this kind of experience that he feels he can bring to the table.
However, gaining this real world experience would have never have happened if Taylor had not worked to gain the knowledge he needed to succeed.
His academic credentials include an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. He also received a master’s degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he was honored with induction in Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical engineering honor society, and Tau Beta Pi, the national electrical engineering honor society. While at the Air Force, his focus of study was on stealth technology.
Since 2010, he has been working on a degree in computer engineering through UNL. The research he is doing at UNL focuses on wireless physical layer security.
Taylor, a retired lieutenant colonel of the United States Air Force, spent 20 years serving his country. His service in the Air Force included working on three different research facilities and a month long combat tour in Iraq. The research he conducted was for Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and United States Strategic Command. His duties on these projects included positions such as project engineer, program manager, analyst and AFRL Commander’s Representative to USSTRATCOM.
Taylor feels the position he has now is a continuation of the work he was doing with the Air Force.
“This job is an extension of me serving my country,” Taylor said. “I really feel like I am serving Nebraska.”
Being in the military, he had the opportunity to live in different places throughout the world. He has been stationed in Nebraska twice for a total of eight years. His job at the Peter Kiewit Institute gives him an opportunity to leave a lasting mark on our community.