Vilsack joins other big name speakers at RFA's annual conference

By Holly Jessen | February 16, 2012

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is the headline speaker at the upcoming National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 22-24 in Orlando Florida. Other featured speakers include White House insiders Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs. 

Vilsack was appointed the 30th Secretary of the USDA in early 2009. Prior to that, he served two terms as Governor of Iowa, as a state senator and the mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He has been a strong advocate for renewable fuels, including ethanol, and has worked to correct misinformation about the fuel. “Secretary Vilsack is an advocate without equal when it comes to the importance of domestic renewable fuels like ethanol and we are honored to welcome him to the National Ethanol Conference,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA President and CEO. “…No one better appreciates the potential of domestic ethanol production than Secretary Vilsack and his remarks will be eagerly received by those attending the NEC.” Vilsack is set to speak during the morning general session on Feb. 24.

Rove served under President George W. Bush as Deputy Chief of Staff and, later, as Senior Advisor from 2000 to 2007. He’s an author, a Fox News contributor and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Gibbs served as the 28th White House Press Secretary until he left the position in early 2011. Rove and Gibbs will give a luncheon address, “Insider Perspectives on Election 2012—The Presidency and Congress,” on Feb. 23.

Following Dinneen’s State of the Industry address on the morning of Feb. 23, James Canton, CEO and chairman of the think tank Institute for Global Futures will speak about energy trends in the marketplace. He’s also the author of “The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the 21st Century” and “Technofutures: How Leading-Edge Innovations Will Transform Business in the 21st Century.”

The theme of the 17th annual NEC is “Accelerating Industry Innovation.” Panel discussions and breakout sessions have been scheduled on a variety of topics, such as E15, advanced ethanol, effective messaging and the food vs. fuel debate.