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THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

Mission

GREENHOUSE

POET team members traveled to Africa to build a greenhouse and returned home with a lifetime of memories.

Big Interests or Best Interests

Where does the oil industry’s interests lie?

Cross-Country Jaunt

Neil Young stops at POET to fill up with POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol

Voilá

New opportunities for the ethanol industry Summer 2013


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In June, POET team members traveled to Kenya, Africa to build a greenhouse for an all-girls school.

contents

by Kayla Schlechter

FEATURES

12

BIG INTERESTS OR BEST INTERESTS

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FINDING A SWEET SPOT IN SOUTH DAKOTA

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CROSS-COUNTRY JAUNT

by Lori Weaver The oil industry is pulling out all the stops to safeguard its territory and prevent ethanol from gaining market access.

by Darrell Boone The location of POET’s biorefinery near Mitchell, S.D – where corn and cattle come together – gives it a natural competitive advantage.

by Thom Gabrukiewicz In his trip across the U.S., Neil Young made a pit stop at POET to fill up with POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol.

Visit www.poet.com for the latest news, career opportunities and plant profiles.

38 VOILÁ

by Marcella Prokop New opportunities in the ethanol industry.


contents COLUMNS

04 IN SIGHT

by Jeff Broin

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06 FIRST LOOK

P / 605.965.2200 F / 605.965.2203

56 FROM THE HEARTLAND

ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS

DEPARTMENTS

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08 TOP TWEETS 10 PULSE 16 A MAN OF FAITH 24 NASCAR® UPDATE 36 PERSPECTIVE 42 PROJECT LIBERTY UPDATE 46 POET TREE 52 WALKING THE WALK by Steve Lange

In the spirit of its continued commitment to being good stewards of the environment, POET is proud to produce Vital using 100% recycled paper, with eco-friendly soy-based ink.

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POET, LLC 4615 North Lewis Avenue Sioux Falls, SD 57104

by Jeff Lautt

by Marcus Ludtke

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MAIL

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

Please direct all article ideas, as well as questions or comments regarding the magazine to: vital@poet.com

ADVERTISING INFORMATION POET 605.965.2200 vitaladvertising@poet.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS $4.95 per issue To subscribe, visit www.vitalbypoet.com

COPYRIGHT Vital is published quarterly by POET, LLC and other individuals or entities. All materials within are subject to copyrights owned by POET. Any reproduction of all or part of any document found in Vital is expressly prohibited, unless POET or the copyright owner of the material has expressly granted its prior written consent to so reproduce, retransmit or republish the material. All other rights reserved. For questions, contact the POET legal department at 605.965.2200. The opinions and statements expressed by content contributors and advertisers in Vital are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of POET. Neither POET nor its third-party content providers shall be liable for any inaccuracies contained within Vital, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. ©2013 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema info@gofunkyfresh.com


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IN SIGHT by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and Founder of POET

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777 Earlier this summer, we celebrated the adoption of our

Instead of guns and torches, this time our opponents

Declaration of Independence. Through friends, family,

carry billions of dollars from the spoils of oil. Our battles

fireworks and celebration, I hope you took the time to

are fought with multi-million dollar ad campaigns and

remember the impact of activists such as Thomas Paine.

national news interviews. Conflicts and public opinion

Our Founding Fathers, the ones who gave us the rights

are won in internet comments and Facebook posts.

and liberties we so cherish today, showed immense

Battlegrounds have changed, but the risks and victories

courage and determination to do what was right. Their

of this war may be just as important. With a world

ambition and suffering provided freedom for future

addicted to millions of barrels of oil, the ability of oil-

generations – all of this under the penalty of death if

producing countries to control the future freedoms of

they were caught.

our nation may be just as dire as the risks our forefathers

We could sit back and enjoy the freedoms and liberties

saw so many years ago.

we have now and not worry about protecting them. We

We need a strong frontline of support; soldiers who

really could. But my concern is for future generations.

understand the significance of homegrown energy and

Though not as extreme as Patrick Henry’s demand to

a healthy rural economy that are ready to stand up for

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” action will be

protecting America. Our voice and our truths are our

required on our part. It is our responsibility to preserve

weapons. And the more soldiers we have behind us,

and improve our freedoms for future generations.

the stronger our voice becomes. Just as our nation’s

When our founding fathers fought for freedom over

people in the 1700s did what was right, I truly hope our

200 years ago, it was so our country could be self-reliant

generation will do the same.

and free from tyranny. But, our addiction to oil has

It won’t be an easy fight. But just as Thomas Paine

caused us to depend on foreign nations yet again. These

said, we will “undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”

brave men of Paine’s era fought and died to bring a better

Because we know that the blessings of being free from

future to our country. But then, as today, not everyone

the strong arm of oil countries is something our country,

wanted change. Many supported the status quo and due

our children and our grandchildren desperately need.

to greed or fear disagreed with the vision of the Founding

Our vision is strong – an energy-independent future is

Fathers. Much the same today, a change in our energy

within our reach. And we won’t stop fighting until we

supply threatens other entrenched industries and oil

get there.

exporting countries. But, like the Founding Fathers, our vision is strong. It’s our turn to fight!

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Machines That Reveal Many Opportunities

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FIRST LOOK by Jeff Lautt, CEO, POET

The Secret of POET’s Success Over the last quarter century, POET has grown from a small plant in Scotland, S.D. producing 1 million gallons of renewable fuel per year to an industry-leading network of biorefineries with more than 1.6 billion gallons of renewable fuel, 9 billion pounds of highprotein animal feed and multiple other products such as corn oil, fiber and more. That growth and innovation wasn’t an accident. It’s the result of staying true to a couple core principles, which constitute the real the secret of our success. 1. We hire the best. 2. We cultivate a culture of success. I’ve often referred to our team here at POET as “the Yankees without the egos.” While some major league teams focus their investment in pitchers or hitters or other specific positions on the field, the Yankees stock every position with the best talent they can find. That’s our philosophy at POET as well. We don’t just fill seats here; we seek the best for every position, and that has positioned us to be champions every single year. I hope when people think of POET they don’t just think of our logo or our brand. I hope they think of a person or team of people that they’ve had the opportunity to work with. Because those people are what make our company great. At POET, so many people have a role in our products, from feedstock procurement to production, to engineering, construction, marketing, research and every other step along the way. But it’s not enough to just assemble the best. We must make sure that talent is focused in the right direction. That’s where our culture comes in. We recently reviewed our company’s culture, distilling it down to three core values: 1. We Always Strive for Excellence 2. We Embrace Change 3. We Aspire to Live by the Golden Rule Striving for excellence is something I see every day in ways both large and small. The most obvious examples of this is in innovations such as BPX, which has helped make us an industry leader in both ethanol yields and energy efficiency. BPX has helped us achieve excellence not only in ethanol production but in the quality of other products, such as Dakota Gold distillers grain and Voila corn oil. Our efforts to reduce water use through Total Water Recovery technology is another great example of how we apply the principle of striving for excellence. These improvements are the result of smart, hardworking people within the POET system who always look for a better way to do things, and their work has created incredible value for our company.

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Embracing change is a principle we exemplify at POET as well. In many other companies, people do things because “that’s the way we’ve always done things.” Doing things “the way we’ve always done it” has no place at POET. The previous examples I noted could not have happened if people weren’t constantly evaluating our current processes and looking for ways to improve. “Change” is a constant at POET. An example of this is our effort to commercialize cellulosic ethanol, which we are now doing as part of a joint venture with DSM. More than a decade ago when the nation was focused almost solely on building out grain ethanol capacity, POET had the vision to not only grow our grain ethanol production, but to also lay the groundwork for processing new feedstocks. That early work positioned us well, and it is exciting to see that vision now coming to fruition through Project LIBERTY, which will open next year. The final principle, “We Aspire to Live by the Golden Rule,” is one that must be evident in every interaction every day. To reach their full potential, people must be treated with respect, so we strive to do unto others as we would have them do to us. I know our team members embody this principle. I hear feedback from customers, suppliers and others about the genuine and positive people they meet from POET. We recently had 15 team members take a mission trip to Kenya to build a greenhouse for a girls school. Our POET team held fundraisers and spread awareness about the project, and they’re devoting their own time, talent and hard work to help make the world a better place. And every plant strives to give back to its own community in some way, through outreach, fundraisers and more. I’m proud of what POET has become in the last 25 years. What we are is no accident. It’s the result of bringing the very best people into this company and creating a culture where they can thrive. I tell interested candidates that POET isn’t for everyone. You need to fit our culture and be high-performing to succeed here. The team we have in place has proven that it knows how to succeed, and I know it will take us to even greater heights in the future.


BEHIND EVERY CAR, THERE’S A TEAM. After three million miles and countless green flag starts, American Ethanol and NASCAR® have proven Sunoco® Green E15™ to American drivers. And it was all made possible by one amazing team:

Learn more at AmericanEthanolRacing.com.

AMERICAN GROWN. AMERICAN MADE. POWERING NASCAR. The NASCAR American Ethanol™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. and Growth Energy. Austin Dillon and Austin Dillon’s autograph are trademarks of Austin Dillon. All trademarks and the likeness of the No. 3 racecar are used under license from their owners. NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.


TOP TWEETS

7/1

6/18

6/18

6/17

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Growth Energy @GrowthEnergy Grassley understands the market, blames speculation for high rin prices.

Fuel Freedom @fuelfreedomnow The price gap between ethanol prices and gasoline continues to widen. Why not choose cheaper replacement fuels? Fuels America @FuelsAmerica The RFS is multi-talented. What can it do? Create jobs, lower greenhouse gas emissions & reduce our carbon footprint

Chris Clayton @ChrisClaytonDTN Fast-food restaurants now want to eliminate RFS ethanol. Apparently, renewable fuel is pressuring the $5 super-sized meal deal.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

6/16

6/11

6/11

6/6

Guy Myers @GuyMyers3 @AmericanEthanol I use a blend of 85 and gas in my 2009 Lexus RX350. My son Mitch Miller turned me on to this Oily Bird @TheOilyBird Outdated Canadian oilspill response equipment = bad news for my cousins up north. Got my feathers crossed for them POET-DSM @POETDSM POET-DSM’s Robey: “We see cellulosic ethanol as the next natural bridge to energy independence.”

