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At Lee Enterprises we have assembled the top group of biodiesel experts.  In addition to our consultants, we maintain strategic partnerships and working relationships with the nation’s top alternative fuels professionals.  Our number of consultants makes us the world’s largest bioeconomy consulting group, but it is our combined talent and expertise that makes us the best!

Meet Our Biodiesel Team

Gerald Kutney (Executive Vice President) - Canada

Gerald has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Toronto and over 15 years of executive management experience with global corporations in technology development and commercialization, biomass economics and procurement, biorefining, bioenergy, and bioproducts. He is a founding member of the Canadian Biochar Initiative and was an Adjunct Professor and Instructor in the Environmental Science Program at the University of Northern British Columbia.  He led the biorefining business of a major forest products company, which included the largest cellulosic ethanol business in North America, a biomass-to-energy CHP facility and an international bioproducts business. Gerald is a published author and his work has resulted in new technological processes, patented inventions and scientific publications. He is Managing Director of Sixth Element Sustainable Management.

Mark Farrer - (Biodiesel; Biogas/AD) - U.S.

Mark earned his degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1993. He has been involved in many aspects of biodiesel since 2003. His work includes research and development of new production methods and processes, including one of the first commercial applications of a solid catalyst used in biodiesel production. Mark has designed process equipment and managed the entire process of constructing of biodiesel plants. This work included the process engineering, project management of the equipment fabrication and facility construction. Mark also commissioned and led the operations for two separate biodiesel facilities as General Manager and Director of Operations, respectively. Mark continued working with other remote facilities to provide technical expertise for engineering and operations improvement and troubleshooting. Mark has led the effort working with other consultants to secure BQ-9000 accreditation for multiple biodiesel facilities. This included the needed training for the staff to follow the required operation and laboratory procedures.

Mark’s knowledge and expertise in biodiesel includes process engineering, operations, staffing, laboratory analyses, feedstock sourcing and biodiesel sales.

In addition to Mark’s experience in biodiesel, he also has experience in biogas production and processing, water and wastewater treatment, natural gas processing including refrigeration, separation and liquids fractionation / distillation, and glycerin refining.

Susan Olson – (Biodiesel, RIN Integrity) -U.S.

Susan has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Evansville and a Ph.D. in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. After post-doctoral research with the Office of Naval Research, she led design-build-test stages of the Main Fuel Throttle Valve (MFTV) for the Joint Strike Fighter for Honeywell before coming to Genscape, where she serves as the Vice President of Analytical Research and Development. Her current focus is developing proprietary information services for the agricultural commodities and renewable fuels markets using monitoring technology and analytics. She leads the company’s RIN Integrity Network™.

Nate Burk – (Feedstock Risk Management) - U.S.

Nathan graduated from Iowa State University in 2004 with a degree in Finance. Upon graduation, Nathan started his career as a Risk Management Consultant at FCStone. Currently, Nathan works day-to-day with biodiesel plants, biodiesel suppliers, animal fats and grease suppliers, seed crushers and elevators. Nathan has taken a leadership role in the development of integrated risk management plans and “Feedstock Financing” programs for biodiesel plants. Nathan works to establish risk management strategies to protect and lock in margins for both integrated crushing and standalone biodiesel facilities. Nathan’s main focus is structuring trades which lock in margins for clients.

Dennis Zeedyk – (Glycerin) - U.S.

Dennis graduated with B.S. in Agriculture from The Ohio State University and an M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois.  He handles our glycerin and reclaimed methanol related matters. After grain trading for several years, Dennis worked for the US Grains Council in Southeast Asia and several USAID development projects in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He returned to the U.S. to start up and operate a multi-feedstock biodiesel plant in Indiana for investors, where he directed the building of acid esterification systems, purchase and delivery of feedstock and other production inputs, and the sale of biodiesel and glycerin. To date, Dennis has traded over 20,000 tons of crude glycerin for animal feed and industrial use and 1 million gallons of reclaimed methanol.  Dennis operates Glycerin Traders, LLC, a glycerin marketing company.

Jess Hewitt – (RIN Consulting, Offtake, Fuel Additives) - U.S.

Jess received his B.S. in Economics from the University of Houston in 1980.  He is the Chairman of Gulf Hydrocarbon, the premier provider of biodiesel to the petroleum industry. Jess has over 30 years’ experience in the energy industry.  He is a former member of the National Biodiesel Board and the immediate past Chairman of its Marketing Committee.  He served as President of the Biodiesel Coalition of Texas and on the advisory board for the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).  He is a member of the ASTM committee governing petroleum products/biodiesel. He is a top authority on RINS, and directs our RIN consulting and offtake operations.  Jess also handles our isobutanol projects – marketing, fuels registration for EPA, RFS2 registration, and assistance with manufacturing and importer registration with the EPA and  IRS.

