4 Minutes with Jeff Passmore, CEO, Passmore Group

July 12, 2015 |

img_jeffTell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Passmore Group offers expertise in strategic investor relations, project capital attraction – including government non-dilutive subordinated debt, site location assessment – including feedstock availability and price, and corporate communications. The goal is the more rapid commercialization and deployment of technologies in the bioeconomy.

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

Focus is on getting steel in the ground for your first commercial plant.

Every conversation about project development will begin and end with a discussion of capital – both debt and equity.

You must convince a lender/investor that all project risks can be managed:

technology risk (will it work)

construction and operating risk (on time/on budget/on performance)

feedstock risk (guaranteed volumes at fixed price)

offtake risk (purchase agreement(s) with a customer(s), hedging strategy)

scale-up risk (independent engineering assessment)

management team risk (degree of business acumen, management continuity)

Understand that investors typically assume the worst case financial outcome, and act accordingly.

If technology can also help meet governments’ policy objectives, (as with biomass to fuels and chemicals), take advantage of that opportunity to reduce the private sector’s exposure to financing risk.

No use having a clever idea if you can’t get it to market.

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

On spec commercialization – competitive price and performance for bio-based sugars

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

Certainty is the mother of investment. To attract investors to first or second of kind new technology, project developers need certainty. If governments put policies in place to encourage bio-economy commercialization, said policies must be in place for the long term. Snap! Governments suddenly understand the challenges of the private sector.

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?  

Replacing the hydro carbon economy with the carbohydrate economy. Great way to improve health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I have grandchildren.

Where are you from? 

Born in lake country in northwestern Ontario, where I got used to lots of cold and snow. Then moved west to the prairies where it was even colder. Then, after living a few years in the big city of Toronto, moved to Ottawa to get a better understanding of the vagaries of government.

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

Majored in Political Science and English Literature at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Didn’t know the school very well, and had never been to Hamilton but wanted the challenge of something completely new. Also studied in Quebec City (French women you know), and Carleton University in Ottawa.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

My Father – taught me honesty and integrity.
My first boss (a dairy farmer) – taught me the value of hard work.
All the people I’ve ever worked with from bosses to peers to employees who taught me to listen, to be humble, and that everyone has value to add.

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

Patience

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

Swimming in the summer, travelling globally with my wife, gardening, reading, cooking and dining with family and friends.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

Nothing about food or wine because that would just create longing for what I couldn’t have.

I’d want two novels, and a travel book (“1000 places to visit”) that took my imagination far away.

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

Poland by James Michener
The Man who Saved Britain: A personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond by Simon Winder
Bloomberg Businessweek: The Code Issue, June/’15

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

Amsterdam. London. Bangkok
Then Italy
Then India

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Category: Million Minds

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