The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has hired Sam Ori to be its executive director. Ori comes to EPIC from Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a prominent Washington, DC-based institution, where he spent the past eight years working first as director of policy and then as the organization’s executive vice president.

“Sam brings to EPIC his considerable insight into the energy challenge, experience working with key members of the energy community, and first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day operations of a leading energy institution,” says Michael Greenstone, the director of EPIC and the Milton Friedman Professor of Economics at the University, as well as a former economic advisor for President Obama. “We’re fortunate to have someone with his invaluable experience join our team, and we look forward to gaining his fresh perspective.”

EPIC, founded in 2011, received new leadership in the fall of 2014 when Michael Greenstone (previously at MIT) took the reins. The Institute is quickly growing to become a top energy and environmental “think-and-do tank,” having announced the hiring of former White House official Pete Ogden to be a senior advisor in February. Harnessing top talent with varied expertise from across the University and its affiliates, the Institute supports research that aims to identify policies that efficiently meet the world’s energy needs, while limiting environmental and social damages.

“I’m excited to play a role in shaping this growing center,” says Ori. “Providing widespread access to secure, affordable, clean energy is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. The University of Chicago brings unrivaled credibility, analytical capability, and partners to this problem, and I look forward to working closely with the expert faculty and researchers to translate knowledge into impact.”

General James T. Conway, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, who worked closely with Ori as a co-chair of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), says: “Sam not only has considerable knowledge of the global energy landscape, but also the ability to communicate it effectively to stakeholders and get things done. He is a visionary, a man of action, and an excellent leader.”

FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith, who joins General Conway as co-chair of SAFE’s ESLC, says of Ori: “Sam has a deep knowledge of energy issues and a real passion for developing practical, actionable public policy. He made an invaluable contribution to SAFE’s efforts over the past many years. EPIC is fortunate to have him as part of its team.”

During his time at SAFE, Ori helped lead the development of the organization’s policy, communications, and political strategies during a period of rapid growth. As policy director, he was also the principal author of several white papers, including: The New American Oil Boom: Implications for Energy Security, the Electrification Roadmap, Fleet Electrification Roadmap and SAFE’s research and analysis related to fuel efficiency, oil and natural gas issues and the global oil market. Ori was also responsible for SAFE’s signature oil crisis simulation, Oil ShockWave.

Prior to joining SAFE, Ori spent three years in government. As a Presidential Management Fellow with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, he was responsible for oversight of three government-funded international broadcasting organizations that provided a range of multimedia services to developing countries around the world. In 2005, he spent six months working as an economics officer in the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, India.

Ori’s move to the University of Chicago is a return home of sorts. A Chicago native, he received a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The Ohio State University.