4 minutes with… Mark Warner, Founder, Warner Advisors

0b7e8f2Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Warner Advisors LLC is a consulting firm focused on delivering commercialization assistance for emerging technology clients in biofuels, biochemicals and food. Our focus is on early stage technology start-ups in the emerging bioeconomy. We are experts in commercialization from bench-top, through pilot to commercial scale facilities.

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

My strength is taking technologies from concept to commercial operation within the advanced bioeconomy. This involves developing the technology to a robust state and working through the complexities of engineering, construction and startup, to bring a technology to commercial production. I enjoy helping companies take innovative technologies and build them into first of a kind commercial operations. I formed Warner Advisors LLC to provide senior level technical experience with a track record of success to early stage companies. This provides an option for ventures that are not ready to hire a Head of Engineering, but need some level of support and guidance to help them take their technology forward to a successful commercial operation.

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

Continue to expand the number of technologies that are brought to commercial operation and increase the success rate of the ventures. We need to find the balance of keeping the lean-forward drive of the advanced bioeconomy, tempered a little to make sure the ventures have their technology and commercial arrangements ready for prime time.

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

The often unreasonable expectations of timing and ramp up for technologies that are common in the Advanced Bioeconomy. I understand the need for venture funding returns, but I often see projects fail due to completely unreasonable timelines that require skipping necessary steps. We need to use lessons learned to reset future expectations.

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?  

The drive and push to get things done. I am a process engineer at heart and enjoy the challenge of bringing new technologies forward to be the first commercial plant. I have been doing this for nearly 10 years and it still motivates me today.

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

My biggest lesson about adversity is not to be surprised when it comes, especially in the advanced bioeconomy. Given the drive and pace that things are done, combined with the fact that many of these technologies or forging now ground, adversity is a certainty. You need to stay nimble, adapt and not let the adversity throw you off your path.

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