Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Staff | February 19, 2015

Joe Glauber has retired from the position of chief economist of the USDA. Robert Johansson, USDA deputy chief economist, has been named acting chief economist. Johansson has served as the USDA’s deputy chief economist since 2012 and holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota.    

Fecon Inc. has released a new website that features a customizable bull hog rotor module that allows users to build and display three different rotor options and nine different tooling options. A new compare section also shows specifications of the different tracked carriers and attachment products side by side, helping the user find the model they are looking for. 

ERI Solutions Inc. has announced a new program for ethanol producers referred to as the Focused Integrity Testing. The FIT program is a smarter, methodical and cost effective way to manage nondestructive testing and inspection requirements to ensure the integrity of aging assets.

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service recently awarded funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for American products. The U.S. Grains Council was awarded nearly $2.24 million.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has appointed David Bracht director of the Nebraska Energy Office. Bracht is a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP, where he coleads the renewable energy group and serves as council to companies involved in energy development, including biofuels, biomass and wind energy. He has advised on major wind and ethanol projects, including an advanced cellulosic plant.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has announced its board of directors, officers and executive committee for 2015. Brian Cahill of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy will serve as president, while Tom Brooks of Western Dubuque Biodiesel will serve as vice president. Eamonn Byrne of Plymouth Energy will serve as treasure, while Rick Schwarck of Absolute Energy will serve as secretary and Monte Shaw will serve as executive director. In addition, Steve Bleyl of Green Plains Inc., Brad Albin of Renewable Energy Group and Craig Willis of Archer Daniels Midland Co. will also serve on the executive committee.  

Audie Sturtewagen has been appointed plant manager of Patriot Fuels Biodiesel LLC. The new 5 MMgy biodiesel plant, located at the site of the 120 MMgy Patriot Renewable Fuels LLC ethanol plant in Annawan, Illinois, is expected to come online during the first quarter of the year. Sturtewagen has been a part of the Patriot Renewable Fuels team since the ethanol plant started production in 2008, serving as safety manager, and later, production manager.

Aflalo Guimaraes has joined the board of directors of Ceres Inc. He succeeds Raymond Debbane, who retired from the company’s board. Guimaraes is a managing director of The Invus Group LLC, an affiliate of Artal Luxembourg S.A.

Kennedy and Coe, and Matson and Isom, two CPA firms in the foods and agriculture industry, have joined forces. The merged companies now operate under the name K-Coe Isom. The new firm serves domestic and international clientele from 17 coast-to-coast offices.

Timothy Zenk has joined Algenol as executive vice president of business development. Zenk previously served as senior vice president of corporate development for Sapphire Energy Inc. Richard Cranford, has also joined the company from Sapphire, along with Shaun Bailey and Jon Meuser from Synthetic Genomics, Jay Askander and Christoph Neuendorf from Alstom, Jim Streemke from Amgen, Scott Schuh and Matt Wivinus from Boston Scientific, Mohamed Bekheet from Exterran, and Bill Rodriguez from UBS. 

In November, the California Energy Commission approved a $3 million grant to Pacific Ethanol Development LLC to develop and use sorghum feedstock.   

Penford Corp. has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Ingredion Inc., under which Ingredion will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Penford for $19 in cash per share. The transaction is valued at approximately $340 million in the aggregate and has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Penford owns a 45 MMgy ethanol plant located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Martin Berardi has acquired Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill. Berardi, the incoming CEO, is a recent retiree from Moog Inc., where he served in a variety of roles over 34 years. Ownership of the company has transferred from Thomas Warne and James Guarino, who purchased the company in 2004 following a merger with Buffalo Hammermill Corp. 

The Brazilian Development Bank recently approved financing for four sugarcane projects in Brazil, including an ethanol project under development by Abengoa Bioenergy SA Agribusiness. Abengoa will receive $309.6 million Brazilian real  ($118.12 million) to implement a second-generation ethanol plant with a capacity of 64 MMly (16.91 MMgy). The unit will be integrated with the St. Louis ethanol plant in Pirassununga, São Paulo.

Quad County Corn Processors and Syngenta have joined the Advanced Ethanol Council. The two companies are engaged in a joint venture to develop, license and deploy Cellerate, a bolt-on cellulosic ethanol process technology easily integrated into existing corn ethanol production processes. 

4B Components Ltd. has promoted Brian Knapp to the position of vice president with responsibility for technical sales and service for the company’s electronics division. Knapp started at 4B in 2005 as an engineer within the electronics department and became tech team manager in 2010. He is an active member of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society and has made numerous industry presentations on the subject of hazard monitoring.

Scott Wiebe has assumed the role of president and CEO at the Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy, replacing Lorne Morrow who stepped down after a five-year tenure. Wiebe previously spent two years at CRIBE as a program manager before joining AV Terrace Bay as a business analyst. Michael Willick recently accepted the position of chairman of the board, replacing Frank Dottori. Dottori, however, will remain on the board. Douglas Murray of Thunder Bay has also joined the board for a three-year term, while Don Campbell and J.P. Gladu are stepping down from the board.