Business Briefs

FROM THE APRIL ISSUE: Growth Energy names American Biofuels Visionary, RFA announces 2020 Industry Award, Grains Council plans trade strategy, E15 added to two Nebraska retail sites, and Valero promotes three.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | March 24, 2020

Broin named American Biofuels Visionary

Jeff Broin, Poet Biofuels founder and CEO, was named The American Biofuels Visionary at Growth Energy’s 11th Annual Executive Leadership Conference.

“Jeff Broin’s unwavering leadership and transformative vision for U.S. biofuels has touched the lives of every American, from farm families in South Dakota to New York motorists,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO. “As founding chair of Growth Energy, he followed in the footsteps of other great American founding fathers, building an enduring legacy that will shape the future of homegrown energy for generations to come.”

Broin said, “I am honored and humbled to receive this thoughtful recognition from Growth Energy. Helping to found and grow this organization has been a true labor of love for me, going back to my roots on the family farm. While we have won many battles, the war is far from over. I will continue to work with the biofuels industry and agriculture to drive biofuels to new heights in the years to come.”

In addition to his work with Growth Energy, Broin turned Poet from a humble family business into the world’s largest ethanol producer. His efforts have guided the industry’s most groundbreaking victories, from smashing the blend wall to capturing global markets.


SIRE receives RFA’s 2020 Industry Award

The Renewable Fuels Association presented Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the 2020 Industry Award Feb. 12 at the National Ethanol Conference in Houston, Texas.
RFA’s Industry Award is presented annually to a member company that has provided a unique contribution to the industry’s success through technological, marketplace, or advocacy excellence.

SIRE is being recognized this year for its critical role in hosting President Donald Trump, along with multiple cabinet officials, federal, state and local officials and national news media, for a tour of its facilities and a celebration of new regulations permitting summertime sales of E15. The event convened industry leaders and policymakers, providing an opportunity for the Trump administration to hear first-hand accounts of the positive impact of expanding the use of E15, as well as accounts of the damage being done to the renewable fuels industry by the unprecedented number of small refiner exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“SIRE did not just provide a tour of the facility and tell them how ethanol is made,” Cooper said. “They engaged these officials in a frank and honest dialogue about the devastating impact of small refiner waivers, the need to restore the integrity of the RFS, and the potential benefits of moving toward a high-octane, low-carbon future. The hard work that the men and women of SIRE put into this unforeseen leadership role is paying off—and we salute them for their strong effort.”
In addition to the E15 celebration and facility tour, SIRE hosted an April news conference on refinery waivers and a bipartisan press conference in August.


USGC meeting attendees plan global trade strategy for coming year

Members of the U.S. Grains Council arrived in Tampa, Florida, for the organization’s winter meeting in mid-February, where they concentrated on drivers of global demand and how they affect markets overseas in which USGC does business.

“We are excited to be in Tampa as we come off a particularly challenging year for trade and begin to right our course to make something happen for U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, ethanol, distillers dried grains with solubles and other coproducts,” said Darren Armstrong, USGC chairman and farmer from North Carolina. “We heard from experts in their fields of policy and weather prediction to help us analyze what’s happened recently and plan a strategy for success in the coming year.”

USGC’s winter meeting is the annual chance for corn, sorghum and barley farmers and members of agribusiness who make up the organization’s membership to meet with their international staff, who work in dozens of locations globally on trade policy and market development issues.


Cooperative Producers adds E15 at 2 Nebraska locations

Cooperative Producers Inc. has added E15 at its fuel sites in Axtell, Nebraska, and Red Cloud, Nebraska. These additions are CPI’s fifth and sixth locations selling E15 in the state including locations in Clay Center, Funk, Giltner and Juniata.

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we need to support the folks who do business with us,” said Gary Brandt, vice president of energy with CPI. “CPI uses 500,000 bushels of corn in the ethanol we sell every year, so adding more ethanol to the pumps in Axtell and Red Cloud really brings a sense of ownership to our growers who work hard throughout the year to feed and fuel our country.”

The NEB is urging more Nebraska fuel retailers to make E15 fuel more widely available to motorists. To help fuel retailers learn more about the ease of selling E15, NEB is hosting free workshops across the state. For details, visit Some retailers have been reluctant to retrofit their pumps for E15 due to misconceptions about cost and installation.   

“These locations don’t have a flex-fuel pump, but we’re still able to offer E15 by blending it at the pipeline terminal,” Brandt said. “As E15 fuel gains momentum, we believe it will become available at most fuel stations in Nebraska.”


Valero Energy Corp. announces officer promotions

Valero Energy Corp.’s board of directors has approved promotions for Lane Riggs, Gary Simmons and Eric Fisher.

Riggs has been promoted and elected president of Valero and will also hold the title of chief operation officer, reflecting the expansion of his responsibilities to also include renewables and logistics operations. Under his leadership, Valero’s refining organization has dramatically improved in safety, reliability, cost management, and environmental measures. In addition, Lane has extensive experience in leading Valero’s supply optimization and crude oil and product supply groups.

Simmons has been promoted and elected executive vice president and chief commercial officer. He has led Valero’s commercial organization since 2014. He will continue in his new role with oversight of the company’s crude supply and products trading, wholesale marketing, transportation, and international commercial operations groups.

Fisher has been promoted and elected senior vice president wholesale marketing and international commercial operations. He will continue in his new role with oversight of Valero’s wholesale and retail operations and the ongoing expansion of Valero’s international commercial activities, which continue to grow.

“Lane, Gary and Eric have done a great job for Valero,” said Joe Gorder, Valero chairman and CEO. “I look forward to continuing to work with them and our team in delivering excellence in operations, earnings growth, and strong shareholder returns.”


Elite Octane, Raizen join US Grains Council

Elite Octane LLC and Raizen North America Inc. are new members of the U.S. Grains Council.
Elite Octane is a privately held company that operates a dry-mill ethanol plant near Atlantic, Iowa.
Operating since July 2018, the plant produces more than 140 MMgy annually.

Raizen North America’s primary responsibility is originating U.S. corn ethanol for export to overseas destinations. This ethanol is then converted into a variety of products with uses ranging from fuel and pharmaceuticals to beverages and cosmetics. In 2019, the company exported roughly 315 million gallons of ethanol, equal to 112 million bushels of corn.