On the Move – U.S. EPA, Aemetis, Transform Materials, Swift Biosciences, Neste, Avantium, U.S. Grains Council and more

October 11, 2021 |

There was quite a bit of movement the past few months in the biobased world. From the U.S. EPA appointing a new Agriculture Advisor, a former Chevron expert joining Aemetis for renewable jet/diesel projects, 2 new VPs at Transform Materials, Swift Biosciences President & CEO moving over to KromaTiD, several changes at Neste, a new Chairman for U.S. Grains Council, and more big moves, it’s an exciting time to work in the bioeconomy.

If you have an “On the Move” for us to cover, please contact Helena Kennedy at [email protected].

EPA Announces Appointment of Rod Snyder as EPA Agriculture Advisor

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the appointment of Rod Snyder to become EPA’s Agriculture Advisor. Snyder will lead outreach and engagement efforts with the agricultural community for EPA, working to advance the Biden-Harris environmental agenda for farmers and rural communities.

Snyder is nationally recognized for his leadership at the intersection of agricultural and environmental policy, and joins the Agency after serving as president of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, the largest multi-stakeholder initiative working to advance the sustainability of commodity crop farming in the United States. In that role, he forged science-based consensus among stakeholders across the food and agriculture value chain on issues such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity, and pest management.

Prior to his time at Field to Market, Snyder worked for the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. As a longtime champion of agricultural solutions to climate change, he has previously organized farmer delegations to participate in UN Climate Summits in Paris and Copenhagen. In 2015, Snyder co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which has grown to be the largest and most prominent annual sustainable agriculture conference in North America. Snyder holds a B.A. in Political Science from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He resides on his family farm in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.

Aemetis Hires Former Chevron Environmental Technical Expert for Carbon Capture and Renewable Jet/Diesel Projects

Aemetis, Inc., a renewable natural gas and renewable fuels company focused on below-zero carbon intensity products, announced that regulatory expert Mehagan Hopkins has joined the company as Manager of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Regulatory and Compliance.

“My worldwide responsibilities at Chevron’s facilities, including working for two years in Indonesia, were good preparation for the regulatory work related to the Aemetis projects in biofuels and carbon capture,” said Hopkins.  “The Aemetis projects are in subject areas that are directly relevant to my expertise in addressing climate change and environmental liabilities in a way that create a more sustainable future.”

Hopkins has extensive experience in environmental remediation, site redevelopment, and sustainability.  During nearly a decade at Chevron, she built teams to manage sustainability and environmental stewardship programs.  She developed sustainability strategies, ensured compliance, and provided subject matter expert support for all domestic and international divisions at Chevron.

At Aemetis, Hopkins will lead EPA and other regulatory approvals for the carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects, as well as the sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel fuel biorefineries.  The Aemetis Carbon Capture Inc. subsidiary of the company is currently engineering and permitting two CCS injection well projects to capture, dehydrate, compress, and sequester CO2 from the Aemetis Biogas anaerobic dairy digester projects, the Aemetis biofuel plants, and CO2 from oil refineries in California.

Transform Materials Appoints VP Chief Human Resources Officer and VP of Operations and Execution

Transform Materials LLC, a green technology company with a patented net-carbon-negative process to cost-effectively produce commercial hydrogen and acetylene, announced that Julyne Derisse-Simmons joins its leadership team as Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Kenneth Flessner as Vice President of Operations and Execution. Derisse-Simmons will help the company achieve growth objectives and cultural transformation as the company continues its rapid growth trajectory. Flessner will play a key role in providing executive operations oversight for the growing company as they scale for commercial production.

“Julyne has incredible experience in expertly growing and empowering a team of passionate, talented professionals—which is key as we scale for commercial production and rapid growth,” said Stuart Jara, Chief Executive Officer, Transform Materials. “Her ability to strategize and lead our HR functions will elevate our Transform Materials team to the next level.  As a growing company we will certainly benefit from her expertise in bringing in top talent and keeping our people motivated and engaged.”

“Kenn’s strong background in global operations, plant execution, and supply chain leadership is critical as we continue to scale to become the leading green alternative for chemical manufacturing,” said Stuart Jara, Chief Executive Officer, Transform Materials. “His track record of propelling strategic change at engineering and process manufacturing firms, as well as managing multi-site networks driving billions in sales, aligns with our vision to drive a green revolution by leveraging our microwave plasma technology.”

Derisse-Simmons brings more than 20 years of experience leading HR strategy for global companies across a diverse range of industries. Before joining Transform Materials, Derisse-Simmons served as Head of Human Resources for Orexo US, where she launched a new HR function and helped manage significant growth during her tenure. She previously held HR leadership roles with Shiseido, British Airways, Verizon and Merck.

Flessner brings more than 30 years of experience and demonstrated success in managing supply networks including plant builds, production and plant management, transport and logistics, supply chain planning, procurement and investment strategy. Before joining Transform Materials, Flessner led end-to-end supply chain activities for Givaudan’s fragrance business in the Americas including oversight of the world’s largest fragrance compounding factory. Prior to that he led operating activities for all Linde America businesses, driving $2.5 billion in sales for the leading global supplier of industrial and specialty gases.