Kent Bullard (BQ9000 & Quality Assurance) - U.S.

Kent is the longest serving BQ9000 auditor with the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission. He received his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education from Southern Illinois University and his Masters of Science in Quality Assurance from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Kent has audited many production, marketing and laboratory facilities across the United States and Canada. His work in the field has been recognized with awards at the national and regional level. Kent leads Quality Assurance projects for our clients and is available to assist clients seeking BQ9000 in preparing for the certification requirements.

Terry Podgorski, ASA (Machinery and Equipment Appraisals)

Terry holds a BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Grand Valley State University and has over 23 years’ experience as a machinery and equipment appraiser.  He has considerable experience in manufacturing including chief operating officer and plant manager.  He is an Accredited Senior Appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers and holds a Machinery and Technical Specialties designation.  He owns Machinery Valuation Specialists, LLC, based in Holland, Michigan.  He has performed hundreds of machinery and equipment appraisals, including many in alternative fuels and other energy related fields.  His appraisals have been used for a variety of purposes including financing, tax, accounting, insurance, buying and selling, litigation support, and auctions.  He also consults and assists companies and financial institutions with the selling and disposition of assets.

Mindy Collier (Grants) - U.S.

Mindy has a B.A. from Indiana State University and an M.A. in Planning & Management from Indiana University.  She is the founder and President of Collier & Associates and has over 25 years of consulting experience, including “hands on” experience in biodiesel plants.  Mindy is also an experienced grant writer and has successfully written grants for solar, biodiesel and other alternative fuels projects.  She works with our clients in identifying and writing all types of alternative and renewable grants.   For our biodiesel clients, she is available to direct the setup, monitoring and tracking of data for EPA and IRS reporting, RIN generation, tax incentives, and the purchasing of process chemicals and feedstock.

Damiana Serafini (Sustainable Alternative Fuels for Aviation, Biogas, Anaerobic Digestion) - Spain

Damiana has a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture and Resource Economics from the University of Connecticut. Her work includes over 15 years of experience in sustainable alternative fuels (SAF) for aviation, including feedstock production and selection, processing technology, supply chain, quality and sustainability certification, policy, and carbon trading schemes.  She has collaborated with IATA on quantifying the challenges associated with adopting a sustainability certification standard for biofuel production. Damiana also leads the development of a strategic roadmap for the successful deployment of SAF for aviation for Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a division of the United Nations.

Damiana acquired public sector experience as the Director of General of Environment & Energy Efficiency for Vicente López County Office in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her time in office, she developed and deployed public programs on waste management, water conservation, and energy efficiency. Damiana has also helped develop the biogas industry in Argentina, conducting R&D studies on the potential for power generation via anaerobic digestion processes using animal and agricultural waste as feedstock for the Province of Buenos Aires.

Jonathan Lewis (Renewable Aviation/Jet Fuels) - France

Jonathan has a B.S. in Physics and Engineering from Deree-Pierce University in Athens (Greece) and forty years of international flying experience. He has more than 17,000 hours of Pilot-in-Command, heavy, multi-engine turbine time (Jumbo-jet experience, including the Boeing B-747-200F).  He has participated in the development of Renewable Jet Fuels and is one of the discoverers of the benefits of a new Renewable Jet fuel with heavier carbon molecules.  Jonathan has extensive logistics experience and has helped deploy biofuels both nationally and internationally. He has also helped to launch new biofuels like renewable methanol from renewable natural gas and is an active proponent of 3rd/4th generation biofuels technology.  He is actively involved in development of cellulosic diesel technologies.

Jennifer LeRow – (RIN Marketing, Methanol, Railcar Leasing) - U.S.

Jennifer graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Management/Business Administration from Baker College and was an Honor Scholar at Texas Woman’s University. She is the Manager of Biofuels Compliance for our strategic partner, Murex LLC. In that role, she helps develop and implement compliance strategies, spearheads the company’s marketing and networking efforts, and is involved in compliance and renewable fuel and energy credit trading activities. Murex was invited to contribute and be actively involved in QAP discussions with the EPA over the past year, with Jennifer’s working knowledge of RIN Markets and efforts to address RIN liquidity and validity. She has recently addressed members of Congress, the EPA, and the Departments of Energy and of Defense on these matters.

Irshad Ahmed (Project Finance, Business/Project Development, Fuel Additives) - U.S.

