Women in biofuels
Women are represented in the biofuels industry, though sparingly, I would guess. It was interesting to read about a select few, named by the founder of a networking group for women in cleantech and sustainability, Lisa Ann Pinkerton.
Biodiesel has a number of women in the CEO ranks and the world of algae even more. There were two notable ones working in ethanol on the list of top 10 women of biofuels. We’ve written about Kef Kasdin’s company, Proterro, in Ethanol Producer Magazine. As CEO, Kasdin is leading Proterro’s efforts in developing a sucrose-producing organism and a novel bioreactor system. The company is now moving from the discovery to the engineering phase of development.
Another researcher made the list for her work on the Q Microbe, which this magazine has followed since the early days of discovery. Susan Leschine was the founder and chief scientist of SunEthanol, the company now called QTeros. Leschine is a senior faculty member in the microbiology department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
I’m sure there are others, but the challenge of top 10 lists, is you can only name 10. There’s a couple of others that I can think of: Sue Ellerbusch, president of BP Biofuels North American made the cover of EPM in the December outlook issue. We interviewed her about the oil giant’s biofuels developments. And, of course, ADM has been led by Patricia Woertz since 2006.
But, these are the ranks of CEOs and scientists. It would be interesting to find out just what sort of women play in the working ranks of ethanol plants. I would guess that beyond the office, the most common role would be as a laboratory technician. There are a smattering of women in other positions. We’ve run across one working as an ethanol plant compliance and safety officer and I’ve met a woman who was a plant manager and another who was the corn buyer. I gather younger women take these gender-bending roles for granted, but I’m old enough to still want to cheer on women in untraditional roles and those who’ve risen to the ranks of top leadership. But you know, the real indicator that women in business are accepted these days is that these stories are not really considered news.