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At Lee Enterprises Consulting we have the top ethanol experts.  In addition to these 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 Ethanol Team

Joel Stone (Executive Vice President) - U.S.

Joel Stone is the President of ConVergInce Advisers and has been a long term visionary and respected leader in commercialization of industrial biotechnology. Joel is the former President of Green Biologics Inc. where he led the development of the commercial platform of the company in North America for renewable n-butanol for use in the renewable chemical markets and ultimately “Advanced” biofuels. He now serves as President and Founder of ConVergInce Advisers and offers adviser services for industrial biotechnology companies including Green Biologics Limited based in Abingdon, England. Prior to the merger in 2011 with Green Biologics, Joel was CEO of butylfuel™ Inc.   Previously he was responsible for leading Osage Bio Energy in establishing new product and business opportunities where as the company Chief Operations Officer he was instrumental in ushering BioRefining to the forefront of biofuel facilities. Joel has served as the Chief Operating Officer for both AS Alliances Biofuels LLC and previously Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation. During his tenure with ASAlliances, Joel’s accomplishments included the planning, construction, and startup of three 100 MMGPY fuel grade ethanol plants. Mr. Stone provided operations leadership as Vice President of Operations of Balchem Corporation, a manufacturer of controlled release food ingredients and animal feed nutrients; and 11 years as Vice President of Operations for Opta Food Ingredients, a developer and manufacturer of functional starch, protein, and fiber ingredients. Earlier in his career Joel served as Director of Manufacturing for Genencor, a biotechnology developer and manufacturer of food and industrial grade enzymes. During the 1980’s Mr. Stone provided leadership in the design, startup, and operation of three fuel ethanol facilities. Mr. Stone holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic University; and an M.S. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Joel was a previous Board Member of Green Biologics and presently serves on the Technical Advisory Board for the BioRenewable Deployment Consortium.

Jamey Cline (Ethanol, Biodiesel, Benchmarking, Financial Services) - U.S.

Jamey has B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and over 20 years of experience in business development, sales, and project management in agriculture and renewable energy.  He is Business Development Director for our strategic partner, Christianson and Associates, PLLP, where he assists clients with benchmarking, RIN attests and consulting, accounting services, business consulting, and ERP software.  Jamey has managed customer relationships throughout the ethanol industry for a number of years, and is also an experienced grant writer, having successfully written grants for a variety of value-added agricultural businesses.

Nathan Vander Griend – (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.

Scott Warfield (Ethanol & Renewable Chemicals, Biomass Power, Anaerobic Digesters) - U.S.

Scott is an executive manager and leader with more than 35 years of leadership experience in engineering, construction and facilities operations in several industries including defense and government, manufacturing, semiconductor production, power generation, electrical substations, renewable energy, waste to energy, anaerobic digesters and waste treatment, ethanol and most recently construction of the first commercial scale acetone and butanol (ABE) production facility.  His professional career has spanned Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, Asia and North America including most of the United States.

Scott earned his degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1981 and his MBA from Webster University in 1998.  He was formerly a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas.  Scott has been nationally recognized by the U.S. Departments of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for his expertise in renewable energy technologies and has been a guest speaker and panelist at numerous renewable energy conferences.  He also served on joint EPRI and Sematech industry councils to improve power quality for the semiconductor industry.  Scott has been the recipient of three national awards for excellence in EPC construction.

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.

Susan Olson – (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™.

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.

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.

Daniel Lane (Technical assessment, due diligence, scale-up planning & management, process & technology development, project management, commercialization) - U.S.

Daniel Lane is an engineering leader with 20 years’ experience and success in process & technology development in multiple fields, including consumer products, specialty chemicals, and renewable fuels and chemicals. As founder and president of Saille Consulting, LLC, a firm specializing in advancing the growth of startup firms in the bioprocess industries, he serves both potential investors and stakeholders by evaluating technologies for funding and to identify key areas to focus R&D efforts. Dr. Lane has held executive and senior leadership roles with multiple start-up companies in the renewables industry focusing on biomass conversion and scale-up of technology and processes. He has been instrumental to the design and construction of seven pilot- and demonstration-scale facilities around the world, producing first- (corn) and second-generation (cellulosic) ethanol, cellulosic sugars, and bio-based animal feeds from a variety of lignocellulosic feedstocks. Dr. Lane spent the first half of his career in process engineering and project management, commercializing technology with such companies as Procter & Gamble and Degussa, performing process and equipment troubleshooting, benchmarking, feasibility studies, and installing and commissioning myriad process packages. With his proficiency in process simulation and technoeconomic modeling, Dr. Lane is a recognized expert in technical assessment for both private and government funding sources and has helped companies secure over $170MM in financing. Dr. Lane was awarded the James W. Stewart Jr. honor scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, where he earned his B.E. in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.  He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Tech.

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.

Mark Farrer - (Biodiesel, Ethanol, Biogas, Renewable Chemicals & Fuels) - 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.

