Business Briefs

FROM THE JANUARY ISSUE: The Andersons welcomes new board member, RFA awarded grants, Szabo's new Grain Council role, ACE's office and executive committee election.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | December 13, 2019

The Andersons Inc. adds member to board of directors

The Andersons Inc. has named Pamela Hershberger to its board of directors.

Hershberger retired from Ernst & Young in 2018 after 31 years of service. She began her career in the firm’s Toledo, Ohio, office as a staff auditor. She was later promoted to partner and served as a trusted advisor to several Fortune 1000 companies. In 2008, Hershberger was named Toledo’s office managing partner, a position she held until her retirement.

Hershberger holds leadership positions on several community and institutional boards, including vice chair for Ohio Northern University, chair for the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts and treasurer for the Toledo Community Foundation. She is also the former board chair for the Toledo Zoo and Aquarium.

Hershberger received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University. She completed the Ernst & Young Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is a certified public accountant.

“Pam’s extensive accounting and financial background coupled with her leadership experience make her an excellent addition to our board of directors,” said Mike Anderson, The Andersons chairman. “We are very pleased with the combined skill set of our board and the strength it provides to our company.”

RFA receives grants for ethanol safety education
The Renewable Fuels Association was awarded grants to support its safety education program through on-site seminars and webinars. Both grants were received via the association’s work with Transportation Community Awareness and Response (TRANSCAER), a voluntary national outreach effort that focuses on assisting communities to prepare for and respond to possible hazardous material transportation incidents.

A $25,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will support 10 ethanol safety seminars and four Train the Trainer webinars for first responders, and a $40,000 Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will fund another 10 ethanol safety seminars and an update of RFA’s Ethanol Safety Tour video.

“One of the strengths that sets our association apart is our whole-industry focus that includes high-quality technical assistance such as our safety programs with TRANSCAER,” said Missy Ruff, RFA’s technical services manager. “As we seek to make ethanol more available to drivers nationwide, we want to ensure that ethanol producers, shippers, blenders and emergency response personnel all have the opportunity to learn more about best practices for safe handling of ethanol and responding to incidents. We are very grateful for the continuing support from TRANSCAER and other partner organizations.”

All work on both grants must be completed by Aug. 31. Last year, RFA’s safety work with TRANSCAER involved hosting ethanol safety seminars in New York, Vermont, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Maine and Virginia, reaching a total audience of 506 first responders and safety professionals; and four Train the Trainer webinars, reaching 259 participants in January, March, July and August.

USGC promotes Szabo to manager of global ethanol market development
The U.S. Grains Council has promoted Lucas Szabo to manager of global ethanol market development in the organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, following Brian Healy’s promotion to director of global ethanol market development.

Szabo joined USGC in June 2014 as global strategies coordinator. In June 2017, he was promoted to manager of export programs, assisting with the organization’s ethanol export strategies, market development programs and policy engagement.

In his new position, Szabo will help design strategy and implement programs for USGC’s  global ethanol market development effort.

“Lucas has made critical contributions in executing the past three ethanol summits,” Healy said. “He has deepened his technical knowledge of ethanol, preparing him for further out-facing engagements that support our mission of expanded global ethanol use.”

Before joining the USGC, Szabo worked for Amsco Global as an export trade specialist, where he exported industrial and safety materials to the oil and gas industries of the Middle East. Szabo also previously served as a business management intern for CG/LA Infrastructure, where he conducted market research of global infrastructure projects and coordinated operations between the D.C. and Brazilian offices.

Szabo has a bachelor’s degree in international business with a minor in Spanish from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Midwest AgEnergy receives HIRE Medallion award
Midwest AgEnergy, the parent company to ethanol biorefineries Blue Flint, near Underwood, North Dakota, and Dakota Spirit, near Spiritwood, North Dakota, has received the 2019 Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Veterans (HIRE Vets) Gold Medallion Award. Midwest AgEnergy is the first company in North Dakota to receive the award.

The Department of Labor established the HIRE Vets Program under the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act, signed by President Donald Trump on May 5, 2017. The program recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ and retain veterans. Employer-applicants meeting criteria established in the rule receive a HIRE Vets Medallion Award. The program recognizes large, medium and small employers at two levels, platinum and gold, depending on the criteria met.

Midwest AgEnergy employs seven military veterans of its total workforce of 89 between its two facilities. The veteran employees include: Trevor Goldade, mechanic technician; Darren Job, operator technician; Nicholas Milbrath, yard operator technician; Jake Ruff, operator technician; Fred Schauer, health, safety and environmental coordinator; Curtis Schestler, yard operator technician; and Mike Zimmerman, operator technician. “Veterans possess many of the key values that are part of our company culture at Midwest AgEnergy,” said Jeff Zueger, CEO of Midwest AgEnergy. “We are very proud of our veteran employees and honored to receive this recognition.”

ACE elects 2020 officers and executive committee
During its fourth-quarter meeting, the American Coalition for Ethanol board of directors elected its officers and executive committee for 2020.

Reelected to serve as officers on the 2020 executive committee are:

• Duane Kristensen, board president. Kristensen is the general manager and vice president of operations of Chief Ethanol Fuels, which owns a 70 MMgy ethanol plant in Hastings, Nebraska, and a 40 MMgy plant in Lexington, Nebraska.

• Dave Sovereign, board vice president. Sovereign is chairman of the board for Golden Grain Energy, a 120 MMgy ethanol plant in Mason City, Iowa. Sovereign also serves on the board of Absolute Energy, a 125 MMgy ethanol plant in St. Ansgar, Iowa.

• Ron Alverson, treasurer. Alverson represents Dakota Ethanol, a 50 MMgy plant in Wentworth, South Dakota.

• Greg Krissek, secretary. Krissek is CEO of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.

• Chris Wilson, executive committee member. Wilson is general manager of Mid-Missouri Energy, a 50 MMgy plant in Malta Bend, Missouri.

Also elected to serve on the 2020 executive committee is Troy Knecht, a South Dakota farmer representing Redfield Energy, a 50 MMgy ethanol producer in Redfield, South Dakota. 

“These industry veterans are dedicated to representing the interests of our grassroots members,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “ACE members can have great confidence in the leadership and experience the executive committee will bring to our efforts to grow demand for ethanol domestically and around the world.”