Sara Wyant @agripulse USTR nominee Froman tell Senate Finance he will look into 10% EU ethanol duty to determine if truly “unprecedented and unsupported”


6/5

5/24

5/9

5/6

Dept. of Agriculture @USDA Vilsack: Bad news is that estimates show >30% of food supply ends up wasted - approx 133 billion lbs of food each year

Sasha Forsen @sforsen The yellow fuel cap on your vehicle means that YOU can save big at the pump by filling up with E85!

Michael Scholl @Schollman628 Ask the Food vs. Fuel guys: Food price inflation rates are trending down - why?

Kelly Manning @kmanning Mercedes exec says build E30 blend in engine to use fuel value would be attractive to car buyers with ridiculous power and fuel economy

Twitter is a forum for thousands of conversations taking place in 140-character comments, with participants from all over the world. People or organizations are represented by user names such as @ethanolbypoet. The topic of conversation is often highlighted with a hashtag (#). This is a sampling of what’s being said about energy and biofuels. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC. WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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PULSE

6/24 “We think drivers deserve reliable choices at the pump. By denying the challenge from renewable fuel opponents to limit growth of clean, American-made fuel, those choices will be available to even more consumers.”

6/18

- POET CEO Jeff Lautt, on the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the challenge by the oil industry and others of E15 (15 percent ethanol fuel)

“It is a protest against the existence of a useful product not meant for motorcycle use, precisely because you can’t put it in a motorcycle. They might as well protest

for cars and trucks 2001 and newer.

6/16

“Oil companies will do anything to

windshield washer fluid,

keep competition from cutting into their

bubblegum, or any other

profits. That’s why they’ve launched

product found at a gas station

an all-out assault on homegrown

that’s not meant to go to in a

oil-alternatives like renewable fuel.

motorcycle tank.”

Consumers aren’t being fooled, however. They know oil companies are

- Fuels America statement regarding the American Motorcycle Association’s rally against E15

to blame for high gas prices and are demanding choices at the pump.”

interested in ethanol and want to learn about it because they see it on the racetrack running well. It’s cool that I’m able to help show the benefits of a clean fuel that runs good.”

piloting the No. 33 American

data showing that 59% of Americans

Ethanol car in NASCAR’s

blame the oil industry for high gas

Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan

prices and 80% think the nation should

International Speedway

industry has much to be reported on. Here is a representation of the past few months of news coverage. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC.

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

who have become really

the Advanced Ethanol Council, on poll

infrastructure and opinion pieces, the ethanol

||

are passionate about NASCAR

- Driver Austin Dillon, before

From issues relating to government policies, to

vital

“There are a lot of people that

- Brooke Coleman, Executive Director of

be using more renewable fuel

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6/13


6/10

6/3

5/3

“By trying to prevent the retailers

With their actions, oil companies

“It is critical to recognize

from blending higher levels of

are essentially restricting the

that if the RFS target

ethanol into their gasoline, [oil

sale of E15, a fuel option that

volumes are reduced (by an

companies] are preventing

helps reduce the price of

unwarranted Congressional

market competition, and the

gasoline. That’s why they should

intervention into the RFS as

court specifically noted, that,

immediately reverse course and

currently structured), this

‘suppliers are essentially

agree to ship blendstock that

could have severe, adverse

seeking to exclude retailers

allows the sale of E15 to more

consequences on renewable

from participating in the process

drivers.”

fuel producers as well as

of ethanol blending, therefore creating a monopoly.’ - Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, following the decision of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the court found that API and other associated special interests of Big Oil were preventing retailers from blending ethanol into their gasoline for sale

the entire rural, agricultural - Iowa Representative Bruce Braley, on oil companies refusing distribution of E15 to fuel retailers

5/28

“A large increase in crude oil prices stands out among numerous factors to explain most of the jump in food prices

community.” - POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels General Manager, Licensing Steve Hartig and Board Chairman James Moe, in submitted comments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on “Agricultural Sector Impacts” of the Renewable Fuel Standard

over the last decade.” - John Baffes, Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank, on a recent World Bank paper examining the cause of food price increases

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Big Interests or Best Interests? The oil industry is pulling out all the stops to safeguard its territory and prevent ethanol by Lori Weaver from gaining market access.

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On an overcast, late May morning in Dallas earlier this year, shareholders of oil goliath Exxon Mobil were crowded into a room, listening intently to company chief Rex Tillerson spin facts, figures, and findings to frame his latest report to investors. Tillerson assured shareholders that the oil-based economy was here to stay. Issues like depletion of fossil fuels, impacts of climate change and need to reduce emissions were of little worry. “What good is it to save the planet,” Tillerson demanded of the crowd, “if humanity suffers?” This apparent disregard for the need to diversify the country’s energy portfolio reflects confidence fueled by the mammoth power – and influence – the oil industry has enjoyed in safeguarding its territory, shaping regulatory action and shrugging off anyone or anything that might stand in its way.

Turf Protection Bob Casper, President of POET Ethanol Products, says he’s not surprised at all by the comment nor the money spent on lobbying, political contributions and misinformation campaigns. But it isn’t about safeguarding the consumer, it’s about safeguarding

market share and profits. Casper says Tillerson’s comments that there is no sense in saving the planet if humanity suffers is more rhetoric meant to plant doubt in consumer’s minds over renewable fuels. In reality, ethanol offers advantages – not suffering – for consumers. “In an open and free market, the competitiveness of the product is what sets the price and what sets the value. Ethanol offers a gasoline component that is more competitive than anything that can be produced through refining, so the oil industry is looking at protecting their market share. But when their products are based on crude oil as an input, they are going to continue to lose market share to ethanol,” he explains. Unfortunately, Casper says the oil industry is doing everything it can to ensure there isn’t an open market. “The regulation becomes the fortress of the incumbent because it is built around their product. It forms a barrier to entrepreneurs like the ethanol industry.” Tillerson has been known to openly mock alternative fuels in the past, something The New York Times pointed out four years ago when Exxon Mobil was grabbing splashy headlines with the announcement it was going to invest $600 million

in biofuels over the next decade. But that corporate mindset seems to have waned in the years since. Exxon Mobil has now backed off its earlier commitment to biofuel development and Tillerson’s latest remarks seem to imply they won’t be looking back.

Money Talks Perhaps nowhere is the oil industry’s true intention more evident than in its growing battle with the ethanol industry, a war it is waging with its wallet wide open. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil and gas industry spent $139,928,996 in lobbying in 2012, trailing only a few deep-pocket influencers like the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. The top spenders among oil companies for 2012 Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Chevron Corp., and BP. Exxon Mobil is leading the pack in 2013, spending about $4,840,000 in the first five months alone. These totals dwarf lobbying expenditures of the entire alternative energy production and services industries combined, which spent only $23,767,825 total in 2012. “The bottom line is when an interest group or lobbyist wants

Top Companies, Total Spent on Lobbying, Oil & Gas Industry PARENT COMPANY

2013 TO DATE

2012

Exxon Mobil

$4,840,000

$12,970,000

Chevron Corp

$3,660,000

$9,550,000

Koch Industries

$2,610,000

$10,550,000

Occidental Petroleum

$2,053,508

$6,719,195

Royal Dutch Shell

$2,050,000

$14,480,000

American Petroleum Inst.

$2,050,000

$7,310,000

BP

$1,980,000 $8,590,000

ConocoPhillips

$1,063,700 $3,863,736

Source: Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets.org WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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to have political influence, they create a narrative,” explains Dave Ladd, President, RDL & Associates, a governmental affairs consulting firm in St. Paul, Minn. “It’s important to create a tie to real people because those are the policy maker’s constituents. Suddenly, it’s not about Wall Street. It’s about Main Street.” While fossil fuel groups have mobilized to defeat the extension of modest tax incentives for several renewable energy sectors, the century-old tax breaks for the oil industry remain permanent. The oil industry maintains the tax breaks are necessary, despite years of record-breaking profits during some of the country’s most difficult economic times. The oil and gas industry spent in contributions to Congress. Contributions to federal candidates, parties and outside groups in the 2012 election cycle totaled $71,483,299 with 55 percent of the industry’s donations coming from individuals, 23 percent soft money and 22 percent from the industry’s various political action committees (PACs). The oil industry was able to take

advantage of new unlimited money vehicles, super PACs and dark money nonprofits, spending tens of millions of dollars each month of the 2012 election cycle.

Revolving Door Politics Bringing on experienced talent – people who understand the political process inside and out, who have allies on key committees and friends in key jurisdictions – is a tactic well-played by the oil industry. “These guys know the players on the playing field, how to interact with them and what narrative will assist them in protecting their market share and enhancing the bottom line for shareholders,” Ladd says. In 2012, nearly 60 percent of lobbyists for the oil industry were former federal employees – members of Congress and senior congressional staffers – creating a common “revolving door” scenario with such lobbyists labeled “revolvers.”

Best Interests or Big Interests? The oil industry’s ability to throw its weight around in the

political arena is augmented by its advertising campaigns, which paint the companies as caring about the consumer and the environment, not profits. According to The New York Times, over $150 million was spent on TV ads during the 2012 election cycle promoting fossil fuel interests, particularly oil and coal. Early in 2012, Americans for Prosperity – founded and funded by the oil industry’s Koch brothers – launched a campaign claiming clean energy stimulus dollars went overseas. Meanwhile, oil lobbying organization American Petroleum Institute (API) ran its own ad campaign featuring API Chief Jack Gerard. In the ad, Gerard claimed oil production on federal land was down, resulting in rising gas prices. In reality, oil production was up 240 million barrels on federal lands and water. With the election over, the oil industry has been focusing attention on the ethanol industry with a new vengeance. Currently in the crosshairs? The Renewable Fuel Standard and the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to

