4 Minutes With…Michael McAdams, President, Advanced Biofuels Association

September 7, 2014 |

mcadamsMike McAdams is well and widely-known in the advanced bioeconomy for his work in bringing the Advanced Biofuels Association to life. Less known are his years as a policy advisor to Lord Browne, CEO of BP, back in the days when the slogan was “beyond petroleum”.  A passionate advocate on the Hill for advanced biotechnologies — he’s also a mentor to a number of new companies and fresh faces on the Hill scene.

Tell us about your organization and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

The Association is a leading voice and advocate before the federal government in an effort to further the development of an advanced biofuels and renewable chemical industry. We have actively engaged both federal and state governments through testimony and membership engagement with a focus on education of key national policy makers.

million mindsTell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

My role is to keep the priorities of the members of the association before those federal and state officals enacting pending policy which impacts the ability of the advanced renewable fuels and chemical industry to move forward.

Currently we are extremely focused on EPA’s ability to approved new companies technoogies, feedstocks and fuels under the existing Renewable Fuels Program. In addition we are directly engaged with efforts in both the regulatory and legisltive processes which seek to either complete regulatory requirements such as the RVO mandates or effort to legislatively repeal or modify the RFS.

As of last year, we were one of the only national biofuel trade associations who agreed to work constructively with the Congress should they seek to modify the RFS.

The current debate between corn ethanol and other stakeholder groups who have sought repeal has played havoc with those in the advanced biofuels sector seeking funding to construct new facilities.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?

It is extremely important that we deliver a significant number of gallons in the cellulosic pool. Additionally it is important that we also continue to see solid performance in the advanced pool and growth in the undesignated categories of fuels within the advanced category. We also must see a consistent more expeditious regulatory system at EPA.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?

I would change the rate of uptake and consistency with the federal government. This is a industry of massive innovation. Many of the companies are moving in a number of different directions and the government must not only keep pace but stay the course of clear support if we wish for the financial sector to provide the resources to move forward.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?

As we move to 9 billion people of the planet we must have at our reach all the potential to utilize sustainable sources of energy products around the world. Advanced Biofuels and renewable chemicals offer a tremendous opportunity to provide part of a wide portfolio of choices. These technologies also offer diversity around the world.

You’ll be speaking at the next ABLCNext conference in San Francisco this November. What’s special about that week for you?

For me it is always the leaders of the industry and many key policymakers. It is a great way to take stock on what has occurred over the year and at the same time look towards the coming year. Following the midterm elections this conference should be particularly interestig relative to what might be on the front burner upon the return of Congress.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway? 

Political Science Virginia Tech, JD Washington College of law.

I chose Va Tech for it’s excellent reputation and its specific appraoch of giving students an opportunity to prove that they belonged to be at their school. It also provided me with an excellent prelaw education.

Who do you consider your mentors?

My father, He spent 26 years on Capitol Hill as a senior staff person to several members of Congress. He taught me that public service was an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. That is also had a responsibility to respect and work on behalf of the people who elected you.

Lord John Browne, CEO of BP, working directly with him as a policy advisor, I learned how thoughtful and important it was to the business community to have good relationships with governments where we operated. Without such we would not have a license to operate. He was a superb leader and treated everyone regardless of station with respect and granted opportunity through challenge.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?

To stay true to what you believe and carry on. Be who you are stay focused on what you can do and not on what others do to you.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Tennis, Deep Sea fishing/boating, Discovery of historic artifacts.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island?

The bible, to remind me of my faith.
The Notebook, to remind me of love and devotion
And a good history book to remind me from where we came.

In the event of a fourth, I would go for how to survive on a desert Island since I would need it.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

The Red Scope, a book by a navy Seal.
The War of 1812
The Marlin, a boys story growing up fishing.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?

New Orleans for Food.
Cancun for beach
Boston for the family.

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Category: Million Minds

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