Vilsack; POET, Beta Renewables, Solazyme, KiOR execs top Top 100 People in Bioenergy poll for 2012-13

December 21, 2012 |

In the annual poll, voters reward milestones met, steel in the ground and Capital Clout.

In Florida, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack headed the “Top 100 People in Bioenergy” as voted by the readers of Biofuels Digest and the Digest’s editorial board.

Vilsack was followed in the top 10 by POET’s Jeff Broin and Jeff Lautt; Beta Renewables CEO Guido Ghisolfi, Solazyme’s CEO co-founders Jonathan Wolfson and Harrison Dillon, KiOR CEO Fred Cannon, DuPont Industrial Biosciences chief Jim Collins, BIO’s Industrial & Environmental section head Brent Erickson, Advanced Biofuels Association president Mike McAdams, Raizen CEO Vasco Dias and Peter Williams and Mark Niederschulte of INEOS Bio.

READ MORE: The Complete Top 100 Poll. 

Overall, more than 300 individuals received votes in the annual poll.

“For the third year in a row, readers overwhelmingly identified US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as the most significant personality in the bioenergy movement and industry,” commented Biofuels Digest editor & publisher Jim Lane.

“This year, the voters emphatically emphasized the association leadership teams — reflecting a tough year defending key biofuels-related policies — and executives whose companies are putting steel in the ground and meeting their projected milestones along the way,” noted Lane. “Style points and exciting future plans mattered much less, this year, than accomplishments in policy and capacity building.”

“Companies that experienced unexpected scale-up challenges or project cancellations were recording lower votes for their leaders than in past years. Also, leaders of very early-stage technology, no matter how promising, generally struggled to attract recognition.”

Among association executives, BIO’s Brent Erickson, ABFA’s Mike McAdams, the NBB’s Joe Jobe, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and co-chair Wes Clark, the RFA’s Bob Dinneen, the ABO’s Mary Rosenthal and ePure’s Rob Vierhout were the highest in the poll.

Among scientists, Michigan State’s Bruce Dale led the poll, followed by Berkeley’s Jay Keasling Iowa State’s Robert Brown, and Dartmouth’s Lee Lynd.

Joining Tom Vilsack at the top among policy leaders were US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and US Senate Agricultural committee chair Debbie Stabenow.

Among researchers, Berkeley’s Jay Keasling and Chris Somerville, and Michigan State’s Bruce Dale, were the leaders.

Overall, leaders from organizations in 13 different countries were recognized in the poll. However, Lane cautioned, “Focusing primarily on technologies, voters missed key international leaders who have made significant strategic investments in deploying bioenergy around the world, particularly in Asia, but Asian leaders have generally kept a low profile.”

In several cases, voters paired votes for key industry executives and other stakeholders; these were correspondingly paired in the rankings by the Digest. In addition, the editorial board took into account management or leadership changes that led to vote-splitting. Some candidates had votes disqualified for rule violations.

This year’s top 100 will be profiled throughout next week in Biofuels Digest.

The complete Top 100 list is here.


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