National Biodiesel Board taps Donnell Rehagen as new CEO

October 31, 2016 |

bd-ts-110116-biodiesel-smIn Missouri, the National Biodiesel Board has named Donnell Rehagen as the trade group’s chief executive. Rehagen was named interim CEO in June after serving 12 years as NBB’s chief operating officer.

Now, when someone like Aquaman is first asked to join the Justice League of America, it doesn’t entirely catch the fans by surprise, but it was still nice to know that others feel that same way, and that a potential rock-star will get equal time with Batman, Superman and the rest.  Especially because Aquaman is sort of your classic overachieving COO, commanding the loyalty of all the fish in the sea but less well-known above the waterline as, say, Green Lantern or the Flash. Not unlike the case here with the NBB. Chalk up one for the unsung heroes.

It’s dead obvious, as NBB chairman Ron Marr aptly put it, that Rehagen has the “detailed knowledge of our organization and deep understanding of our industry certainly leads to a smooth transition. But the main reason we have asked him to take on this position is his proven ability to think strategically about our issues and apply creative solutions that lead to success.”

But also great to see that the NBB went through an exhaustive search — and we mean exhaustive — and confirmed, in the end, that the right leader for America’s favorite advanced biofuel was already at the wheel.

bd-ts-110116-biodiesel-2ndGood news, because biodiesel has some big opportunities and tough challenges coming up in leading the advanced biofuels charge. First, extend the biomass-based diesel tax credit. Second, expand the capacity. Third, expand the feedstock set so that the costs don’t soar for America’s drivers. Finally. to continue the effort to connect consumers with the awesome story of biodiesel — despite the efforts of naysayers and evildoers, — and all the while outnumbered something like 100-to-1 by the First Order. Er, we meant the forces of petroleum diesel.

Rehagen’s background

As COO, Rehagen managed the implementation and execution of NBB’s budget and the day-to-day responsibility of managing the organization’s program managers, staff and contractors. Additionally, Rehagen has led the annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, NBB’s signature event that attracts thousands of enthusiasts to learn more about biodiesel and for industry professionals to network with their peers.

Prior to joining NBB in 2004, Rehagen was the fleet administrator for the Missouri Department of Transportation where he was responsible for all aspects of the department’s $400 million fleet including implementation of their biodiesel (B20) use program.

“Donnell will be just the fourth chief executive to lead NBB in our nearly 25 years as the country’s largest trade association representing the biodiesel industry,” Marr said. “It’s that kind of stability in our leadership and our commitment to providing our membership the tools to be successful that has helped make biodiesel a 2 billion-gallon-per-year industry.”

Rehagen said he is excited for the opportunity take on new responsibilities to help the industry meet current challenges and prepare for more growth ahead.

“I have a passion for this industry,” Rehagen said. “I’m proud to be a part of the team that has helped lead biodiesel’s growth to become the first advanced biofuel to reach full commercialization, but I also recognize the challenges we face. It is incumbent upon us as an organization to define and manage a path that ensures we continue the industry’s ascent.”

The 14 Worthies offering words of praise

People always say nice things at the start of a chief executive’s term, unless the CEO’s address happens to be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — but the happy reactions of a wide selection of industry worthies are worth noting. If you do a document search on “leader”, “vision”, “focus” or “expert”, you’ll get the basic idea in a flash.

“I am very pleased that NBB has identified a strong and qualified leader for our key industry organization. I think highly of Donnell and believe he will do a great job as NBB’s next CEO. NBB has been the foundation to support a strong and robust biomass based diesel market, and under Donnell’s leadership will remain key to maintaining growth opportunities for America’s advanced biofuel.”
Chad Stone, Chief Financial Officer, Renewable Energy Group, Inc.

“All of us at the American Soybean Association congratulate Donnell on his selection as CEO of NBB.  We’ve worked closely with Donnell in his previous role, and now we look forward to working closely with him in his new role to continue to expand biodiesel opportunities!”
Stephen L. Censky, CEO, American Soybean Association

“I would like to congratulate Donnell Rehagen on his selection as the new CEO of the National Biodiesel Board.  At this critical time for the biodiesel industry it is important to have someone at the head of our organization who has a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of biodiesel and is ready to hit the ground running.  After a rigorous selection process, I am convinced that Donnell is the right person to assume this role.  I look forward to working with him to create a positive future for our industry.”
Bob Morton, Newport Biodiesel, LLC