2012 PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates, Top 5 PACs in Oil/Gas Industry PAC

TOTAL

DEMOCRATS REPUBLICANS

Koch Industries

$1,741,500

$38,000

$1,703,500

Exxon Mobil

$1,679,000

$140,500

$1,538,500

Chesapeake Energy

$1,208,000

$169,500

$1,038,500

Chevron Corp

$697,000

$57,500

$639,500

Valero Energy

$661,000

$42,500

$618,500

Independent Petro Assn. of America $576,000

$26,000

$550,000

Source: Center for Responsive Politics, OpenSecrets.org

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allow a higher blend of ethanol for newer vehicles. The API, representing 500 oil and natural gas companies, filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court in early June claiming that transportation fuels containing 15 percent ethanol could damage cars and trucks. Later that month, the Supreme Court announced they would not hear the challenge by the oil industry. The appeal to the Supreme Court followed a U.S. Court of Appeals decision last August that trade groups representing the automobile, food and other industries did not have sufficient grounds to challenge the use of the new blend, known as E15. The EPA okayed the new blend back in January 2011 and gave approval for it to go on sale in June 2012. In addition to the E15 battle, oil interests have engaged the ethanol industry in a lengthy battle over the future of the country’s Renewable Fuel Standard. The standard is an 8-year-old law that forces refiners to blend alternative fuels in support of the country’s energy independence. Casper says all the spending by oil companies are efforts to use regulations as roadblocks to ethanol. “Regulations were built around petroleum. When defined for gasoline, no one envisioned ethanol as a component. So, we have to force ethanol provisions into gasoline regulations,” he explains. Planting the idea in consumers’ minds that ethanol will damage their vehicles is another way the

oil industry has moved an issue from Wall Street to Main Street, a narrative that is necessary to lend strength to their opposition to E15. But experts like Bruce Dale, chemical engineer, Michigan State University, have called higher ethanol blends, like E15, among the most tested fuels ever. Casper points out that Brazil has been using 20 percent to 25 percent ethanol in gasoline for years without the dire consequences predicted by oil companies in the U.S. It’s also important to remember, he adds, that no one will be forcing consumers to use 15 percent ethanol. Consumers will continue to have a choice. It’s likely the vigor of the oil industry’s fight against ethanol and other renewable energies stem from the industry’s lack of opposition when 10 percent ethanol became available at the pump. With another 5 percent market share looming with the approval of E15, the oil industry does not intend to be asleep at the wheel a second time. “They lost 10 percent market share when ethanol started becoming competitive in the midto late-90s before they woke up. They are not going to do that again without a fight,” Casper explains. “If they could compete, they wouldn’t care. But they don’t want a free and competitive marketplace. With that, they lose business.” But in reality, increasing domestic oil production means going after oil reserves that will be increasingly difficult to access. Those kinds of oil reserves will cost the nation a lot more, not just economically, but

environmentally. That’s not a part of the story spun by the oil industry, however. “They create a narrative that may have some threads of legitimacy to it, but is not really a part of their true game plan. The game plan in this case is to protect their market share,” Ladd says. He says oil interests are well aware most consumers aren’t going to look at what happened in Brazil, and they aren’t going to look at scientific research and trials. “Most people are just going to go by what they hear, even if it is anecdotal and not scientific. Oil companies know this, even though it is all about the overall goal to enhance the bottom line for shareholders. But to reach that goal, are you going to make it all about big corporations crying over competition or are you going to use a scare tactic about the safety of the fuel?” “This is going to be a fight to allow an open and free market and it’s going to be worth it,” Casper adds. “We’re in this fight because we know we can create a better value proposition than the oil industry can. And by creating value, we’re creating prosperity. We’re not going to give up on that vision.”

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A Man of Faith by Marcella Prokop

Fourteen years, multiple expansions and a visit from the President of the U.S. marks Steve’s Burnett’s time with POET Biorefining – Macon, Mo. Recently diagnosed with Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, Steve will leave the plant in the capable hands of his team, the ones he shaped and inspired to lead. Executive Steve exemplified the Golden C h airman Rule both in his personal and for POET, professional lives. Steve treated Jeff Broin, others fairly and with respect noticed this and insisted that team members very key at Macon do the same. trait about Ken Richison, Operations Manager Steve right from the I have worked with Steve beginning. for over 13 years and in that “Steve time he has shown me the is a true importance of listening to your l e a d e r, ” team and making sure that says Broin. you’re working together towards “He doesn’t a common goal. Steve has hesitate to always said you spend more take people u n d e r time with your work family than his wing you do with family at home so and teach you want to make sure that you them not can have some fun in the day just about along with completing your job. ethanol, but He always tried to do that at the about faith, Macon plant by visiting with the morals and team members and maybe a ethics.” few jokes here or there. “My Dad Darcy Anderson, Controller is a strong Christian. Steve has shown me the He believes importance of getting the team t h a t working together toward a man’s first goal. He was instrumental in assembling the Macon team. Ed Kacmar, Technical Manager

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commitment should be to God, then to his family, and then to his work,” says daughter Jodie Ellis. “Growing up, one of the biggest lessons I learned from my father is that you can achieve anything if you work hard and set your mind to it. I don’t know anyone who has a stronger work ethic than my father. He’s worked hard all of his life so that his family could have an easier life than he did growing up in rural West Texas.” Throughout the years, Jodie, her brother Brent and mother Gwen have proudly watched as Steve has developed the Macon facility to what it is today. Steve joined the POET family in October of 1999 as the General Manager at POET Biorefining – Macon, and has consistently provided direction for the business while building and maintaining relationships with Macon’s community members. POET’s President of Design and Construction Management James Moe says that it’s this ability to relate to others that has made Steve such a vital component of the organization. “He’s a very good relationship builder both within POET and outside the organization,” Moe says. “He treats people with dignity and respect regardless of the situation. One thing that is clear – all of the time – is his family is clearly a priority with him, as it should be. He does a good job of making sure that family is his focus, and yet he followed through in his business role to deliver results.” With a successful and exciting

tenure at POET, Steve is able to say something that very few can, he hosted a U.S. President. “Even though every stage of growth for the plant has been exciting,” says Jodie, “the most memorable moment [for him] is when President Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack visited the Macon plant on April 28, 2010.” This was one unique experience that came to Macon County out of the POET plant, but Steve’s impact reaches farther in the people he helped. “I have had more than one team member and a board member express how he not only helped them in business, but also had a significant impact in their personal lives,” says Broin. Steve has been a vital component to the POET organization for the last 14 years, and his legacy and beliefs are echoed through his team members. His guidance and leadership that will always be apparent at POET Biorefining – Macon.


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Produced by


What is

OCTANE? Octane is used to allow the engine to

compress the fuel further

higher compression reduces engine size which

increases mileage for vehicles

ethanol is the highest blend octane component of gasoline. In engine design this becomes an important property.

Octane is a fuel property that allows the engine

to operate at higher compression ratios

without knocking INTAKE

COMPRESSION

POWER

EXHAUST

This is the cross-section of a 4 cycle/stroke gasoline engine. This cross-section of a gasoline engine shows intake, compression, power and exhaust.

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OCTANE Thermal Efficiency

thermal efficiency of otto cycle

ALLOWS FOR

INCREASED COMPRESSION

0.7

An important characteristic

0.6

of engine efficiency is the compression ratio.

0.5

Increase the compression

Typical compression range of the modern engine

0.4

ratio, the efficiency of the

0.3

engine goes up.

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Compression Ratio

Typically, higher octane fuel is “premium,” costs more and is not as environmentally friendly.

WIN-Win

But, with ethanol, as the octane increases, the price of fuel decreases.

Ethanol is the lowest cost and highest octane option.

ethanol o = $

How is octane measured? Octane can not be chemically analyzed, but is tested through a machine.

Today’s octane test methods

What’s interesting is that the last change to the octane machine came in 1948 -

technology engines. The

65 years ago!

do not measure ethanol’s full octane boost when used in today’s modern, high “octane test engine” is archaic, but it is the standard method for testing the octane of fuels.

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Finding a Sweet Spot in South Dakota The location of POET’s biorefinery near Mitchell, in southeast South Dakota – where corn and cattle come together – gives it a natural competitive advantage. by Darrell Boone | photos by Greg Latza

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As visitors to South Dakota travel I-90 taking in the state’s striking natural wonders, one must-see stop is the world-famous Corn Palace in Mitchell. There they can marvel at magnificent 150-foot murals made entirely of corn and other locallyproduced grains, depicting scenes prominent to the area, and inside, learn more about corn. The original structure was built in 1896, in part to convince nonDakotans that South Dakota, with its drier climate, really was a legitimate corn-growing state. For local farmer and rancher Jerry Rubendall, who served for eight years on the state’s Corn Utilization Council, improving the prospects for corn in his home state was imperative. “Ethanol was just coming into play in the early ‘90s and I could see what those plants were doing for their areas and how much they were benefitting farmers and South Dakota,” he recalls. “I began to think, ‘Why not Mitchell? We have corn being shipped out of here by the trainload to other places, and we’ve got plenty of cattle that could benefit from the DDGs.’” So Rubendall and 12 other farmers formed an LLC known as Corn Palace Ethanol to try to land a plant for the area. The group began working with Jeff Broin, who recognized the area’s potential and was interested in building a plant there. But while corn and cows were abundant, good water wasn’t. The iron content was simply too high for an ethanol plant. “He told us that if we ever got the water problem solved, he’d come back and build a plant,” says Rubendall. “It was just a handshake agreement.” Years passed. Then in a stroke of

good fortune, the city of Mitchell signed a contract to get its water from the Missouri River, freeing up the lake they’d used previously as a source of acceptable water for an ethanol plant. The group contacted Broin, who true to his word, came back to build the plant.

Joining the Gold Rush By 2005, ethanol plants had proven themselves as good investments and good for their communities and the gold rush to build more of them was on. The stock offering for investors in the Mitchell plant sold out in a mere six hours. The new plant, featuring POET’s non-cooking BPX® process, started grinding corn in December of 2006. As expected, DDGs were a key co-product from the start, with the Mitchell plant quickly becoming the number one producer of wet DDGs in the POET family. The plant currently produces 68 million gallons of ethanol per year, from 24 million bushels of corn that is no longer being shipped elsewhere. From the start, its performance was impressive. “In our first six years, of all POET’s 27 plants, we’ve won the Operational Excellence Award three years, and have never finished out of the top five,” says Mitchell General Manager Becky Pitz. “Much of this is due to our workers, who are very hard-working and take a lot of ownership in everything they do.” The plant is a leader in technology and hasn’t discharged any water from

the plant since 2010. This fall, the plant will be embarking on a new venture when they partner with Mitchell Technical Institute, offering a college precision agriculture class that will utilize about 40 acres of the tillable acreage on the POET grounds. When Jerry Rubendall reflects on the past twenty-some years since he first envisioned an ethanol plant for the Mitchell area, he’s not been disappointed. “Back then agriculture was sinking, but there’s been a tremendous turnaround,” he said. “Now young people are coming back to the farm, people are expanding their operations, and this community had benefitted tremendously. I’m 72 now, but when I drive by the plant every day on my way to our ranch, I feel like I’m 30 again.”


