4 Minutes With…Ron Cascone, Principal, Nexant

September 21, 2014 |

casconeIf you’ve been to ABLC, you’ve likely seen a hugely-popular session where we turn the tables — instead of having CEOs present their companies and technologies, we have technical diligence experts look at companies and technologies with a critical eye — pointing out the question marks and “still to be proven” aspects as well as “now, that’s a real breakthrough if they prove it, wow” aspects. One of the experts who sits in the hot seat — that’s Ron Cascone.

He’s also a steady visitor to the Digest mailbox, gently correcting us when we have gone astray on technologies or concepts, as he does for so many companies in the sector through Nexant’s high-profile service offerings.

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

Performed over 40 due diligence/project IE assignments recently in this sector, plus feasibility studies, partnering screenings, value engineering, strategy advice, Petro-Bio industry training, Webinars, conference papers, white papers, articles, etc., and many Nexant Thinking® multi-client Products (PERP, Biorenewable Insights, Topical Reports)

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

• Under the brand of “Nexant Thinking”, spearing-heading marketing and assisting in execution of Biorenewable Insights, a 15-report per year multi-client subscription program ranging across key Advanced Bioeconomy topics
• Advising in executing a new multi-client report, Biorenewable Financing Under the Microscope
• Reaching out to technology developers, financial institutions, government agencies, and energy, chemical, agricultural, and packaging brand owner strategic interests for additional due diligence / project IE assignments
• Participating in these assignments to stay at the leading edge of activities and thinking

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

Cost of capital

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?

Need for sustainable fuels and materials

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

•Showcasing our new Nexant Thinking “Biorenewable Insights” and Biorenewable Financing
•Keeping up with the pulse of the sector
•Networking with current clients and potential new

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

Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College
Because it was the most challenging curriculum, and I was a self-confident student interested in science, especially chemistry, and engineering. I had a full-tuition New York State Engineering scholarship, and might have gone to say, Cornell or RPI, I needed to live at home to avoid boarding expenses

Who do you consider your mentors?

Two main lifetime mentors (both MIT graduates):
-Manfred Gans, Senior VP of Scientific Design Co. in the 1960s- 1980s, and eventually my business partner in the consultancy and plastics manufacturer, TEDA 1985-1988. He was a WW II British Commando hero. His obit in the NYTimes was 1/2 page with wartime photos citing several salient exploits. He taught me the principles of plant operation, teaming, and to be intrepid, as he was.
-Mort Metzger, Head of Utilities Design. Taught me how to think on my feet, practical thermodynamic concepts, heat engines, fuels, practical estimation, and “how to add 2 and 3 to get 5”, as he described his competence

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

Trust myself, and think outside the box

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

Cooking and more cooking, foraging wild foods like ramps and mushrooms, food in general, gardening, walking/playing with my Jack Russell terrier, movies, local politics (e.g., Hastings on Hudson Conservation Commission), serving on the board of a local green building non-profit

My extreme catamaran sailing is replaced my more comfortable yachts.

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

-Robert Burns Poems
-Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution-and How It Can Renew America – Thomas Friedman
-The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

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

-All of C&EN, weekly
-New York Times, daily

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

All of Italy, especially Venice

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Category: Million Minds

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