Directors elected, new president, CEO hired at Kansas plant

By Holly Jessen | August 19, 2013

Management and board members of a currently idled Garnett, Kan., ethanol plant are continuing to work toward restarting the facility this fall after an attempt to take control of the plant’s board of directors recently failed.

Four board members were elected to the East Kansa Agri-Energy LLC board of directors and newly hired President and CEO Jeff Oestmann was welcomed to the team at the Aug. 17 annual meeting of the 35 MMgy ethanol plant. One of the four board members was new, while three of them were returning board members, said Bill Pracht, board chairman.

Former board member Scott Brittenham, who was up for re-election, lost his seat on the board, Prach told Ethanol Producer Magazine. Brittenham, CEO of Clean Energy Capital LLC, East Kansas’s largest shareholder, had previously asked shareholders to support a plan to put a new, smaller board of directors in power but later removed those items from the agenda.

With an Aug. 7 special meeting canceled, the annual meeting was “pretty uneventful,” Pracht said. The company is continuing to work toward restarting the plant, which is now likely to happen in late September, considering an expected late harvest. “We’re anxiously looking forward to getting started running again, that’s for sure,” he said.

East Kansas was among other ethanol plants that cut back on production in 2012 and eventually idled. At the time, 35 people were employed at the plant. The company formed in 2001 with production beginning at the originally 42 MMgy plant in 2005.