ONE OF A

KIND A

s a child, South Dakota native Becky Pitz thought she might be a teacher or veterinarian, and becoming an ethanol plant general manager never crossed her mind. But after receiving her degree in chemical engineering, Pitz was working for another company in Mitchell when she noticed this new ethanol plant going up, almost in her own back yard. “I saw a chance to join an exciting new industry, move up into management, and make a difference by being part of the energy independence movement,” she says. Pitz joined POET Biorefining – Mitchell before startup in 2006 as the technical manager. Then in February of 2013, she became POET’s first woman General Manager, and one of the first in the ethanol industry. While some would consider this a lofty accomplishment, she keeps a very down-to-earth perspective on it all. “I really don’t think of it in terms of gender,” she says. “I’ve always been in a field with mostly men, and this is just a new opportunity for me. I just try to do my job the best I can.” Instead, Pitz – who balances a very responsible job with the roles of wife and mother to an athletic thirteen-year-old daughter – prefers to deflect much of the credit for her success to others. “My first general manager, Dean Frederickson, was my mentor and good friend, and had a huge influence on my career,” she says. “He took me under his wing, exposed me to all aspects of the general manager job, and helped me believe I could do it. I owe him a lot. I’m also lucky to have a husband who is very supportive of me.”

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A SOUTH DAKOTA

ICON

or whatever reasons they come – to see world-famous murals made of corn, for bigname entertainment, high school basketball tournaments, a prom, rodeos, business conferences, high school or college graduations, the annual Corn Palace Festival, or just out of curiosity – Mitchell’s Corn Palace draws over 500,000 visitors per year. For many, however, it’s an opportunity to re-connect with their agricultural roots through the numerous displays in the building, many of which are related to corn. “For visitors to be able to reminisce about growing up on a farm, or show their kids what a Farmall H was like is a very meaningful experience to them,” says Mark Schilling, Corn Palace Manager.

F

As visitors see the displays and learn about the many and varied uses of corn, prominent among them is POET’s display about ethanol. Schilling says that not only has POET been a great supporter of the Corn Palace and other local community initiatives, but that its products are far more vital than many people realize. “Educating visitors about how corn, through ethanol, is helping our nation to ‘go green’ is something people today need to know,” he says. “Ethanol has not only helped our farmers to have another market for their corn, but the byproducts (DDGs) have also been good for our livestock producers. Ethanol’s been a great thing for South Dakota.”

ETHANOL FROM

WHAT??? POET Biorefining – Mitchell’s Operations Manager Rick Schauer’s personal history with the ethanol industry goes back to a small plant in northern North Dakota in 1985. At that time it was hard to get much corn up there, so his company tried to make ethanol from whatever feedstock they could – barley, potatoes, wheat, rye, milo, even Jerusalem artichokes. “We were literally learning by the seat of our pants back then, but I got to see firsthand what a good product ethanol really is,” recalls Schauer. Then Schauer heard about the Broin brothers and their work at the Scotland, S.D. plant, and came to work for POET in 2004. He credits that move with helping to take his ethanol career to the next level. “It’s made a tremendous difference in my performance as a manager,” says Schauer, an avid fisherman and Minnesota Vikings fan. “And I’m still excited about ethanol. Even now, we’re still just beginning to take advantage of some of its unique properties.”

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NASCAR® UPDATE submitted by Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales and Marketing for American Ethanol

Summer Action If you’re a NASCAR® fan you know the action that follows the sport. The battles, the drama, the wrecks – it’s all happening around 200 mph. If you haven’t seen it in person, you need to. There’s just something about a car flying by you at those speeds with a deafening roar that really gets your adrenaline pumping. It’s this excitement that keeps NASCAR® fans coming back year after year after year. As one of the most loyal fan bases, NASCAR®’s millions of fans purchase over $3 billion in licensed products. At American Ethanol, our goal is to reach and educate NASCAR®’s loyal fan base on the benefits of renewable fuels. One of American Ethanol’s big events for the summer was at the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. American Ethanol partnered with the National Corn Growers Association, Michigan Corn Growers and Richard Childress Racing to spread the word about ethanol. American Ethanol was hard to miss in the fan zone and

the campgrounds at this race. In the fan zone outside the grandstands, we pulled in a biofuels education trailer that three Growth Energy member plants created and took on the task of educating and communicating the truth about ethanol to thousands of NASCAR® fans passing through. After a good conversation with one of our educators, even the strongest-willed ethanol opponent had begun to have a change of heart. As NASCAR® fans, they’re reminded that NASCAR® believes in ethanol. We also covered the campground with 1,000 American Ethanol Green Flags and rewarded those who flew our colors. Our rewards teams were so popular that they didn’t make it back to home base in time to see the race. Right now, American Ethanol plans to continue action like this in Iowa, Indianapolis and Texas.

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Sprint. The NASCAR Nationwide Series™ logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurancte Company.

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Austin Dillon continues his rise Austin Dillon, driver of the NASCAR Nationwide Series™ American Ethanol #33 car, had an impressive showing at the Michigan International Speedway. He finished 11th, his best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™

finish yet this year. After finishing 3rd in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship point standings last year, he is proving that he is on his way to being a premier driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ as well. His fan base also continues to grow and is apparent as the autograph lines at the American Ethanol trailer get longer and longer following each race. It’s this type of interest and activation by the NASCAR® fan base that is needed to counter the lies and myths about the ethanol industry created by our opponents. L to R: Jim Zook, Michican Corn Growers, Mark Kies, Michigan Grower, Austin Dillon, driver of #33 American Ethanol car, John Holzfaster, National Corn Growers Association

Follow Us Stay up to date on all the exciting activity happening for American Ethanol this year by following us on Twitter@AmericanEthanol and liking us on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericanEthanol. These pages will feature exclusive insider photos and behind the scenes coverage of the American Ethanol drivers and all the NASCAR action this year.

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Asante Sana In June, 15 POET team members and 3 family members ventured from the safety of the Midwest to Kenya, Africa. Our mission – to build a greenhouse for the all-girls school Traveller’s Oasis Centre. by Kayla Schlechter

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After 28 hours of travel, five questionable airplane meals (no offense, Delta) and one large, smelly seatmate, I arrived at the Nairobi airport. Truthfully, the trip out wasn’t that bad. Our airplane mates were as excited for our trip as we were. With a few of us sporting our Mission Greenhouse t-shirts, people asked, “What exactly is your mission?” We explained that we were building a greenhouse for the allgirls school, Traveller’s Oasis Centre (TOC), in Sultan Hamud, Kenya. The purpose of the greenhouse is to provide food for the school and to teach the girls the skills to be selfreliant. They offered support and advice. Many having been on mission trips themselves. Some even quizzed us on our Swahili before arriving at the Nairobi airport.

“Jambo!” (Swahili for hello.) That evening, we made it to the Methodist Guest House in Nairobi in one piece – a feat in itself. I can honestly say that I will never complain about Sioux Falls, S.D. traffic again. We were greeted and treated with smiles during our entire trip. Though there are several Kenyan ways of life that I wouldn’t recommend living by, their hospitality is one that Americans could absolutely benefit from. Their coffee is another. Some of it made it back to the U.S. in my suitcase. You’re welcome, Mom.

We’ve arrived We spent our first day with our World Servants representatives, Tim and Diane. An organization that provides cross cultural short term mission trips, World Servants coordinated the logistics of the entire trip for POET. Orientation included several cultural examples where we were taught how to adapt to the Kenyan culture, what would be offensive to Kenyans and mostly what not to do. Our drive to Sultan Hamud was an interesting one. Now, in S.D. a three hour drive means covering a considerable distance at a reasonable pace. In Kenya, a three hour drive means dodging trucks, pedestrians (who, we were warned, do NOT have the right-of-way), a few cows, traveling at turtle’s pace while trying to spot wild giraffes out the window. Which we did. Want to see excitement? Check out a bus full of Midwesterners seeing their first wild giraffe. The girls and players from a nearby futbol (soccer) tournament lined the road as we drove into the school in Sultan Hamud, a community of close to 2,000. Every bit of our practice to learn their language, Kikumba, was forgotten the minute we stepped off the bus, and we were lead to their chapel where several of the girls had prepared a program for us. They sang and presented skits for us on the dangers of AIDS and cigarettes. I was poked from the row behind me and this cute little girl with

plaited hair shook my hand and grinned. As the girls were dismissed, some stopped to give us hugs and handshakes. And we had our first encounter with Esther. This wonderful woman was small and soft spoken. The matron of the school, she welcomed us and thanked us for being there. I was a little bit caught off guard by her extreme gratitude. She told us of how the school started. Years ago, while she was eating her lunches, she saw young girls begging for food. She started giving away food from her lunches. Eventually, she started buying bread and milk for

Back row: (l-r) Josh Rensink, Kayla Schlechter, Miriam Sluis, Kristin Snelling, Ben, Tara Smith, Dan Machata, Neil Anderson, Emily Anderson, Ron Patton, Connie Hancock, Esther Muis Front Row: (l-r) Tim Gibson, Nick Eichacker, Larry Ward, Debbie Anderson, Linda Ward, Stevie Lewis, Steve Lewis, Barb Nyreen

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the girls. She went home one day and told her husband, Shadrack, that she had spent 20 schillings to buy food for these girls. He said, “20 schillings...? Here’s 100 schillings. We can do more.” And so the idea for TOC began.

Building Greenhouses The word efficient doesn’t exist in Swahili. In our orientation, we were taught that Kenyans care more about relationships and being effective rather than being efficient. That’s an American word, we were told. They were right. Our first day on the greenhouse site was a slow one. Then to top it off, once we got things rolling, we stopped for tea time. I could see a little annoyance in the American crew. And I felt it a little myself. But, there was no skipping tea time in Africa. We took a break and had tea, coffee, fresh papaya, mango and porridge. Yes, porridge. Mix it with sugar and it could rival some Starbucks drinks. By the end of the week, every one of us had tried porridge at least once and Esther had filled our plates two or three times. And breaking for tea time to visit with Esther, Ben and Simon was no longer an issue. I’ll admit, I wouldn’t be disappointed if POET started serving sweet bananas, fresh pineapple and porridge every day at 10:30 a.m. Back on the work site, we were putting up the side supports to the greenhouse and beginning to mix cement by hand. Kenyan work techniques are very primitive – similar to the way the U.S. worked in the early 1900s. Cement was made by mixing crushed rock and water with a shovel and ladders consisted of tree branches nailed together. Our progress on the first

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day was minor, but slowly moving forward. Esther brought her husband, Shadrack, to the worksite to meet the group. Shadrack is one of the most trained military officers in the Kenyan police. You’re probably picturing a formal military man. At first glance, he was. Then Shadrack’s sarcasm and wit won us over immediately. Upon meeting him, he gave me a hug, looked at me disapprovingly and said, “You eat more sausages.” And laughed and hugged me again. An American history buff, he spoke to us of how he admires America and he quoted President Lincoln. The progress from our second day on the work site was more significant. Knowing what needed to be done, we set to work immediately with direction from the Kenyan workers. Tea time came and unfortunately, our progress was not as far along as we would have liked it to be. Esther had arranged home visits for us at some of the students’ homes for the day. Our group split into two – half set off towards the bus for home visits and the rest went back to work. At the greenhouse, we had seven brackets left to finish for the morning. No problem, right? Wrong. We finished three, finagling brackets to fit in holes that didn’t quite line up. At lunch, the groups that had gone on home visits had a little trouble verbalizing what they saw. “So small…lovely woman…broke my heart…they are so happy,” were a few of the phrases I caught. “You’ll see,” is what they told us.

