Vilsack; POET, LanzaTech, Beta Renewables, Genomatica, DuPont, Solazyme, KiOR, Raizen, REG execs win Top 100 People in the Bioeconomy poll for 2013-14

December 31, 2013 |

BD-Top100PeopleIn the annual poll, voters reward key fighters on the RFS2 front, companies reaching scale, and pioneers in renewable chemicals. Top 300 recognized.

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

Vilsack was followed in the top 10 by Solazyme’s CEO Jonathan Wolfson; POET’s Jeff Broin and Jeff Lautt; LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren, Advanced Biofuels Association president Mike McAdams, BIO’s Industrial & Environmental section head Brent Erickson, Beta Renewables CEO Guido Ghisolfi, Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling; Renewable Fuels Association chief Bob Dinneen; and DuPont Industrial Biosciences chief Jim Collins.

This year, the Digest recognized a complete Top 300 for the first time, in recognition of the vast number of write-in votes and the distributed nature of the voting, in which more than 400 individuals received votes in the poll.

READ MORE: The Complete Top 100 Poll; PLUS, the complete Top 300.

“For the fourth year in a row, readers overwhelmingly identified US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as the most significant personality in the bioeconomy,” commented Digest editor & publisher Jim Lane. “But moving up fast were a number of key US Senators and members of Congress, and key trade group leaders — a clear recognition of how critical the fight for the Renewable Fuel Standard has become in the eyes of the voters.”

“Most importantly, the voters recognized scale, and actual production. No matter how rough the transition to scale might have been for a given company, tons produced were a key measure for any candidate.

“Increasingly, leaders of very early-stage technology, no matter how promising, have increasingly struggled to attract recognition, as have their early-stage backers, as attention shifts to larger groups of leaders at companies now reaching scale.”

Among top company CEOs were Solazyme’s Wolfson, POET’s Lautt, LanzaTech’s Holmgren, Beta Renewable’s Ghisolfi, Genomatica’s Schilling, KIOR’s Fred Cannon, Raizen’s Vasco Dias, REG’s Dan Oh, INEOS Bio’s Peter Williams, BP Biofuels CEO Philip New, Gevo’s Pat Gruber, Novozymes head Peder Holk Nielsem, DSM’s Feike Sijbesma, Sapphire Energy’s CJ Warner; and GranBio’s Bernardo Gradin and American Process head Theordora Retsina.

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

Among scientists, Michigan State’s Bruce Dale once again led the poll, followed by Iowa State’s Robert Brown, Berkeley’s Jay Keasling, and U Wisconsin’s George Huber topped the poll – among the biggest group of scientists ever to make the list, ioncluding newcomers Michael Adams of the University of Georgia, UCLA’s James Liao, and UCSD’s Steven Mayfield.

Joining Tom Vilsack at the top among policy leaders were US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley and US Senate Agricultural committee chair Debbie Stabenow.

Overall, leaders from organizations based in 15 different countries were recognized in the poll — the highest number of countries represented since the poll debuted.

However, Lane cautioned, “Voters continue to under-represent key international leaders who have made significant strategic contributions in deploying bioenergy around the world, particularly in Asia, but Asian leaders and organizations continue to keep a lower profile. However, some key scientists long overlooked have happily begun to receive increased recognition.”

In numerous 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 consideration management or leadership changes that led to vote-splitting.

ABLC 2014.

All those recognized in the Top 100 People in the Bioeconopmy rankings receive a complimentary delegate pass to ABLC 2014 – the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Comnference, April 21-23 2014 in DC — where industry leaders will chart and review new opportunities and challenges to the bioeconomy’s progress in 2014. More on ABLC 2014 here.

READ MORE: The Complete Top 100 Poll; PLUS, the complete Top 300.

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