FEW begins with grand opening, ribbon cutting

By Holly Jessen | June 09, 2014

The International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo kicked off the evening of June 9 with a ribbon cutting and grand opening of the expo hall.

Tom Bryan, president of BBI International and editor in chief of Ethanol Producer Magazine, started off by welcoming attendees to the 30th anniversary FEW event, a show that has always been about ethanol producers. “We pride ourselves in bringing the latest and greatest technologies equipment and services to the producers of ethanol both in North America and globally,” he said.

The event, set for June 9 to 12 in Indianapolis, has a total of 555 ethanol producers in attendance. In all, representatives from 205 ethanol production facilities are on hand for this year’s event, including traditional and advanced ethanol plants in the U.S., Canada and internationally.

Next, Ron Beemiller, president and CEO of WB Services LLC, the 2014 sponsor of the welcome reception and grand opening, addressed the crowd briefly, thanking BBI International for putting on the event. Beemiller then introduced Ray Defenbaugh, president of Big River Resources, saying that “I think it’s important when we do events like this, that we take the opportunity to raise awareness about things going on in the industry.”

Defenbaugh gave a short overview of Prime the Pump, a new three-year marketing effort to build infrastructure to help retailers offer ethanol blends. “We’ve got a good product that is that’s priced reasonable, it’s efficient, it’s high octane,” he said. “But it’s hard to get the message out and we’ve had antagonists that have sometimes distorted that message.”

Prime the Pump is a non-profit organization that is not a program of any of the ethanol industry trade organizations, but all are involved, he said, including the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, state ethanol organizations and the National Corn Growers Association.

Funds will come from ethanol producers that contribute a set amount per gallon produced, he said, adding that efforts to sign up ethanol producers have been going well. In addition, the corn growers have said they will participate in a strong way. Finally, Defenbaugh appealed to service and equipment companies serving the ethanol industry. “Other providers that are here should look into this, because if the industry does well, you will do well,” he said.