Passing the Torch

I’ll stop here and express my gratitude to friends and the ethanol industry, in general, for giving me 30 years of fruitful work and the ability to not only look back with pride and satisfaction, but to look forward with renewed optimism.
By Mike Bryan | September 20, 2016

I’ll try not to be overly melancholy about this, my final article for Ethanol Producer Magazine. My two sons, Joe and Tom, who have successfully run BBI International the past seven years, have now taken over full ownership. It’s exciting to see a new generation with new ideas and an unchartered approach take us to the next level. I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to compliment the staff of BBI, who continue to amaze me with their dedication, attention to detail and hard work, you are exceptional!

Diversification has been one of the mainstays of BBI, from ethanol to biodiesel to biomass power and, more recently, a magazine and conference on unmanned aerial systems.  Always looking for the next opportunity, but always keeping our eye on ethanol.

I’ve made a lot of friends over the past 31 years in the industry that will last a lifetime. Many of you who read this will not have known my wife Kathy who passed away in 2009. She and I started BBI in 1995, in St Louis, in a spare bedroom of our house. She was a true friend and pioneer in the industry and is remembered fondly by many. I know it would please her greatly to think that the contributions by BBI over the past 20 years have, in some small way, made the industry stronger

I often think that I had the fun years, when plants were being built up and down country roads across America. Then, in the global financial crisis, the tap was turned off overnight and companies, including BBI, hovered close to closing down. In times like that, you know who your friends are.

But we dare not spend too much time looking back, lest we lose sight of the future, and the future for this industry is indeed bright. Make no mistake, it faces a whole new set of challenges—many of them different than the ones we faced, but just as daunting—to be taken up by a whole new generation, with new ideas and renewed determination.

So, I’ll stop here and express my gratitude to friends and the ethanol industry, in general, for giving me 30 years of fruitful work and the ability to not only look back with pride and satisfaction, but to look forward with renewed optimism for the future, and to say one last time: That’s the way I see it.


Author: Mike Bryan
Chairman, BBI International
mbryan@bbiinternational.com