Business Briefs

FROM THE FEBRUARY ISSUE: Minnesota retailer recognized, USGC promotes manager of global ethanol programs, Gevo welcomes new CFO, Adhikari joins Lee Enterprises, and Iowa drivers help fund breast cancer research.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | January 17, 2020

MN Biofuels recognizes E15 retailer
The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association named Hutchinson Co-Op its 2019 Distinguished Retailer in Bloomington on Dec 13.

“Hutchinson Co-Op was a recipient of the highly successful Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership program,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director at MN Biofuels. “It began offering E15 at the end of 2018 and today E15 sales comprise nearly half of its fuel sales.”

Hutchinson Co-Op also offers E30 and E85.

“We believe in offering high quality products that are also environmentally friendly and made in Minnesota,” said Dean Brehmer, station manager at Hutchinson Co-Op.
Besides the award, MN Biofuels also released its 2019 Annual Report to its producer and vendor members.

The report highlighted the various projects the organization undertook during the year as well as the many challenges the industry faced in 2019.

“By all accounts 2020 may be just as challenging as 2019. But with your ongoing support, we will continue to fight on behalf of Minnesota’s ethanol industry and deliver tangible results,” Rudnicki said.

USGC promotes Qian
The U.S. Grains Council promoted Stella Qian to manager of global ethanol programs in the organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. Her new role follows the promotion of Lucas Szabo to manager of global ethanol market development.

Qian previously served the USGC as manager of trade teams, joining the organization in 2012. In this capacity, she coordinated planning and travel logistics for teams visiting the U.S. on trade missions.
In her new position, Qian will help scale up global ethanol resources, implement programs and develop strategy for ethanol market development efforts.

“During her tenure at the council, Stella has made critical contributions throughout the Unified Export Strategy process, in program standardization and leading China ethanol training efforts—preparing her to make immediate and lasting contributions in our effort to expand global ethanol trade,” said Brian Healy, USGC director of global ethanol market development. “Stella’s institutional experience will further build cohesion and integrate the ethanol effort across all program areas and offices, a critical element for long-term success.”

Qian is originally from Hangzhou, China. She is a graduate of George Washington University, where she earned a master’s degree in tourism administration with a concentration in event and meeting planning.

Gevo appoints chief financial officer
Gevo Inc., a renewable fuels and chemicals manufacturer, has appointed Lynn Smull as chief financial officer.

“I’m glad to have Lynn join our team,” said Patrick R. Gruber, Gevo’s CEO. “He has a lot of experience in project financing and energy projects, both extremely relevant to us. Lynn is a good fit and I expect him to hit the ground running.”

Before joining Gevo, Smull most recently served as chief financial officer of One Energy Enterprises LLC. He has 30 years of finance and commercial experience on corporate, investment banking and private equity platforms including Calpine Corp., Bank of America, Salomon Brothers and Bechtel.

Smull has managed large capital raisings, mergers and acquisitions transactions and corporate finance and accounting functions in the renewable and conventional power and energy sectors, as well as in several other heavy infrastructure sectors.

Lee Enterprises adds new team member
Lee Enterprises Consulting, a bioeconomy consulting group, has added Sushil Adhikari to its team of experts. Adhikari has a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering and is a Professional Engineer, currently serving as the director for the Center for Bioenergy and as an alumni professor in the Biosystems Engineering Department at Auburn University. He teaches biosystems engineering and conducts research related to biofuels and bioproducts, especially in the field of thermochemical conversion, with his research efforts focused on biomass gasification, pyrolysis, algae liquefaction and upgrading, anaerobic digestion and hydrogen production. Adhikari has published 110 peer-reviewed journal articles and eight book chapters and has been cited more than 6,800 times. He has received numerous awards and recognition, including being named as a “World’s Most Influential Mind” by Thomas Reuters in 2014.

“Dr. Adhikari’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  the Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Southeastern SunGrant, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and many others,” said Wayne Lee, CEO of Lee Enterprises. “His work with us will be in the areas of thermochemical conversion, biomass gasification, pyrolysis, algae liquefaction and upgrading, anaerobic digestion, and hydrogen production, and we could not be more pleased to have this depth of talent in our group.”

Kemin Biofuels hires new senior field technical sales manager
Kemin Biofuels hired Jim Kacmar as a senior field technical sales manager. Kacmar will focus on the company’s growing portfolio of enzymes and fermentation aids with emphasis on cellulosic ethanol production. “We are very excited to announce that Jim has joined our team,” said John Phillips, Kemin Biofuels leader. “His broad industry experience coupled with rigorous technical knowledge and personal integrity will allow us to further the interests of all our customers. Kemin Biofuels is a young but fast-growing entity in the ethanol and broader biofuels industry.”

Kacmar comes from Edeniq Inc., where he was director of engineering and operations and responsible for pilot-scale testing of new technologies, ensured U.S. EPA- and California Air Resources Board-compliant trial performances, oversaw engineering and field service teams, and successfully registered multiple EPA- and CARB-approved cellulosic ethanol pathways. He is an industry-recognized expert in cellulosic ethanol production and a sought-after presenter at industry events.

“It is with tremendous enthusiasm that I accepted the position at Kemin,” Kacmar said. “The company has the right attitude towards both team members and customers and, as a family-owned U.S. company that has been in business for 58 years, it has the principled approach to conducting business that I was seeking. That attitude, along with its technological resources, has positioned us to meet the needs of customers now and in the future.”

Pink at the Pump raises over $20,000
Iowa drivers raised over $20,000 for breast cancer research and support services simply by choosing cleaner-burning Unleaded88 during the fourth annual Pink at the Pump campaign, cosponsored by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

Seventy-four retail stations donated 3 cents of every gallon of Unleaded88 sold from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and The Hormel Institute. Unleaded88, also known as E15, is a fuel containing 15 percent ethanol and is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles.

“We are thrilled that this year’s Pink at the Pump campaign featured a record number of participating stations and raised a record-breaking amount of funds for such a worthwhile cause,” said Cassidy Walter, IRFA communications director. “Pink at the Pump is an exciting promotion because not only does it support such important research and services, but it shines a light on the fact that biofuel blends like Unleaded88 are reducing the amount of toxic emissions coming out of our tailpipe and helping keep our air cleaner and healthier to breathe.”

“We truly appreciate every consumer who chose homegrown Unleaded88 at the pump during October,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis, ICPB director and farmer from Primghar, Iowa.