Tell us about your organization and it’s role in the advanced bioeconomy.
Cool Planet produces high-octane, aromatic fuel blendstocks for gasoline, jet, and diesel, as well as CoolTerra enhanced biochar for use in agriculture and water applications. The technology has the capability of producing carbon negative fuel from the company’s distributed plant model that places the facilities near the biomass feedstock.
Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.
My role focuses on business development, marketing, government affairs, and project financing. The primary focus at Cool Planet throughout 2015 is getting our commercial facility in Alexandria, Louisiana built and operating. In parallel, we will continue to build long term strategic partnerships to deploy the Cool Planet technology both within and outside the United States.
What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?
Commercial biofuel facilities that can be economically sustainable regardless of government policy will need to be up and running to start a period of rapid growth and expansion.
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the advanced bioeconomy, what would you change?
I would put the teeth back in RFS2, that actually had renewable fuel mandates with penalties, or converting RFS2 into a national LCFS program.
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?
The ability to bring economic growth to farming communities, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce green house gasses, create jobs in rural America, and increase our national security.
Where are you from?
Lovington, Illinois. 5 generations of my family have farmed and ranched in Central, Illinois. Grew up raising black angus cattle, quarter horses and corn and soybeans.
What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?
I went to Rose Hulman in Terre Haute, IN to major in Electrical Engineering. Coming from a high school class of 27 students in Lovington, Illinois, I excelled in math and science and engineering was a natural extension of this. I figured out mid way through Rose that I wanted to be more of an entrepreneur, and set plans for business school.
Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?
George Bruce – Wichita, KS
My current management colleagues at Cool Planet
Steve Stenstrom – Pro Athletes Outreach
I have learned from all of these people the importance of balance, margin, and focus in my life. To love God first, and others as much as myself.
What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?
Taking a step back and giving myself time to think is better than pressing forward into a brick wall.
What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?
Cooking and travelling to new places
What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?
Picture book of family
How to get off an island for dummies
What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?
Thinking fast and slow – Khaneman
What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?
The south island of New Zealand