Making Connections at FEW

The 30th anniversary International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo was held in Indianapolis June 9-12.
By Holly Jessen | July 18, 2014

Nearly 560 ethanol producers, representing 86 percent of installed capacity and a total of 205 production facilities, attended FEW this year. Ron Beemiller, president and CEO of WB Services LLC, and Ray Defenbaugh, president of Big River Resources, participated in the grand opening event. Defenbaugh filled attendees in on Prime the Pump, a new three-year, ethanol producer-led marketing effort to build infrastructure to help retailers offer ethanol blends, and encouraged service providers to support it. “If the industry does well, you will do well,” he said.

The June 10 general session was packed. The keynote address was given by Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, who highlighted the positive changes since last year. Although challenges remain, the industry will triumph if it stays active in the arenas of policy, politics, regulations, public relations and legal battles. “We’re going to win this fight, he said. “It’s not going to be easy but we’re going to win it.”

Two panel presentations featured ethanol producers looking ahead to ethanol’s next stage and long-time members of the industry, who addressed the industry’s future through the lenses of the past. Speaking as part of the producer round table were Paul Koehler, vice president of corporate development for Pacific Ethanol Inc.,  Keith Kor, general manager of Pinal Energy LLC, Neal Jakel, former general manager of Illinois River Energy LLC, James Moe, president of Poet design and construction and Poet plant management, and moderator Tim Portz, executive editor of Ethanol Producer Magazine. The other panel presentation included David Kolsrud, president of DAK Renewable Energy, Dave Vander Griend, CEO of ICM Inc., Phil Madson, president of Katzen International, Larry Johnson, president of LLJ Consulting, Lucy Norton, managing director of Iowa Renewable Fuels and moderator Mike Bryan, chairman of BBI International. Retiring CEO of National Corn Growers Association Rick Tolman also spoke, giving an overview of the state of American corn farming.

Awards were presented to two long-time ethanol industry advocates: Lars Dunn, director of technical service for DuPont Industrial Biosciences, received the Award of Excellence, and Shirley Ball, chairperson of Ethanol Producers and Consumers, received the High Octane Award.
Next year’s FEW is set for June 1-4 in Minneapolis.

Author: Holly Jessen
Managing Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine
701-738-4946
hjessen@bbiinternational.com