Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.
Since retiring from USDA in 2012, I have continued to work with local communities, businesses, and agriculture producers in accessing federal and private financial programs that support renewable energy, renewable chemical and bio-based product development.
Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months?
With the continuing implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill, there are many new opportunities for entities to access financial assistance to support the advancement of new technologies, energy crop establishment, supply chain logistics, demonstration/pilot and commercial scale development. I will continue working with my clients to identify funding opportunities and shepherd the development of applications to access funding.
What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?
1. Continue to reduce feedstock supply and logistics cost while providing bioeconomy opportunities to the producers of the feedstock.
2. Continue to ramp up commercialization
3. Document and proactively provide information to the public on the sustainable(socio-economic and environmental) benefits
If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change?
Lack of long term policy stability.
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?
Advancing sustainable (social-econmmic and environmental ) solutions for a prosperous and healthier planet.
Where are you from?
Born in Abingdon, VA and raised on a small tobacco and cattle family farm in Southwest Virginia.
What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Engineering from VA Tech. With my rural roots, a desire to advance the agriculture industry while providing much needed economic opportunities to rural areas , and a keen interest in math and the sciences- I decided an engineering degree would provide a solid basis for my career.
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?
Aubrey Brown was both my elementary and high school principal. Though his continued encouragement and support, I gained the confidence needed to accept challenges and pursue my post high school education.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his devotion to making rural America a better place to live through the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. He was a champion at providing challenges, opportunities and support to me while I was employed with USDA.
What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?
Always stay true to my convictions and beliefs.
What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?
Gardening, hiking, biking, reading novels, and travel
What books or articles (excluding The Digest) are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?
Never Go Back–Lee Child
The Collectors – David Baldacci
2015 Sustainable Energy in America Fact Book- Bloomberg New Energy Finance
What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?
Southwest VA Mountains