Dreaming of Data

FROM THE JULY ISSUE: Editor Lisa Gibson previews the magazine, including feature articles about EPM's 2019 salary survey, a look at Greenfield's biogas use, training initiatives for ethanol producers in Nebraska, and more.
By Lisa Gibson | June 20, 2019

I’ve been dreaming about charts, graphs, percentages and salary ranges. They’ve had my full attention for a couple weeks, as I’ve waded through the results of the 2019 Job Satisfaction and Salary Survey. Now that it’s all laid out on the pages of this magazine, my co-workers will be pleased that my data nerdfest is over. Until next time.

This year’s figures show some of the symptoms of an industry struggling, in fewer bonuses and fewer overall raises reported. But several positions leaped to new salary ranges, while others leveled out from jumps backward in the 2017 survey. Job satisfaction is favorable, no managers reported plans to cut positions, and headhunters are actively contacting plant staff for other opportunities. See the results, with comparisons to past surveys, starting on page 22.

Next, we head up to Canada for a profile of the efficient waste-reducing measures Greenfield has configured into its ethanol plants. Partnering with surrounding cities to supplement natural gas with biogas, Greenfield’s Varennes, Quebec, plant is helping the province meet its goal of eliminating the landfilling of organic waste. And it displaces 15 percent of the plant’s natural gas consumption. Plans are in place to expand that project, while Greenfield’s Chatham, Ontario, plant pipes carbon dioxide to a nearby tomato greenhouse, and the company looks into developing alcohol from industrial waste. We’ve been eager to profile Greenfield’s environmental measures for some time now, and this month, we’ve got it. Find it on page 30.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership have teamed up to provide process control and safety workshops for the ethanol industry. Still young, the courses have seen tremendous interest, prompting the relocation of one nearer to an airport. Ethanol industry staff from all over the country are welcome to attend. There’s more about it on page 36.

Last, we explore a technology coming to ethanol from the paper industry. The system is described by its creators as being similar to a flight simulator as well as a GPS, for its planning, predicting and process mapping proficiencies. Show Me Ethanol in Carrollton, Missouri, has been using the technology since late last year, and the plant manager there says it was particularly helpful during the spring outage. It starts on page 44.

If you like data, technology, education and efficiency, you’ll enjoy this issue. And if you enjoy it as much as I did, it might even visit you in your dreams.

Author: Lisa Gibson