4 Minutes With…Scott Chabina, Director, Carl Marks Advisory Group

October 29, 2014 |

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

We have extensive experience in the Advanced Bioeconomy, notably having completed more transactions in the domestic ethanol industry than any other financial advisor in recent history. Carl Marks has successfully represented clients across the capital structure in properly evaluating the myriad of strategic alternatives available to enhance value.

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

We are extremely fortunate to be working with some of the most exciting companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy. Our specific role in each of these engagements varies, but at the end of the day our clients come to us seeking to leverage our extensive advisory experience in the biofuels sectors and deep relationships with capital providers, strategic investors and financial sponsors.

Our current engagements range from assisting a number of conventional, first-generation ethanol production facilities explore a wide range of strategic alternatives now available, to assisting higher-margin, second-generation advanced biofuel producers and biorefineries examine potential strategies for expanding or, in some instances, creating a supply chain and distribution network while developing the necessary infrastructure to support a successful roll-out of commercial volumes of their biofuels and related high-value co-products. It is an extremely dynamic and exciting time.

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

I believe that the primary objective/immediate critical milestone for the industry is to have existing projects in the U.S. reach their respective commercial volumes on time. Undeniably, this will have broader implications for the sector, various financing options available for subsequent advanced projects and the overall health of the industry.

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

Stable federal policies and established feedstock supply chains are critical. I think a great deal may be accomplished simply through better “œexpectation management”. It’s important to manage the expectations of the wider investor base, as well as the media, to ensure all parties are viewing the end game through the same lens.

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 believe strongly that we are at an exciting crossroads in the industry’s history, wherein we may see the beginning of a fundamental shift in the global biofuels industry. Many of the clients with whom we are presently working have the potential to truly transform ancillary industries through valuable co-products.

Where are you from? 

Syosset, N.Y.

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

I received my B.A. in Economics from Colgate University. I knew early on that I wanted to attend a smaller, liberal arts college as opposed to a large university. I was attracted to the idea of getting to know my professors and classmates in a more intimate setting. The student body at Colgate is incredibly engaged and passionate about the school.

Who do you consider your mentors. What have you learned from them?

My grandmother, Margaret, has always been able to set a very strong example for me. She helped my grandfather create a successful business (now a third-generation family company) and has always been an incredibly positive and supportive role model in my life. Earlier this month she celebrated both her 94th birthday and becoming a great grandmother! Pretty amazing stuff.

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

I love golf and boating and try my best to get out on the links (handicap not disclosed) or the water as much as possible in the summer. On a personal note, I have previously been involved with the Alzheimer’s Association and even served as the Vice President of the Junior Committee here in NYC a few years ago.

What 3 books would you take to read, if stranded on a desert island?

I would want to re-read “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson and, since I would definitely have some time on my hands, Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos.” Also, “Catcher in the Rye” ” I haven’t come across that book since I was a teenager and it’d be nice to give it a slightly more “thoughtful” read.

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

I finally got the opportunity to dive into Dan Yergin’s, “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World” a few months ago and strongly recommend this to everyone. It is amazing to see how energy has implications on virtually every facet of our lives.

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

My wife and I would love to find some time to return to Napa. We were fortunate to spend some time there at the beginning of our honeymoon a few years ago and absolutely fell in love with the place. The smell of the air, the beautiful, serene backdrop and just the sense of relaxation we experienced there still stands out to us.

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Category: Million Minds

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