FEW opens in Indianapolis, scholarship winners announced

By Sue Retka Schill, Holly Jessen | June 27, 2011

The 27th Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo opened this evening with a reception at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Tom Bryan, vice president of BBI International, welcomed people to the conference, organized by BBI and its flagship publication, Ethanol Producer Magazine.

BBI cofounder and chairman Mike Bryan assisted in a brief opening ceremony for the expo where 300 companies are exhibiting. “In 26 years, when you think of all the ups and downs of the industry,” the senior Bryan said, “through all the challenges, it’s people like yourselves that keep pushing and pushing to keep this industry moving forward.”

Of the over 2,000 registered for the conference, nearly 500 are either ethanol plant employees or board members. Attendees at the conference represented 24 counties, 46 states and six Canadian provinces.

The evening reception also served as a fundraiser for the 2011 FEW Kathy Bryan Memorial Scholarship. Special commemorative drink mugs were available for purchase in advance of and during FEW. The scholarship program honors Kathy Bryan, co-founder of the FEW and former president of BBI International. This year, scholarships of $2,000 each were awarded to Mary Schrock, and employee of Abengoa Bioenergy of Indiana, and Bailee McClellan, the daughter of an employee of Big River United Energy LLC in Dyersville, Iowa.

Schrock has worked as a laboratory technician at Abengoa Bioenergy of Indiana in Mount Vernon since July 2009, prior to the start up of the plant. She has been attending Ashford University since May 2010 to obtain a bachelor of art degree in environmental studies to further her advancement at the ethanol facility. She is the single mother of a 16-year-old daughter. Schrock was instrumental in the start up of the facility and continues to be an asset in the laboratory as a hard working and dedicated employee, according to a letter of recommendation from Brent Inkelaar, the quality, safety and environmental manager at the plant.

McClellan graduated from Dubuque Senior High School in 2009 and has attended two years at University of Iowa, in Iowa City. She is seeking a bachelor of art degree in environmental policy, a self-made degree. McClellan discovered her passion for all things green when taking an Introduction to Environmental Science class as a general education course. “Ethanol … became a biofuel, a hope for alternative, renewable energy that could sustain the future,” she said in her application. She has been involved in and then elected president of ECO Hawk, a student organization established in 2009 that focuses on public health approaches to environmental initiatives.