Kenya dwellings Swapping places, my group took off for the bus. Six girls jumped on our bus at the entrance of the school and directed our driver toward their homes. Fast friends was an understatement in this case. The Mission Greenhouse team and the TOC students immediately started asking each other questions. The Americans pulled out their cell phones and starting showing pictures of their kids, mothers, grandkids and homes. The students told us about their families, favorite school subjects and plans for the future. We headed out of Sultan Hamud and dropped off the first few groups at homes along the way. Mothers, brothers and sisters were standing in the driveway to greet their guests. Josephine had jumped on the bus with us at a neighboring home and I was dropped off with her and her daughter, Sarah, at her home. As we walked up her red dirt driveway surrounded by sparsely planted corn, Josephine, wearing a


shirt that asked to keep the promise to fight AIDS, asked us where we were from and what we were doing at the school. When we reached her house, we ducked through the doorway and saw an 8x10 room filled with plastic lawn furniture. Josephine had covered the chairs in lace table cloths and sheets for us. Christmas bows and garland hung from the walls with pictures tacked to tag board. We were visiting one of the larger homes of the group. Sarah told us that she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up. She had three older siblings – one now working in aviation, another in shipping logistics and the third attending university – and a younger brother. Her father died in 2002 – most likely AIDS-related we were told later by our World Servants reps. Sarah and her siblings had their school partially paid for by government funding. They were still looking for sponsors. Josephine told us how happy she was that we were here and thanked us over and over again for our help with the school. At this point, it had started to cross my mind that we were getting more out of this than they were. The thought was echoed by the entire group that evening in reflection of the day. We said goodbye to Josephine took some group photos and walked back to the bus. Sarah sat with me and asked question after question about my family and friends. She put her arm around my shoulders as we rode to the next home. Esther walked up to the bus at the next stop carrying a chicken and casually placed it under one of the seats. It was coming back to school with us. Picking up the other group of

Americans from the worksite, we headed back to the school.

Mixing cultures The girls were waiting for us in the yard when we got there. We stepped off the bus armed with soccer balls, jump ropes, sepas, Frisbees and other toys. The Americans and TOC students quickly mixed and challenged each other to jumproping and sepa contests. Both the Americans and the TOC students had to be pulled away from their games for the next activity. The Mission Greenhouse team had brought supplies to make Rainbow Faith Bead Bracelets with the girls. After going through the bracelet line, the girls came back again for a ring then for a necklace then for an earring then for another ring. They were thrilled that the extra string and beads would be staying with them for more beading projects.

Warriors The greenhouse project came along more quickly with another

full work-day (and tea, of course.) The side supports were finished and we had started to swing the top arches onto the greenhouse. It was our third workday and we left the worksite early to experience another African culture. Esther had arranged a visit to a Masai village. The Masai is who you might picture when you visualize authentic Africans. Still true warriors, they are the only group allowed in the wildlife parks to continue to hunt large game. We were allowed into a Masai village outside of Sultan Hamud. Walking up we could see two mud huts that stood about 5 feet tall and a cattle pen made out of bunches of sticks. The women were dressed in expressive fabrics and covered in beads. There were no men to be seen. Inside their tiny 8x8 foot huts, they had beds, a kitchen and a sitting area. Not one of us could stand upright inside, including the Masai women. They are master bead crafters and sold us everything that they had available as we left.

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The Kenyans and Americans worked together to build a greenhouse for TOC. Back row: Neil Anderson, Tim Gibson, Josh Rensink, Dan Machata, Ron Patton, Larry Ward, Stevie Lewis | Row 3: Steve Lewis, Tara Smith, Kristin Snelling, Miriam Sluis, Barb Nyreen | Row 2: Beau Schmaltz, Linda Ward | Front row: Debbie Anderson, Emily Anderson, Nick Eichacker, Kayla Schlechter

Winding down On our fourth and last day on the greenhouse site, we progressed quickly at first. However, we soon realized some of the pre-fab arches were drilled incorrectly. It felt like a one step forward, two steps back project. American attention to detail and Kenyan attention to detail are two very different things we

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learned. We moved forward slowly and made some great friendships with the Kenyan workers. Though we didn’t finish the greenhouse during our time in Kenya, we were far from failing on the project. The Kenyans are more than capable of finishing and will have an easier time with the tools that were left behind. Our last morning in Sultan Hamud was spent with the girls at the school. We learned names, made stained glass cross crafts and painted fingernails. We laughed and learned about each other’s cultures. The pictures show their beautiful brown eyes next to my blue eyes. The contrast is extreme, but it didn’t seem so as we sat next to each other. Esther had a surprise presentation for us as we left. Each one of us was presented with a hand-carved bowl as a gift of gratitude – gratitude that we felt towards them as heavily as they felt towards us. The girls lined the drive and sang to us as we walked out. They asked us not to forget about them. I managed 10 days without American luxuries, a clean


bathroom, internet and a cell phone. And in those 10 days, I fell in love with Africa by way of a woman named Esther and 120 young students at the Traveller’s Oasis Centre. Asante Sana, Esther. Though we came here to help you, I believe you returned more to us than we gave. You provided us a life lesson in humility, gratitude and friendship. I left a bit of my heart with you and the girls in Africa. Asante Sana. Thank you.

Grandma Pauline

Top: Josh Rensink and Stevie Lewis transport cement. Left: Tara Smith and Faith learn about the other’s life and family.

by Debbie Anderson

I’d like to introduce you to Grandma Pauline. At 5 foot tall, she doesn’t have a demanding physical presence, but her heart could fill a room. Her home is a tiny hut with walls made from the red Kenyan mud and a rusty piece of tin acting as a roof. It was dark inside, and it took a while for my eyes to adjust. I could see the daylight shining through the holes in the tin roof and wondered, “What must it be like during the rainy season?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a large insect scurrying under a tangled burlap sack she called her bed. There was a smoldering charcoal stove in the corner, and all the bits and pieces from her life hung in a small plastic bag in the middle of the room. Grandma didn’t speak any English and my Swahili is not what it used to be. But, mother-to-mother, it doesn’t take a lot of conversation to realize her love for her three granddaughters that came with us on our home visit. She was happy and proud to see them healthy and smiling. I could see she was at peace knowing that they would return to the boarding school with us where they live and receive an education. And a chance at a better life. She welcomed us with her beautiful smile. And, through Ben (our most charming interrupter) she told us the story of her life and her family – unexpectedly personal. My young friend Emily, 16 years old and near the same age as Pauline’s granddaughters, is stunned. Tears in her eyes, she’s not able to imagine being in their shoes and is overcome with love and gratitude for her own family. Grandma stood barely to my shoulder, hunched and smiling. The physical and mental demands of her life are apparent in her stature, but not in her smile. No language barrier could hide her happiness for her granddaughters and her gratitude for our mission. My heart has been touched and forever changed by this remarkable woman.

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Cross-country Jaunt In his trip across the U.S., Neil Young made a pit stop at POET to top off his tank with none other than POET-DSM by Thom Gabrukiewicz | Photos by Greg Latza cellulosic ethanol.

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For a singer-songwriter who penned the lyrics, “… got fuel to burn, got roads to drive,” Neil Young is belting out an alternative tune these days. Young has always been a rocker with a conscious. He’s played numerous benefit concerts, including the annual Bridge School Benefit in California each October to help raise funds for the school, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs, like his son, Ben. And now, Young’s travelling around the United States in a land yacht of an automobile – a 3-ton, 19-and-a-half-foot-long 1959 Lincoln Continental – that’s been reconfigured to run on electricity and cellulosic ethanol.

POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol Young rolled into Sioux Falls in April to show off the custom hybrid called LincVolt to everyone at POET headquarters – and to top off his tank with the country’s newest clean, green biofuel. “You don’t really see much about what’s really going on with the climate in the media,” Young said. “It’s just not a fast-moving subject, it’s kind of a slow-moving big story, but it’s not going to be going away unless we do something. We wanted to make a case that American-made fuel – something that was thought up and created here at POET by some forward-thinking people – we are able to use this fuel and get an 86 percent reduction over gasoline in carbon emissions, which is incredible for the planet.” A labor of love – Young financed the entire LincVolt project himself – he says the project’s goal is to “… inspire a generation by creating a clean automobile propulsion technology that serves the needs of the 21st century and delivers performance that is a reflection of the driver’s spirit.” The cross-country jaunt is one way to promote the idea that Americans can still have their big automobiles, but reduce their carbon footprint by using sophisticated, green biofuels made right here in the U.S. And to remind folks that significant amounts of POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol will be available to them in 2014.

Cellulosic ethanol is a fuel that’s made from waste. We have to do something or we’re going to kill the planet. It’s just obvious that we have to make a change.

- Neil Young “The fuel we use, POET-DSM cellulosic ethanol, is one of many new types of fuel made from waste and biomass, with one important difference; it is being made in a pilot plant with the goal of commercial application,” Young said. “During our trip across the USA, we will be demonstrating the viability of this fuel on American and Canadian highways. New cars could use this fuel easily, as well as gasoline, if the car companies made it possible. The LincVolt motor was built entirely by Ford Motors in America and cleanly burns 100 percent cellulosic ethanol and could conceivably burn any similar fuel type.” And that’s an important next-set in weaning Americans off of gasoline, POET officials said. When POET-DSM’s commercial cellulosic plant, Project LIBERTY, comes online in Emmetsburg, Iowa, it will

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POET has been a leader in growing the corn ethanol industry to approximately 10 percent of America’s automobile fuels supply.

