Broin changes name to Poet, celebrates milestones

By | April 23, 2007
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Broin Companies has officially changed its name to Poet LLC. "This company is about a lot more than my last name," said President and CEO Jeff Broin, who became the sole owner of the company Jan. 1. "It's about a team of highly talented professionals who are coming to work every day to change the world. We wanted a name that was more representative of that."

He continued, "We really wanted a name that would represent—rather than describe—who we are and what we do. As a poet takes everyday words and turns them into something valuable and beautiful, we use creativity that comes from common sense to leave things better than we found them. We were looking for a name that was memorable, unforgettable, short and representative of who we are."

The six entities that made up Broin Companies have also been renamed. Broin Management has become Poet Plant Management, Broin & Associates is now Poet Design & Construction, and Broin Enterprises is called Poet Research Center. Poet Ethanol Products is the new name for Ethanol Products, and Dakota Gold Marketing has been renamed Poet Nutrition. These entities, which will continue to operate independently, make Poet the most integrated company in the ethanol industry, Broin said.

Poet announced its new name at a ceremony March 29, in which the keynote speaker was astronaut Neil Armstrong. Broin said Armstrong was a logical choice because of the similarities between President George W. Bush's challenge for 35 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2017 and President John F. Kennedy's challenge in 1962 to put a man on the moon.

Despite the changes in name and ownership, Broin said he anticipates little change in how the companies operate. "We intend to continue on the same path of developing and managing plants throughout the United States," he said. "You'll see us continue to try to move this industry forward, to help the environment while decreasing our reliance on foreign oil and enable rural economic development."

This spring marks several milestones for the company, the largest dry-grind ethanol producer in the United States. When Pinnacle Ethanol comes on line in May, the 60 MMgy plant in Corning, Iowa, will put Poet's production capacity over 1 billion gallons. Pinnacle Ethanol will be the 20th ethanol producer that Poet operates.

Poet will mark another milestone in May when it starts construction of Fostoria Ethanol, a 65 MMgy plant near Fostoria, Ohio. Fostoria will be the 30th ethanol plant that Poet has constructed. With the addition of Fostoria, Poet will have a total capacity of 1.3 billion gallons in production or under construction within its management. Poet is also constructing Premier Ethanol in Portland, Ind. and Summit Ethanol in Leipsic, Ohio, while expanding its facilities in Chancellor, S.D., and Big Stone City, S.D.

Poet is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2007. "If I [would have] had to guess where we'd be, 20 years ago, I would not have conceptualized where we are today," Broin said. "[In the next 20 years,] I think you'll see us continue to analyze and select opportunities to grow and succeed in the renewable fuels marketplace. We're continuing to do research and development around corn, as well as other crops and biomass."

One such research project also reached a milestone. Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI) and Poet Design & Construction announced the completion of the first three phases of a joint development project. The project is to develop applications based on SDI's patent-pending technology utilizing bacteriophage as selective agents. The applications will directly support Poet's proprietary Broin Project X technologies for ethanol production.