Irshad has an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduate degrees in engineering from MIT, Cornell University, University of New Hampshire and IITC, India.  He has advanced management certifications in Agribusiness from Harvard Business School.  He has served as an adjunct at Lehigh University and is on the Board of Advisors of the Speed School of Engineering at the Univ. of Louisville.  Irshad is a recognized expert in the renewable energy with over 20 years of experience. He is the inventor of E-Diesel and cellulosic ethanol biorefinery technology platforms and fuel additives.  He hold 31 patents, has written four books and over 100 publications, and manages over $200 million in ethanol, biodiesel and waste-to-energy projects.  He has raised over $250 million in equity and project financing for renewable energy projects. He has served in lead corporate management capacities at the US EPA, Booz Allen & Hamilton, as the President of National Biodiesel Foundation.  Irshad is the CEO of Pure Energy Corporation and an associate at MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Scott Bunz – (Feedstock Procurement, Risk Management, Fuels Marketing, and Distiller’s Corn Oil Marketing) - U.S.

Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He is the Sr. Director of Fats & Oils Trading at Jacob Stern & Sons,, Inc. where he is focused on feedstock supply to biodiesel and feed facilities, as well as marketing of oils and fats in the domestic and international market.  Scott is also focused on growing the company’s presence in the biofuel and agriculture markets, both domestically and internationally.  He has 20 years of experience in business development, risk management and trading of multiple agricultural commodities and renewable fuels.  Before joining Jacob Stern & Sons, Inc., Scott served in various trading and management positions with Tenaska Commodities, ConAgra Trade Group, Inc., and Gavilon, LLC.  Scott can assist clients with feedstock procurement, risk management, and logistics management.

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Alan Jacobson (Biodiesel Feedstock Availability, Infrastructure Development, Contracting, Procurement Monitoring and Financing Due Diligence) - U.S.

Alan offers extensive biomass-to-energy expertise. During the past thirty years, Alan has specialized in biomass availability and cost studies of agricultural residues, urban wood residues, forest residues, and sawmill and remanufacturing residues for financial institutions and project developers. These studies have been conducted in the states of California, Montana, Oregon, New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Maine, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Hawaii, Florida, Washington, Alaska, Arkansas, the Country of Tanzania, Africa, the Provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and throughout the Country of Italy.

Alan has extensive experience developing the infrastructure required to collect, process and transport all types of biomass, in negotiating long-term biomass fuel supply contracts, and in biomass fuel handling and inventory management. Alan was responsible for the procurement of wood fuel for the first stand–alone biomass power plants in northern California.  Alan has also prepared biomass feedstock supply plans and negotiated contracts for delivery of rice straw and wood waste to potential ethanol projects.

Alan has qualified as an expert witness in litigation of biomass facilities. Alan has a diverse professional forestry background in California, Oregon and Idaho spanning sixteen years of managing timberlands and procuring raw materials for sawmills.

Earl Stout (Government Projects) - U.S.

Earl has a B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara, and a M.A. in Management from the Central Michigan University. A retired U.S. Army Colonel, Earl has been a senior level manager/consultant in both government and private sectors for 40 years.  He owned the first DAV Small Business to provide biodiesel to the VA.  He has performed many feasibility studies for the government, and trained over 4000 military officers in financing and logistics.  He developed business plans for biodiesel operations as far away as Libya and Mauritania.  Earl serves as our liaison for government purchasing/contracts.

Nathan Vander Griend – ERI Solutions, Inc. (Safety & Health, Process Safety Management, Environmental Compliance, OSHA & EPA Compliance) - U.S.

Nathan is President of our strategic partner, ERI Solutions, Inc.  He received his degree in Business Administration from South Dakota State and has work experience in the finance, insurance and oil & gas industries and Biofuels.  Nathan was the third employee at ERI Solutions and has been integral in the growth of ERI over the past 5 years. He works with alternative fuels plants currently providing services to over 80 biofuels production and agri-business facilities in the United States, while also providing management oversight of a captive insurance company representing over $8 billion in insured value.

David McKinney (Insurance) - U.S.

David is currently a VP and Account Executive for IMA.  He has a Master’s Degree in Safety Management and has been in the insurance industry for over 30 years. At IMA since 1994, David directed the Risk Control Efforts at before becoming an Account Executive role.  At IMA, David is responsible for all marketing in the Alternative Fuels Practice Group.  He is a Certified Safety Professional, Certified Insurance Counselor, Certified Risk Manager, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, Associate Marine Insurance Manager, and Associate Loss Control Manager, and is on the faculty of Certified Risk Manager’s International.

Paul Martin (Australia/Pacific Rim Projects) - Australia

Paul is one of the founders of the biodiesel industry in Australia.  He has over 15 years’ experience in every aspect of biodiesel production –  plant and process troubleshooting, plant design, testing and construction, research and development, feasibility studies, plant commissioning and staff training, biodiesel training courses, preparation of manuals, equipment modification, and salvage/redesign.  Paul has been involved in over 80% of the biodiesel plants in Australia, and worked in the industry in 12 other countries. Paul owns Australian consultancy firm, GrownFuel, and serves as our liaison in the Pacific Rim and Oceania.