- Jeff Lautt POET CEO

help usher in a new era of American-made biofuels. “POET has been a leader in growing the corn ethanol industry to approximately 10 percent of America’s automobile fuel supply,” POET CEO Jeff Lautt said at the 2012 groundbreaking for Project LIBERTY. “Right here in Emmetsburg, we want to build on that foundation and develop another renewable, domestic alternative to foreign oil, something we believe America needs.” And having a respected Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer tooling around the country, talking to people about the benefits of cellulosic ethanol just enhances how much is at stake for the future of biofuels in the U.S., said Jeff Broin, POET Founder and Executive Chairman. “We are really excited to have Neil Young involved in promoting biofuels,” Broin said. “He has taken upon himself to build this automobile with his own money and his own time – he spent over five years on it. He is showing that you can have a car that’s heavy, that’s bigger and that can haul some people, but is also very friendly to the environment. “He understands ethanol, he understands how that car works, he understands biology and microbiology, I’m just sincerely impressed with his abilities.” Young said the road trip is his way to help save the planet – one mile marker at a time. “Cellulosic ethanol is a fuel that’s made from waste,” he said. “We have to do something or we’re going to kill the planet. It’s just obvious that we have to make a change.”

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it could be your job to

change the

world

Project LIBERTY is a commercial-scale, cellulosic ethanol plant scheduled to begin operations in Emmetsburg, Iowa in late 2013. Operations will create approximately 45 new jobs in the region.

poet iS Seeking pioneerS to fill the following poSitionS throughout 2013: accountant // eh&S aSSiStant // lab aSSiStant // plant MerchandiSer // electrician // lab technician

Material handler // plant engineer // contract adMiniStrator // field coordinator // Shift SuperviSor // technician

To view positions or apply online, please visit poet.com

Project LIBERTY is a POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels Project


PERSPECTIVE Do you believe the oil industry is trying to limit the growth of biofuels? Why?

KHAHKASHAN KHAN, NAPERVILLE, ILL. LINDSAY BRANCA, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND AREA Do you believe the oil industry is trying to limit the growth of biofuels? Why? I could see ‘big oil’ trying to limit the growth of biofuel if they viewed it as a threat to their business, but with more companies putting a premium on renewable energy and promoting best-practices that place an emphasis on ‘going green,’ this is a fight they might not win. The technology, which uses both oil and biofuel, is constantly changing and evolving, and the more options there are for consumers means more opportunities for development and growth within the industry.

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Do you believe the oil industry is trying to limit the growth of biofuels? Why? The oil industry is definitely trying to limit growth of biofuels. I am so vociferous about this because I sincerely believe we are leaving behind a planet that we have trashed for personal and selfish reasons. I worked as an educator in Saudi Arabia for 12 years and enjoyed the luxurious life an oil rich country had to offer. The people are wealthy because they are fortunate to have crude oil reserves in their part of the world. Global economy relies heavily on crude oil prices and several industries from textiles to cosmetics are oil based. It is only logical to conclude that the oil industry monopolizes the system and companies dealing with alternate fuels struggle to stay afloat.


STACY FREEMAN, LONG BEACH, CALIF.

MARK VEIT, CAPE CORAL, FL

Do you believe the oil industry is trying to limit the growth of biofuels? Why?

Do you believe the oil industry is trying to limit the growth of biofuels? Why?

I do believe that the oil industry is inhibiting the growth of biofuels because they have historically shut down any alternate fuel sources that they do not control. Just look at the electric car. After the oil industry shut that down, it took nearly 20 years for the technology to re-emerge from the oil industry’s smear campaign. If it is not earning them a buck, they seek to systematically eliminate new fuel options rather than participating in new options and the expanding fuel market place.

The oil industry has deep roots in America and holds much power when it comes to providing fuel and energy. I do believe it is to their advantage to limit the growth of biofuels, so they can retain the power they have become accustomed to. I believe America should explore biofuels to the fullest. We know that global warming isn’t a ‘myth,’ and national security is one of the most talked about threats to our great country. If we can lessen our dependence on foreign oil and produce cleaner energy, we can accomplish both while creating jobs at the same time.

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Voilà

New opportunities in the ethanol industry

by Marcella Prokop

In the past five years, the renewable fuels sector has seen its share of support and criticism. However, as most farmers and innovators know, challenge leads to opportunity.

Today, the industry’s push to extract some of the oil from the grains used to make ethanol has led to further development of new products and a bright horizon for the ethanol plants working as biorefineries. In addition to the ethanol and distillers grains produced at these plants, one such product developed exclusively by POET is Voilà, a low free fatty acid (FFA) corn oil that serves the needs of both the industrial market and the animal feed market. Their proprietary corn oil extraction process offers a higher yield and consistent product. “We have 26 plants online extracting oil now,” said Matt Reiners, POET Nutrition’s Director of Sales, Regulatory Affairs and

Quality. “So we offer something no one else can, which is as big a component as anything. That’s supply assurance and consistent quality.” As the corn oil industry continues to grow – according to the US Energy Information Administration, corn oil is now the second most common feedstock used for biodiesel – Voilà offers a two-for-one punch. In utilizing corn for ethanol and for biodiesel, POET is ensuring a future for renewable fuels and continued research into these products. This development of corn oil is good news for the biodiesel industry, according to Dr. Jon Van Gerpen, head of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the

University of Idaho. “We’ve really been constrained by not having enough oil, so having a significant new source become available that some other industry had not really staked their claim to was something that really got people in the biodiesel industry excited,” he said. “It was something that maybe they could get a significant share of and help the biodiesel industry grow.” In addition to supplying the biodiesel market, Voilà’s use as a biobased lubricant is being studied. And there’s more to this diverse product than just industrial work. Dr. Jerry Shurson, Professor of Swine Nutrition and Management at the University of Minnesota, has been

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The guys who buy from us every single month, or week or day, when they call us they know exactly what they’re going to get. We hold our plants and the plants hold themselves to a very high quality

Voilà into finished feed, like a “feed smoothie,” says Reiners, blended with all the ingredients an animal needs in its rations to meet Director of Sales - POET Nutrition its nutritional needs. Beef and dairy producers typically researching distillers coproducts utilize the loose form while in swine diets since 1997. He and hogs and poultry producers might his team have examined the ways opt for a pellet version. Outside in which perixidized fats and oils of its use as a caloric supplement, (including corn oil and DDGS) Voilà can also serve as a dust control affect pigs’ growth performance, agent during feeding. health, and metabolism, and they’ve As both Van Gerpen and found promising – and sometimes Shurson’s teams continue to unexpected – benefits in corn oil. research corn oil, with new Voilà “Corn oil is a high calorie tests in the works, this product supplemental fat source in animal is one more way POET seeks to feeds and the amount that can be offer consumers more options. fed varies by age and animal. Its According to Shurson, consumers best application is in poultry diets as need to be aware of improvements a supplemental fat source. We tend and innovations in this burgeoning to limit the amount of DDGS in field. growing-finishing pig diets because “Our latest research results the corn oil present reduces pork fat indicate that DDGS oil content is quality, but it could be an excellent a poor predictor of energy value for addition to weaned pig diets and swine and poultry. This relationship perhaps diets for lactating sows is a lot more complicated than when supplemental fats or oils are what we initially thought,” he warranted.” said. “In other words, just because Depending on the species and some of the oil is removed prior animal’s age, producers may mix to manufacturing DDGS doesn’t

standard.

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- Matt Reiners

necessarily mean that the energy value is reduced - which is contrary to what we originally expected.” As the market for ethanol’s coproducts, like Voilà and Dakota Gold, are more widely understood, producers utilizing these products will find greater advantages in the diversity and efficiency of local plants that do more than make just ethanol. Regardless of the product, at POET, one of those advantages is quality. “The guys who buy from us every single month, or week or day, when they call us they know exactly what they’re going to get,” Reiners said. “We hold our plants and the plants hold themselves to a very high quality standard.”


DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH OIL COMPANIES ARE COSTING YOU? IN 2012 , YOU SPENT NEARLY

$3,000 AT THE PUMP

OVER THE LIFETIME OF THAT CAR, YOU’LL SPEND MORE THAN

$22,000

OF THAT $22,000 , OIL COMPANIES TAKE HOME

ON GAS

$15,000

IN REVENUE

What would you do with an extra $15,000? TELL BIG OIL WITH #15K

Don’t let the oil industry fool you. Visit fuelsamerica.org to learn the truth. SOURCES: UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS; U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION


PROJECT LIBERTY UPDATE by Miranda Broin

The excitement at POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels continues to grow as construction brings the dream of Project LIBERTY even closer to becoming reality. The joint venture’s first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant is quickly coming together in Emmetsburg, Iowa, despite a few challenges along the way. The most recent of those challenges was an unexpectedly wet spring. The average annual rainfall of Emmetsburg, normally about 11.5 inches, has already more than doubled in the last three months to well over 20 inches. However, construction has remained on schedule despite the lack of cooperation on nature’s end.

“The construction force has worked through very wet weather this spring,” said Jason Martin, POET’s Senior Project Manager. “However, we know the rain is positive for agriculture as we climb out of drought conditions.” A few major projects are currently underway. The biomass receiving and grinding building is constructed and the biomass handing equipment will be installed this summer. This equipment will process an average of 770 tons of biomass per day. In addition, concrete is being poured to support the pre-treatment system, while its steel and equipment will be installed within the next eight months. Construction of the biomass bunker is nearing completion. Shredded biomass will be stored in the biomass bunker. The project will be complete and operations will begin in early 2014. Some completed work to date includes the warehouse building, scale, 22-acre biomass stackyard, biomass buildings, large tanks, and concrete foundations.

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As the summer progresses, the facility will continue to take deliveries of processing equipment and building materials. The next steps include the continued erection of tanks, concrete, plumbing, and underground electrical as well as installation of equipment; structural steel, pipe, and other equipment have been laid out across approximately ten acres of the property and will soon be installed. “Effort and activity are accelerating this summer, and peak manpower will be in Q3 and Q4 of 2013,” said Martin. When it is complete, Project LIBERTY will use bales of corn cobs, leaves, husks, and some stalk to produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol annually, eventually increasing to 25 million gallons. Farmers in Emmetsburg and surrounding areas are still signing up to deliver an expected 120,000 tons of biomass bales to the stackyard this fall. “Project LIBERTY will actualize the reality of commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol,” said James Moe, Chairman of the POET-DSM board. Project LIBERTY is an enormous step, not only for the joint venture, or even the ethanol industry, but for the United States and the entire world. When construction is finished, the plant will begin its journey toward changing the world, one gallon at a time. “Building Project LIBERTY is a great achievement for the ethanol industry,” said Martin, “and will be a cornerstone of a new era of energy security for our nation.”