KromaTiD Appoints Nathan Wood, Former President & CEO of Swift Biosciences, as CEO

KromaTiD, Inc. announces that Nathan Wood, will be joining as its Chief Executive Officer. Wood is a seasoned executive with thirty years of experience in the life science industry and is the former President and CEO of Swift Biosciences, Inc., a provider of research tools in the genomics and related health care industry. Wood replaces Christopher Tompkins, who will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer.

During his tenure with Swift Biosciences, Wood raised private funding totaling more than $15 million to develop and commercialize a proprietary set of NGS library preparation products that served research and clinical laboratory markets, substantially grew revenue, and merged Swift with IDT, a Danaher company.

Prior to Swift, Wood held leadership roles in sales, marketing, product development and management at leading companies in the genomics and life sciences industries, including Life Technologies Corporation and QIAGEN Inc. Nathan served on BIOCOM’s Renewables Advisory Board. He has also served on the Board of Directors of GeneArt, Blue Heron, SB Biofuels and the College of Science at Oregon State University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree.

NGVAmerica Renews Leadership Contract – Gage to Continue as President Through September 2025

NGVAmerica, the national organization representing the natural gas in transportation industry, has extended its chief executive’s contract for an additional four years; Daniel Gage to serve as President of the industry group through September 2025.

Since Gage joined the organization in 2017, NGVAmerica has grown its membership and expanded its impact in Washington, DC and in state capitals across the United States.

Under Gage’s leadership, NGVAmerica has:

  • Advanced its sustainability focus and committed that by 2030, 80 percent of natural gas vehicle (NGV) on-road motor fuel in the United States will be derived from renewable sources, rising to 100 percent by 2050;
  • Extended the $0.50/gallon Alternative Fuel Tax Credit to promote ultra-clean on-road natural gas motor vehicle fueling;
  • Confirmed NGV’s extended 82,000 lbs. federal weight limit applies to state roadways in 34 states;
  • Expanded its membership base to include new fleets and clean transportation solution providers of all sizes; and
  • Established a Mobile Pipeline Working Group to further support the growth and expansion of renewable natural gas (RNG) production across the United States and Canada.

Change in Haldor Topsoe’s Senior Leadership Team – CCO leaves Topsoe

By mutual agreement, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Amy Hebert leaves Topsoe.

“Amy Hebert has been with Topsoe since 2018, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amy for her contribution and dedicated efforts in furthering our commercial offerings. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” says Roeland Baan, CEO.

The recruitment process for the next CCO of Topsoe has been initiated.

Neste appoints Markku Korvenranta Executive Vice President, Oil Products and member of the Executive Committee and a Member of Neste Board of Directors resigns

Markku Korvenranta, M.Sc. (Eng), has been appointed as Executive Vice President, Oil Products business unit and member of the Neste Executive Committee. He will join Neste in January 2022, at the latest, and will report to President and CEO Peter Vanacker. Korvenranta will transfer to Neste from Marquard & Bahls, Germany, and will be based in Finland.

“I am pleased to welcome Markku to lead our Oil Products business unit and strengthen our Executive Committee with his extensive leadership experience. He has a solid track record from successful transformational strategy execution in an international business environment,” says Peter Vanacker, Neste’s President and CEO.

Sonat Burman-Olsson, member of the Board of Directors of Neste Corporation, announced her resignation from the Board of the company. The reason for the resignation is her election as a member of the Board of Directors of the Brazilian energy company Raizen S.A.

The Shareholders’ Nomination Board of Neste has assessed that the Board will remain functional after Burman-Olsson’s resignation, and that the Board’s composition will continue to meet the requirements set out in the Articles of Association. The Shareholders’ Nomination Board will provide its proposal on the Board composition in January 2022, at the latest, based on which proposal a decision will be made at the 2022 Annual General Meeting of Neste.

Tetra Pak’s Nils Björkman nominated as a new member of Avantium’s Supervisory Board

Avantium N.V, a leading technology company in renewable chemistry, announces that Nils Björkman has been nominated for appointment to its Supervisory Board for a term of four years. The Supervisory Board will propose this appointment to an Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders (EGM), to be scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Mr. Nils Björkman, a Swedish national, worked for over 33 years at food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pak Group in a variety of senior positions around the world (Sweden, Canada, USA, United Kingdom and Switzerland). His last position was Executive Vice President of all commercial operations of the Tetra Pak Group, which he held until his retirement in March 2015. He has worked as a non-executive board member for several companies. Nils holds an MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics.

U.S. Grains Council Delegates Elect Willis As Chairman

The delegates of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) elected Chad Willis, a farmer from Minnesota representing the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, as chairman of its Board of Directors.

“I was drawn to the Council because I need dependable markets to sustain my farming operation. But as I’ve served the Council and, as I’ve been able to see firsthand by traveling to other countries, it’s a two-way street – to be successful, we need each other.,” said Willis in his incoming remarks. “As we recognize the importance of our grain markets, we must continue to build on our value-added markets for DDGS and ethanol. The value of global trade has so much potential if we work together to access them.”

Willis has been farming since 1997 and has worked in both the corn milling and feed industries. He was a member of the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council before serving on its board. After joining the Council, he served on both the Value-Added Advisory Team (A-Team) and was a vocal advocate for creating the Council’s Ethanol A-Team before serving on the Council’s Board of Directors and being to the Council’s officer rotation in YEAR.

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