Gregory T. Benz (Agitation Systems, Mixing, Fermentation and Bioreactors) - U.S.

Greg has a BSChemE from the University of Cincinnati and over 40 years’ experience in the design of agitation systems, specializing in fermentation and bioreactors  He is a  Registered Professional Engineer in Ohio and the President of Benz Technology International, Inc. Most of the well-known biofuel technology providers have used Greg as a consultant as he has experience in continuous flow, multistage reactor design. Currently he does agitation, mixing and bioreactor design consultation, including equipment specification and bid evaluation. He has designed more than 150 fermenter agitators, as well as many polymer and biofuel agitation systems. He is a member of AIChE, ISPE, SIM, SBE, American Mensa and the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. He has authored more than 20 technical articles. He has specific experience doing business in China, having managed his former employer’s business there for years, and having consulted there for multiple clients. He has traveled to China dozens of times and is a student of its language and culture.

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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Jeff Robert (Project & Process Development, Technology & Equipment Selection, Cost Estimation, Plant Commissioning, Operational Assessment, and Organizational Alignment) - U.S.

Jeff has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and 35 years of extensive technology development, commercial implementation, and operations management background.  He has a diverse multi-disciplinary background in Engineering, R&D, Operations, Management, and Business.  Having spent roughly half of his career in manufacturing facilities, He brings a hands-on, problem solving approach with both teams and processes. Jeff spent first half of his career in the food industry, specializing in new product/process development, process scale-up, project management, and plant operations, with a successful track record in taking technologies from the lab to commercial scale.  He spent the last 15 years in First Gen Ethanol, Cellulosic Technologies, and Biochemicals, and as a seasoned executive in the bioeconomy, Jeff offers broad experience in all aspects of commercialization including facility site selection, project development, permitting, process development, scale up, equipment selection, detailed design, cost estimating, construction supervision, commissioning, performance testing and facility operation.

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.

David Edwards (Pilot Plant Design & Manufacture) - Canada

David is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing at our strategic partner, Zeton Inc., the recognized world leader in the design and fabrication of lab scale systems, pilot plants, demonstration plants and small modular production plants. David studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham in England, completing his M. Eng. in 1987. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario, and a Chartered Engineer in the UK. He is a member of AIChE and IChemE. David is involved in all aspects of supplying turnkey, fully-automated pilot plants to its customers.

Elizabeth Hood (Industrial Enzymes) - U.S.

Dr. Hood has an M.S. in Botany from Oklahoma State University, a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and more than thirty five years of experience. She is a Distinguished Professor of Agriculture at Arkansas State University and owns two companies – one to produce enzymes for biomass conversion from transgenic plants, and another to help deregulate transgenic plants to produce those proteins and enzymes. She runs an active research lab at ASU in plant-based protein production technology and cell wall structure and function. Dr. Hood held positions at Utah State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.  She was a Program Director in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation in 2003-2004, and was a leader in forming one of the world’s foremost transgenic plant research groups at ProdiGene, a plant biotechnology company. She served as the director of the cell biology group for plant production of therapeutic proteins at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a Fortune 500 Company. Dr. Hood is internationally recognized expert with over 75 publications and patents.  She is a renowned national and international speaker with a keen interest in the areas of renewable resources, using enzymes for industrial processes rather than chemicals. To date her company has produced three (3) single activity cellulases, and a peroxidase.

Jennifer LeRow – (RIN Marketing, 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.

James R. Hettenhaus (Ethanol, Commercializing Applications of Biotechnology; Cellulosic Biomass Projects) - U.S.

Jim has a B. S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an M. S. in Engineering (Servomechanisms) from St. Louis University in Missouri. He co-founded Biomass Supply Systems LLC, a consulting firm commercializing industrial applications of biotechnology. Since 1997, Jim has successfully led projects across the cellulosic biomass supply chain to accelerate biorefinery commercialization to fuels, chemicals and other value added products. His clients have included small, early stage start-ups to Fortune 50 companies in addition to DOE’s National Laboratories: NREL, ORNL and INL.  He has served on the BOD and SAB of biotech companies, NGO, Academic and Government Advisory Boards.  Prior to his consulting work, Jim’s career included assignments with Monsanto’s Chemical and Fisher Control Divisions, Anheuser Busch’s Corn Wet Milling Division, and Royal Gist-brocades Enzyme business (now DSM). He also participated in three early stage start-ups that were successfully sold: Econics, DDS Sugars and Carolina Intl Textiles.  Jim has authored many publications covering biomass commercialization and reports for the National Renewable Energy, Idaho and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.  He has made numerous presentations to investment, scientific, and government forums on subjects across the cellulosic supply chain for biorefineries.

Terry Podgorski, ASA (Machinery and Equipment Appraisals) – U.S.

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.

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.

Alan Jacobson (Ethanol 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.

Paul Martin (Pacific Rim/Oceania 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.