Building Project LIBERTY is a great achievement for the ethanol industry and will be a cornerstone of a new era of energy security for our nation.

- Jason Martin

Senior Project Manager - POET


Conversion tanks and cooling equipment.

Aerial view of conversion tanks and biomass receiving building.

Biomass handling buildings in the background and equipment foundation rebar.

Infrastructure being installed underground in preparation for concrete floors. Conversion tanks in the background.


4

th

Annual

Program by Miranda Broin

L

ike many things, nature is seen differently through the eyes of a 4th grader. It’s the earth’s playground,

a vast wilderness perfect for imagination and discovery, where new and exciting things never cease to exist. In its fourth year, the POET Tree program reminded the students in several POET Biorefining communities why it’s important to take care of the environment in order to preserve it for many more years of adventure to come. Through the Arbor Day-centered POET Tree program, the students interacted with team members from local biorefineries to learn about how ethanol benefits the environment. They pitched in to plant a tree on site, and each child is given a seedling to take home to plant in his or her own backyard. For the third consecutive year, POET partnered with South Dakota Road Trip, a program that aims to teach South Dakota fourth-graders more about their state. This partnership helped make the Fourth Annual POET Tree program yet another successful one!

PRESTON The fourth graders from Fillmore Central Elementary in Preston, Minn. had a great day planting trees at the local biorefinery. The POET team split up to lead groups of four to five students. A total of 11 red maple trees were planted in the 8 acre natural prairie area surrounding the plant. Each of the 46 students was sent home with a red pine seedling, the Minnesota state tree. The students ended the day by rolling down the hill while they waited for the bus, proving that nature truly is their playground!

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CHANCELLOR Mrs. Poppe’s fourth grade class from Lennox Elementary took part in the POET Tree program at the Chancellor, S.D. plant. Through the efforts of the 25 students that participated, 3 trees were planted on the property. Afterwards, General Manager Dean Frederickson spoke to the kids about Arbor Day and the environment before rewarding them with a snack for a job well done.

GOWRIE Although the weather was not willing to cooperate for the POET Tree program in Grand River, Iowa, the students were still able to learn about the environment in a different way. POET Biorefining – Gowrie General Manager and Brigadier General Gary Eischeid was invited to be the guest speaker for a Memorial Day ceremony. Due to the weather, the 100 people in attendance assembled in the auditorium at Prairie Valley Elementary to hear General Eischeid speak. The students enjoyed the presentation on the importance of trees, renewable fuels, and taking care of mother earth. In honor of the holiday on which the ceremony took place, Gary also seized the opportunity to touch on Memorial Day and the importance of thanking our veterans for their service. The students were sent home with a black cherry seedling to plant.

ALEXANDRIA The fourth graders from Summitville Elementary School, celebrated Arbor Day with a field trip to POET Biorefining – Alexandria, Ind. Before pitching in to plant a Trembling Aspen on the property, Plant Manager Dan McMahan gave the students an overview of ethanol production. They were treated to lunch catered by Rachel’s Hi-Way Café and then headed home with a white spruce seedling to plant in recognition of the holiday.

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BIG STONE The POET biorefinery in Big Stone, S.D. hosted nine students from their community for a POET Tree celebration on May 14. The fourth graders received a brief description of renewable fuels and the ethanol-making process. They then worked together with POET team members to plant three Colorado Spruce trees.

JEWELL There was a unique spin on the events of the POET Tree program at South Hamilton Elementary. Rather than having the students plant trees on the property of the plant, POET Biorefining – Jewell, Iowa donated an apple tree to the school. They provided each student with a pair of garden gloves of their own. Jason Gilmore of Hamilton County Conservation spoke to the students about the importance of trees to the environment. The fourth graders helped plant the tree near the student gardens. Overall it was a fun, educational day for everyone.

POET TREE / SD ROAD TRIP The students at Madison Elementary in Madison, S.D. made quite an event out of this year’s POET Tree program activities. A few days prior to the planting, the Burr Oak trees that had been donated by POET were dedicated to Principal Walsh in an all-school ceremony. It was a great opportunity to inform the students of what the trees represent. On Monday, May 20, the students helped to plant them, doing so with the honor of using a special gold shovel (spray-painted, of course). It was a memorable event for the kids, and the trees will serve as a daily reminder of environmental stewardship.

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2013

POETRY

contest winners In conjunction with the POET Tree Arbor Day festivities, POET held a poetry contest asking 4th graders in plant communities to express their views on nature in poetry. The contest drew in hundreds of poems! This year, the contest started off with South Dakota Road Trip (SDRT), an educational program that took place in schools across the state and taught students not only about SD history, but about renewable energy and taking care of the environment as well. Five contest winners were chosen from this program, received a Visa gift card, and moved on to the national level. Then the five chosen winners from SDRT went up against entries from the biorefinery communities. Only the top winner from each biorefinery was selected to participate in the national contest. Five national winners were selected from the SDRT and biorefinery poems. The national winners received a Visa gift card as well as the opportunity to be a published poet. Congratulations to all of the 2013 contest winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

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2013 NATIONAL contest winners

1st place Gaege Seiber Ridgedale Elementary School, Morral, OH POET Biorefining – Marion Plant a flower

2ND place

In the spring And it will Make your garden zing. Plant a crop And give it love It is a gift From heaven above. Plant a tree

Ashlyn Dinger May Overby Elementary, Aberdeen, SD POET Biorefining – Groton

Aqua Blue Listening to the crashing waves,

And watch it grow

tanning on the sunny beach,

Let your love

brightness of the crystal blue sky,

Of nature show. Plant some love Every day of the year

running free, feeling free, being free… That’s the Aqua Blue.

And watch your Troubles disappear.

Looking out and seeing the dolphin fins, watching them jump – what a sight! The smell of the salty sea, stepping on the hidden seashells… That’s the Aqua Blue.

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3rd place Dylan Glassgow Garfield Elementary, Clarinda, IA POET Biorefining – Corning

Ethanol Poem Ethanol is renewable fuel, It’s good & clean & totally cool, It helps the earth and fuels your car, It helps you drive really far. Everybody loves it; you will too! Everybody loves it more than the zoo! It’s always there, so we can have clean air! Ethanol is great, so why should you wait?

5th place 4th place Connor Lehman Groton Area Elementary, Groton, SD POET Biorefining – Groton

Haley Cox Prairie Valley Elementary, Farnhamville, IA POET Biorefining – Gowrie

Our Earth Our earth is ours to enjoy

When you see litter in the streets

For every little girl and boy.

And the air smells of pollution

But we must be aware

When you feel like it’s all piling up

That all its beauty we must share

Remember there is a solution

With all the children yet to come,

There’s something each of us can do

Who want to laugh and play

To keep our rivers clean

Around the trees and the fields.

To keep the air we breathe clean

So we must keep our planet free

And keep the forests green

From messy trash and debris

Help clean a park

With air that’s clean and fresh.

Or recycle bottles and cans

For all to breathe from year to year,

Learn about the problems we face

We must not abuse

Help keep the earth clean!

Our sweet earth that’s ours to use.

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south dakota

ROAD TRIP

contest WINNERS 2ND place

Aqua Blue

1st place

Listening to the crashing waves, tanning on the sunny beach,

Ashlyn Dinger May Overby Elementary Aberdeen, SD

brightness of the crystal blue sky,

Carson Schmidt Wilmot Elementary Wilmot, SD

running free, feeling free, being free…

*2nd place winner in national contest

Go Green

That’s the Aqua Blue.

Take a short shower,

3rd place Daniel Esche Lawrence Elementary Canton, SD

Looking out and seeing the dolphin fins,

Don’t water your lawn every hour,

watching them jump – what a sight!

And please remind your daughter

The smell of the salty sea,

To conserve our water!

stepping on the hidden seashells… Don’t throw your boxes away, Reuse them so they can stay.

That’s the Aqua Blue.

Get On Your Feet

So please don’t snooze, Recycle and reuse!

Get on your feet, Move to the beat.

It would never hurt to plant a tree,

Let’s clean this park,

For it could be a home to a flea.

Be home by dark.

4th place

Get off the street,

In this park.

Plant a garden if you may, You might make a kid’s day.

Keep it all neat. Let’s leave no mark

1233

Halee Gries Lawrence Elementary Canton, SD

I Love It When I’m Nature’s Friend

5th place

I love it when the wind blows through the trees. It always makes me feel at ease.

Regan Stoick Mobridge-Pollock Elementary Mobridge, SD

I love it when the flowers bloom in the spring. It always makes me want to sing. I love to look at beautiful blue streams. It always makes me dream good dreams. I love it when the grass is green.

Recycling Recycling is great! Recycling is grand!

It’s always such a beautiful scene.

If you need some help, I’ll lend you a hand.

I love it when I’m nature’s friend.

If you have plastic aluminum, or cardboard, don’t throw it away.

I will always be until the end.

I’ll come take it someday and you will say, “Recycling is great, Recycling is grand, thank you ma’am for lending me your hand!”

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© 201


TALLY Is the oil industry trying to limit the growth of biofuels?

Vital asked readers if they thought the oil industry was trying to limit biofuels. Here’s what they thought:

YES

6%

NO

To view individual opinions, check out the Perspective on page 36.

94%

123374 CES POET half pg ad_Layout 1 2/15/13 3:53 PM Page 1

When we invest in our nation’s energy needs, we also invest in its future. That’s why as one of America’s leading energy delivery companies, we partner with ethanol producers and our extensive network of natural gas suppliers to discover alternative, sustainable energy sources to keep our country running. CenterPointEnergy.com/CES 800-495-9880

CenterPoint Energy Services Reliable service. People you trust.

