4 minutes with…Cindy Thyfault, CEO, Westar Trade Resources

November 27, 2014 |

thyfaultTell us about your organization and it’s role in the advanced bioeconomy.

Westar is an international boutique consulting firm that has assisted companies in obtaining over $1.1 billion in grants and guaranteed loan funding from the USDA, DOE, DOD, SBA, and ECAs as well as private funding programs. We specialize in assisting companies with new or emerging technologies that are ready for commercial financing.

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

I am the Founder and CEO of Westar, and I am focused on bringing new financing solutions for use for the “bio” industry worldwide to develop commercialization of these technologies and leverage equity capital.
I am also interested working with developers in key areas of the world that are under-served both technologically and financially, but that have tremendous potential.

I also serve as an Appointed Member for the Secretary of Commerce’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC). The RE&EEAC advises the United States Department of Commerce Secretary on competitiveness issues facing U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports. I am also a supporter of CAAFI and their development efforts worldwide, and I am supporting this effort by speaking at worldwide conferences as well as serving on the Business Development Committee. I am a member of the ACORE Leadership Council for ACORE, and I serve on the Transportation Committee.

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

The first milestone that must be accomplished is to build commercial facilities that demonstrate consistent financial and technical performance, to bring credibility to the industry. The second milestone is to develop a comprehensive long-term energy policy for the USA that brings a level playing field for all forms of energy.

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

The political and financial instability of the lack of a long-term energy policy that the majority of Americans could support, and that could also be a model for worldwide energy policy and development for all nations. If we could develop this framework internationally renewable energy could have the foundation to grow responsibly and quickly.

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 have worked for over 20 years to add value to agricultural products, to see that happening in this industry is very satisfying.
I also believe that localized energy production will be the “new normal” within the next 50 years and I am energized to be a part of creating that.

Where are you from? 

I grew up on a family farm in Kansas during the 70’s. My father drove a tractor to Washington DC to protest high energy prices and low farm prices, as well as formed a farmer cooperative which he managed. My childhood has had a profound influence in my professional work.

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

I completed college at West Texas A & M in Canyon, Texas with a degree in Business with an emphasis on International Business. I was living in the Panhandle of Texas at that time and I wanted to learn business skills that I could use to start my own business and work internationally.

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

My mentor in college, Paul Eimon, was an international minerals geologist and he encouraged me to become a consultant and open my own business. He taught me to be curious about the world, and introduced me to a wide range of people. He also had a passion for developing international business in the Texas Panhandle, and he formed a civic organization that I also served in. It was my first leadership position in public service.

My international business professor, Dr. Anwar, also trained and encouraged me to think big and worldwide, and how to culturally adapt.

Richard Altman is a current mentor to me, his passion for bringing renewable jet fuel to the nations and developing international networks of similar CAAFI organizations has inspired me to give to that effort as well.

Chris Cassidy National Renewable Energy Director with USDA has also inspired me, and his infectious enthusiasm for this industry and his tireless dedication have been great lessons as well.

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

I truly believe in the power of “No,” and if I write one book that I believe could have the power to change people’s lives this would be it. I can honestly look back at periods of adversity where the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for, and see that those times were pivotal in driving me forward into a new career, business opportunity, and also personal relationships.

I can also look back and see that if any of those situations would have turned out differently, it would have altered the trajectory of my life and I am grateful and thankful for the lessons I have learned and the fun I have had and the opportunities that are in front of me for the future.

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

I love to hike in the beautiful,lush woods around San Francisco, eat delicious food, design clothes for myself and others, and spend time with my family and close friends.

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

The Bible in The Voice translation, a journal to write in, and a sketchbook.

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

I am reading “Killer Clothes”, about the effects of toxicity in the fabric and fiber industry, “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard, and “Your Hidden Riches – Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose” by Chris and Janet Attwood.

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

Paris, France and Venice, Italy are two places I like to hang out and relax. You will find me sitting outside and drinking wine or a cappuccino at the local cafe and “people watching,” enjoying the magnificent art museums and cathedrals, and walking the streets to revel in the unique and interesting clothing designs and architecture.

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Category: Million Minds

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