Broin announces name change while celebrating milestones

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy | March 27, 2007
Broin Companies is now Poet LLC. The South Dakota ethanol company announced the name change yesterday as it celebrated a series of milestones.

"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, 2007. "It's about a team of highly talented professionals that are coming to work every day to change the world. We wanted a name that was more representative of that."

"We really wanted a name that would represent—rather than describe—who we are and what we do," Broin continued. "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 new name unifies a collection of business units under one brand. The six entities that comprise Poet LLC are also renamed. Broin Management will be known as Poet Plant Management, Broin & Associates is renamed Poet Design & Construction, and Broin Enterprises is now Poet Research Center. Poet Ethanol Products is the new name for Ethanol Products, and Dakota Gold Marketing is renamed Poet Nutrition. These entities, which will continue to operate independently, make Poet the most integrated company in the ethanol industry, Broin said.

Poet released its new name at a ceremony on March 29. 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 very 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, which is the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the United States. When Pinnacle Ethanol, a 60 MMgy plant in Corning, Iowa, comes online in May, it will push Poet's production capacity over 1 billion gallons. Pinnacle Ethanol will be the 20th ethanol plant under production that Poet operates.

Poet will mark another milestone when it starts construction in April or May of Fostoria Ethanol, a 65 MMgy plant to be located near Fostoria, Ohio. Fostoria will be the 30th plant that Poet has constructed, and the 24th that it operates. With the addition of Fostoria, Poet will have four plants under construction for a total capacity of 1.3 billion gallons in production or under construction within its management.

Earlier this week the company also announced the location of another Ohio facility. Poet is planning a $130 million, 65 MMgy project near Marion, which is 50 miles north of Columbus, Ohio.

Poet also celebrates its 20th year anniversary in 2007. "If I 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 that a joint development project has completed the first of three phases. The project is aimed at developing applications based on SDI's patent-pending technology utilizing bacteriophage as selective agents. The applications will directly support Poet's proprietary BPX technologies for ethanol production.

More information on Poet LLC is available at http://www.poetenergy.com/

Look for an in-depth feature on Poet LLC in the June issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine

Anduin Kirkbride McElroy is an Ethanol Producer Magazine staff writer. Reach her at [email protected] or (701) 746-8385.

Posted: 8:02 a.m. CDT Friday, March 30, 2007