© 2013 CenterPoint Energy 123374


Walking the Walk Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Colleen Stratton, sets the stage for the positive attitude and culture of POET team members. by Steve Lange | photo by Greg Latza

POET has long been known as a company that prides itself on its people, a company that makes “culture” a keyword. “That attitude comes from everyone at POET,” says President and CEO Jeff Lautt. “But the human resources department sets the stage, and Colleen Stratton walks the walk.” Stratton, as Senior Vice President of Human Resources, helps define and drive this attitude for POET’s 1,600 team members and, says Lautt, she leads by example. Colleen is definitely a “no-nonsense, roll-up-your sleeves” type leader who also brings “compassion and common sense” to her role, says Lautt. “She has exactly the qualities and the work ethic you would want in a human resources vice president.” For Stratton, that work ethic can be traced back to her upbringing in the small South Dakota town of White, where she gathered eggs and herded sheep on the family farm and cashiered and delivered groceries at the family’s Red Owl store. “POET just feels like where I was meant to be,” Stratton says. “I knew this was a special place when I was interviewed. [POET Founder] Jeff Broin said to me, ‘You’re going to get a chance to be part of history here.’ That made a lasting impression on me. I’m just honored to be part of this culture and helping shape that vision.” 52

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Left front - Michael, Kelsie and Kallen Back center - Chantel, Beau and Quentin Front right - Colleen, Mila and Greg

OK. Jeff Lautt described you as... Colleen: [Laughing.] Oh, no. It’s not that bad. He described you as a no-nonsense, roll-up-your sleeves leader. Do you see yourself as nononsense? Colleen: [Pause.] Yes. Wow. I probably would agree with that. I follow policies, I follow guidelines. I like to think I’m fair. I like to listen to what the team members have to say and try to get down to what the issues really are, and once we decide what they are, to make a decision. He also said that you’re “very compassionate” and that you really do care about the people in the organization. Colleen: I like that one more than the no-nonsense one. Tell me about unveiling The Oz Principle. Colleen: “See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It.” It’s the first time we’ve really pushed out a training to all of our team members across the company. The Oz Principle [a corporate training program] has been a great process for us. We’ve trained all of our team members at all of the locations across every shift. Our trainer completed over 100 training sessions.


You recently took a day of vacation to buy plants. Colleen: [Laughing.] You know too much about me. It’s going to get worse. Colleen: I’m going to have to talk to Jeff [Lautt] about this. Yes, I did. I’m a big gardener. We have a technical school [Southeast Technical Institute] here that has a plant sale. What better way to take a vacation than to buy plants and spend the day with my grandkids helping me plant them with the sun shining? How else can you describe it other than doing something you like with the people you love? Tell me about your family. Colleen: The pride of my life. Married to Greg, and we’ll be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year. I have two beautiful daughters who have blessed us with wonderful son-in-laws and grandchildren (ages 3, 2, and 1), who are my pride and joy. What are your daughters’ names? Colleen: Chantel and Kelsie. The grandkids are Quentin, Kallen, and Mila. Neither you nor your daughters went with the basic names. Colleen: No. I’ve had my daughter Chantel’s name picked out since I was in fifth grade. My husband and I had a deal that I got to name the first girl and he got to name the first boy. Kelsie is named after a Cabbage Patch doll. One that we stood in line for when they were really popular. I’m going to try and guess where you worked in high school: The Red Owl store. Colleen: I did. It was our family-owned grocery store. I grew up on a farm and in middle school my parents bought the Red Owl store on the main street of White, South Dakota. It’s a small town, around the 300 mark. Then my folks divorced and left and I moved in with foster parents for a year so I could finish my senior year of high school. What kinds of things did you do at the Red Owl? Colleen: Everything. We owned the store, so we did the stocking of the merchandise and the cashier work and carrying the groceries out and delivering to homes-in the wintertime we would deliver on our Ski-Doo and in the summertime we’d walk to their house.

What qualities do you look for when you’re interviewing a potential POET employee? Colleen: I always look for the passion in what they want to do. I also look for a culture fit. To me, that’s extremely important. We try to ingrain in individuals that this is a company that is always changing and that they need to be prepared for that. I also look for how they reflect on themselves. One of my favorite questions I ask is ‘If I ask one of your coworkers to describe you in three words, what three words would those be?’ It’s always interesting how many people can’t describe themselves in three words. If I ask one of your coworkers to describe you in three words, what three words would those be? Colleen: Are you asking me that question? OK. Results-oriented, enthusiastic, direct. In 2008, at the Youth Business Academy, you gave a program entitled “You Be the Boss.” Tell me about that. Colleen: I’ve been volunteering at the Youth Business Academy for 25 years. It’s a weeklong program for upcoming high school seniors. ... I also did the seminar at the regional training with our supervisors and managers at POET. It’s a process of role-playing where I flip the program on them and I become their team member. I use six to eight scenarios, everything from an employee being tardy to demanding a raise to maybe drinking too much at a holiday party. The bosses have a decision of whether they “let it slide” or “take action” or “fire the bum.” That seems pretty specific. OK. Is there anything I should be asking that I’m not? Colleen: Ask me about my HR team. Can you tell me about your HR team? Colleen: I have a great HR team. I have a team of eight including my trainer. I’m also very fortunate that I get to oversee Debbie [Anderson], our receptionist. Everyone who walks into this facility is greeted with a great smile. And that’s Debbie. I also oversee facilities and the travel and wellness coordinators. What part of your job do you like best? Colleen: Watching team members become successful and moving up within the company. Making that great hire. When someone comes in and fits a role and it fits them and you see them become successful. That means we all become more successful. And then I get to be a part of helping us all as we work toward making history.

WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Jaws 6. Quarrel 10. Seed covering 14. Leaflike strata 15. Narrative 16. Sugar source 17. Ethanol made from non-grain sources 19. Name 20. June honoree 21. What a mouse moves 23. German river 26. Setting the smallest environmental footprint 29. Ancient drink made from honey and alcohol and water 31. Swerve off course 32. Nev. city

DOWN

35. Min. part

1. Ozone depleter, abbr.

38. Business ventures

39. Eastern royal

2. Cultivate

42. Type of palm

40. LAX info

3. Unhealthy

41. Narcissist’s love

43. Aquatic carnivores

4. Goose egg

44. Fish eggs

46. Rind

5. Riyadh resident

45. Suture

49. Doze off

6. Dull

46. Small digit

51. Soothing juice

7. Faux ___

47. Tertiary period

8. Greatest boxer

48. Goes off

9. Military mission, slangily

50. Dissuades

10. Build up

52. Head sculptures

11. Cereal fruit

53. Soft tissue

12. In all

54. Undergo decay

13. Apprehensive

58. Foot extension

55. OK’s

18. Type of network, for short

59. Basket of wicker

61. Farm noise

22. Turmoil

62. Coffee holder

60. Iowa site for Project Liberty

23. Bird that doesn’t fly

63. Science of plants (abbr.)

67. Windshield feature

24. “A few good ___” movie

64. George Washington’s dream

68. Bar order

25. Store sign

65. Edge

69. Red silk dye

27. Bellflower

66. Econ. indicator

33. Except 36. Trifling

52. Facility integrating biomass conversion processes & equipment to produce fuels, heat, etc. 56. Hardly numerous 57. Straighten out

70. Spots 71. Wild pigs 72. Make official 54

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37. Copacabana site

28. Water pitcher 30. Lion’s home 34. Less original

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FROM THE HEARTLAND by Marcus Ludtke July means one thing in this country…parade season. If I’m being completely honest, my affection for parades resembles something similar to the 7,500 point drop in the stock market in 2008, which was momentarily preceded by a transcendent, albeit fleeting, push to record highs. My nostalgic peak for parades occurred in the summer of 1989 when I was tasked with selling popcorn on my roller blades up and down Bridge Street in Albert Lea, Minn. My buddies and I were doing a fundraiser for our local hockey association. For a newly minted middleschooler there was nothing more liberating than the freedom to work the parade route, wolf pack in tow, on blades in front of a bevy of potential lady friends. I remember my game being super tight that day. At least it was prior to me eating asphalt right in front of the Freeborn County Diary Princess. My “all for one, one for all” band of brothers abruptly disbanded, providing everyone in attendance an unobstructed view of a boy pulling both himself and his ego up off the pavement. At that moment, I was seriously considering becoming a foreign exchange student. I opted instead for a two week asylum in my bedroom. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever fully recovered from what I’ve commonly referred to as “the fall” in my personal pantheon of humiliating experiences. Without question that’s unfairly shaped my view of the parade scene ever since. Regardless, I think we can all agree the parade as we currently know it is in need of a major facelift. The following is a simple threepoint plan, offering my personal recommendations: Redefining what is and is not an acceptable float. Call me crazy, but I think we’ve really lowered the bar regarding what should and should not be considered a float. Strictly speaking from an economic point of view the Law of Diminishing Returns should be applied when evaluating float eligibility. For example, if you’re going to pull me off the lake to sit in a chair for nearly two hours on the 4th of July, I better be blown away by the pageantry being displayed in front of me. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking for Tony Bennett singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” on top of a gyrating replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. However, I will say I think we can do better than a truck with some tag board on the driver’s side door saying “Call Lon for a Free Quote on Lawn Care.” The simple fix…more crepe streamers. Trust me, parade goers love crepe streamers.

Developing an SOP for candy quality, quantity and distribution. The candy often makes the parade. Just ask the kids. Far too often over the last several years I’ve witnessed an “offering plate” approach to not only the quality of candy offered but also the quantity distributed. For many designated candy chuckers, parting with that candy is like being forced to tithe on Sunday morning. To help overcome this mental block, I’d recommend pre-parade visualization techniques that associate the candy to little pieces of stress that can be physically expunged through the simple act of uninhibited disbursement. As far as quality is concerned, top-shelf is the only way to fly. The payback is worth it because both the kids and their parents remember the floats (and their advertisements) they produce every year. If you’re looking for business donations to supplement your candy budget I have one word for you…dentists. Can’t miss preamble and concluding crescendo for event planners. Every parade should be led by a small army of area veterans with one given the specific honor of hoisting Old Glory. They should be followed immediately by the local high school marching band playing our National Anthem. Seeing the tuba players defiantly staggering onward in 90-degree heat, wishing they had chosen the flute, yet refusing to lay down their instruments just screams PATRIOTISM. And finally there is no better crescendo than the Shriners buzzing the city streets in their mini convertible cars. The Shriners offer more near misses than most demolition derbies. They are the Blue Angels on wheels whose drivers I believe are equal parts Jimmy Johnson and Evel Knievel. Just watch the crowd as they fly by and you’ll have your answer for what keeps us coming back every year. Best of luck this parade season!

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Vital Magazine - Summer 2013  
Vital Magazine - Summer 2013