Martin Andreas: The Passing of a Pioneer

I received the news of the passing of Martin Andreas, former senior vice president of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). This column appears in the June issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine.
By Mike Bryan | May 23, 2016

I received the news of the passing of Martin Andreas, former senior vice president of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). By the time this is published, I’m sure there will be many tributes paid to Marty, but I would like to pay a personal tribute. He was a friend not only to me, but to Kathy Bryan, who has also passed, and importantly a friend to the ethanol industry.

In the early '90s ADM was the big gorilla in the room as far as ethanol production in the U.S. was concerned and was the target of an onslaught of negative press. At one time, ADM controlled more than 50 percent of the ethanol production in America.

Few people, however, know the story of how, at the behest of President Jimmy Carter, ADM entered into the production of ethanol. A phone call from the president on a Friday, with an answer expected by Monday, ADM acquiesced and the rest is history.

Marty Andreas was a great spokesperson for ethanol in Washington, and in the heartland. He did it with grace and style. He never touted the fact that he was vice president of one of the largest agricultural companies in the world, but was soft spoken, and represented the ethanol industry with authority.

There has been much written about ADM and the role it played in the development of ethanol,  some stories are kind, others not so kind. Anyone who has been involved in the industry for a time knows that without ADM and without the tireless efforts of people like Marty Andreas we would almost certainly not be where we are today. He served on the Renewable Fuels Association board for more than 20 years and dedicated thousands of hours to promoting ethanol in Washington and just about anyplace else he was called to do so.

Marty was true to himself, he never tried to be anything he wasn’t. Not a technical person nor a political wheeler dealer, he was just a guy who worked for a company that was a pioneer in the production of ethanol in America. He was a guy who people would turn to when they needed help and he rarely turned them down. He was a guy who would fly to a meeting on a private jet and the next day have you over for a beer, a boat ride and a barbeque at his house.

Marty was a pioneer, who went through the struggles of a burgeoning industry that had some of the biggest money in the world fighting it tooth and nail. With ADM at his back, he stood toe-to-toe with them and won.

I liked Marty, we were friends and I’ll miss him.

Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International