“I am thrilled with the announcement of Donnell Rehagen being named CEO of the National Biodiesel Board.  Donnell has a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the biodiesel industry, and will lead our commitment to excellence in expanding America’s first advanced biofuel’s growth and usage throughout our nation.  I have known and worked with Donnell for over ten years.  He will meet both the opportunities and challenges of our industry with expertise, wisdom, and integrity.”
Greg Anderson, Nebraska Soybean Board

“ADM’s involvement with the National Biodiesel Board goes back many years. Biodiesel was first developed to provide value to America’s farmers through utilization of an ever-expanding vegetable oil supply and, in part due to the support and efforts of the NBB, we’ve witnessed the growth of biodiesel from a fledgling industry to a respected, reliable contributor to America’s renewable, clean fuel sector. I am excited to be a part of the leadership team as we embark on this next chapter of the NBB’s story. After a thorough search, including many impressive and qualified candidates, the skill, talent and expertise of the NBB team has been validated with the selection of Donnell as the next CEO. Donnell’s expertise and leadership will help guide the NBB, as Biodiesel’s premier trade association, to the next level of success.”
Kent Engelbrecht, Trade Manager – Biodiesel, Archer Daniels Midland

“The National Biodiesel Board is unique in both its diversity and effectiveness. Donnell has the skills that will be instrumental to maintain the continued success of this growing industry while effectively meeting our diverse members’ needs. Our extensive nationwide search revealed we have the best talent and expertise right inside NBB. I am all the more impressed with our team and look forward to seeing where Donnell will take this talented group and what’s ahead for America’s Advanced Biofuel and our trade association.”
Jennifer Case, CEO, New Leaf Biofuel, LLC

“Donnell Rehagan possesses the experience, leadership skills, and ambition to take the National Biodiesel Board to a new level. He has proven that at NBB time and again in his role as COO over the past 12 years. I am proud to stand by his side as we move the biodiesel industry into its next chapter.”
Tim Keaveney, Lake Erie Biofuels dba HERO BX

“The Governing Board was extremely pleased with the quantity and quality of the applications for the CEO position.  The NBB’s solid reputation and history of successes for biodiesel attracted many top notch candidates.  In the end, Donnell’s proven record of success at NBB made the difference in the final selection.  His deep knowledge of the participants and process in the growth of the biodiesel market means that NBB will continue its success.”
Ron Heck, Iowa Soybean Association

“Congratulations and best wishes to Donnell in his new position as CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. As past Governing Board Chairman and Chair of the Finance and Marketing Committees, over the last decade I have had the opportunity to work closely with Donnell in almost every aspect of the NBB organization. Donnell is passionate about biodiesel, committed to NBB (including its dedicated staff and members), and has a clear vision for the industry. He is professional, a coalition builder and focused on the growth of the biodiesel industry while being pragmatic on good business practices. We are all anxiously looking forward to working with Donnell to continue the unique growth and acceptance of biodiesel in the future.”
Steven J. Levy, Managing Director, Sprague Operating Resources LLC

“The National Biodiesel Board has played a key role to coordinate shared industry interests for the common good. Donnell’s skill set is the perfect match to continue the exceptional history of collaboration and cooperation that has built the biodiesel industry into what it is today. I am thrilled to see what is around the next corner with Donnell at the helm.”
Robert Stobaugh, Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board

“Donnell is focused on honest and fair dealing and effective and economic advancement of the mission. His interchanges are clear, direct and insightful. Donnell responds quickly, makes a decision and then executes. He is the perfect choice to lead the biodiesel industry in the future. He understands the needs of biodiesel customers, works for solutions and will no doubt effectively navigate any challenges we might face.”
John Huber, President, National Oilheat Research Alliance

“We are looking forward to working with Donnell and his team on continuing the success our industry has had these last several years. We feel very confident that Donnell’s leadership will pave the way for future growth for our organization.”
Steve Nogel, Ag Environmental Products

“Donnell Rehagen has been the ‘man behind the scenes’ of the National Biodiesel Board for 12 years and done a great job.  His organizational skills and internal leadership have played a very significant role in the success of NBB.  I am confident his leadership as the CEO of The National Biodiesel Board will bring future growth and success for the organization and our industry.”
Amy Sigg Davis, Vice President/Sales Manager, Sibcy Cline, Inc. and Affiliated Companies

“I have had the pleasure of working frequently with Donnell Rehagen and in my opinion Donnell has been integral in helping our association and our industry chart a number of successful activities to promote and expand biodiesel.”
Michael Ferrante, President, Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association

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