4 minutes with… Al Kaczanowski, VP Marketing and New Product Development, EP Minerals

February 25, 2015 |

175fcc7Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

EP Minerals is a worldwide leader in diatomaceous earth (DE), clay and perlite. These unique industrial minerals are used as filter aids, absorbents and functional additives for a variety of industries including biofuels and biochemicals. We remove contaminants from feed stocks and we purify the final product by removing unwanted suspended solids.

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

Today, EP Minerals is known as the “go to” company when a challenging application requires a solution. EP Minerals has long been in the forefront of technological innovation; our customers depend on our being able to solve their needs no matter how complex or challenging.

In the emerging bioeconomy, we are focused on helping our customers achieve their liquid-solid separation challenges. We do this by teaming up our world class technical service members with our customers’ engineers and our top 10 list of filter manufacturing experts.

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

It’s all about economics. Hopefully, EP Minerals can help the industry improve its cost/gallon position with our time proven, flexible, and economic filtration solutions. There are newer and sexier filtration technologies on the market, but none as proven and economical as diatomaceous earth.

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

Definitely Political Instability – the direction set forth by our policy makers is way too grey.

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?  

I still believe that the bioeconomy will take over the fossil fuel economy…it will take generations, but it is inevitable.

Where are you from? 

Grand Rapids, Michigan but have recently moved to Reno, Nevada.

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

Paper Engineering at Western Michigan University. The program was a blend of chemical and environmental engineering with an emphasis on paper making. I loved this blend of chemical engineering with a focus on the environment.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

As a young engineer in the paper industry, I received advice from an industry executive to “always focus on the long term, build up a solid base before moving forward”. At first this was tough to do, but over time I’ve fallen back on this advice time and time again. Many companies have failed for not having a solid base, even though their early performance was nothing but spectacular. The companies that “do it right” in the beginning end up surpassing the performance of all the other early bloomers.

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

Welcome it and keep your eyes on the goal. Everything happens for a reason. The adversity that is experienced often helps build a stronger and better company in the end.

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

Mostly outdoor activities such as golf, jogging, biking, swimming, and hiking. Hope to do some tent-camping in Tahoe this summer.

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

A book on survival, a book of maps, and the bible.

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

The Oz Principle, The Back of the Napkin, and What to do When It’s Your Turn.

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

The Florida Keys have been a favorite for the entire family for many years. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a very close second.

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Category: Million Minds

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