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THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

ENERGY FOR LIFE Making a Difference

Gitting ‘r Done POET’s Fostoria, Ohio biorefinery has a make-it-happen attitude

More than Just Numbers POET Grain focuses on the hard-working farmers in local communities

A Moment’s Notice The maintenance team at POET is always ready for a challenge

Winter 2015


contents FEATURES

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ABUNDANT ENERGY, BETTER SLEEP AND A GRACIOUS SPIRIT by Thom Gabrukiewicz POET’s new wellness initiative is benefitting team members in many aspects of their lives.

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

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GITTING ‘R DONE IN NORTHWEST OHIO

by Darrell Boone A great work ethic and a make-it-happen attitude are hallmarks of the team at POET’s Fostoria, Ohio biorefinery.

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A MOMENT’S NOTICE

by Kayla Schlechter The maintenance team at POET has the responsibility of keeping each POET Biorefinery in working order. It’s not an easy task, but they excel at it.

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MORE THAN JUST NUMBERS

by Steve Lange POET Grain focuses on the relationship with their “customers,” the hard-working farmers in their local communities.


contents COLUMNS

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04

IN SIGHT

by Jeff Broin

06

FIRST LOOK

by Jeff Lautt

56

FROM THE HEARTLAND

by Greg Breukelman

DEPARTMENTS

32

34

08 10 18 26 28 32 34 47 52

TOP TWEETS

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PULSE PERSPECTIVE NASCAR® UPDATE FARM FRESH DINE WITH A FIGHTER ENERGY FOR LIFE RENEW THE BEST IS YET TO COME by Steve Lange

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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. ©2015 POET, LLC. All rights reserved. Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema info@gofunkyfresh.com


HIGHER YIELD. BETTER RETURNS. Together, we maximize the potential of biofuel. We work with our customers to develop the most advanced new technologies and solutions in the industry. As a true partner, we seek to maximize the potential of biofuel. For more information, visit www.bioenergy.novozymes.com.

Novozymes is the world leader in bioinnovation. Together with customers across a broad array of industries we create tomorrow’s industrial biosolutions, improving our customers’ business and the use of our planet’s resources. Read more at www.novozymes.com.

© Novozymes A/S · 2013-14677-02


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

a Little Crazy

The 27 years that I’ve been in the industry has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Not one of those newer, smooth-riding roller coasters that take you on a comfortable twisting and twirling ride, but one of those old, rickety roller coasters that jams your neck into your spine and makes you really hope that 30-year-old rusted bolts can withstand one more jolt – the kind that gives you a rush that you just can’t explain. Our business gives me that rush. The highs are elation and the lows put your stomach in your shoes. But we always make it to the next turn. You know that feeling you get before a scary ride? Staring at the exit sign wondering if that’s the better decision? It was like that in the early years when we took a risk in the ethanol industry. We started this company at a plant in Scotland, S.D. when the industry was just an infant and almost were forced out the exit door on a couple of occasions. Many exited the ride early. But instead we got on a more thrilling ride by expanding our small plant, then building plants for others. We grew. We started new companies. We fought for new government policies. We developed technology to an unprecedented, efficient level.

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We ended up hitting a blend wall then filed an E15 waiver. We’ve seen ups and down. The ride is neverending. This last year was an exceptional year. We saw incredible margins and production levels were at an all-time high. But, it was only a few years ago when the ethanol industry saw struggle. In the January 2009 issue of Vital, my column read, “Ethanol’s gold rush mentality has come to an obvious close and it is being felt throughout most of the industry. Although the industry and the economy face unprecedented times, I have never been more excited. ” My excitement grows with every twist and fall in the roller coaster. The ride may flip upside down, but it always has a way of bringing you back upright. In the mid-2000’s, there was tremendous growth in the industry with dozens of new plants opening every year. Everyone wanted to be a part of the industry. Then, in the fall of 2008, the economy took a severe downturn and commodity prices went through volatility never seen before. Several ethanol plants shut down. Margins eroded. Many exited the ride. But, POET was prepared for this because our experience told us to always be prepared. The roller coaster had thrown us through this loop before. In the mid-1990s, a severe drought threw the industry upside down with high corn prices while oil prices dropped below $10 a barrel. At this time, we were only a small ethanol company with just a couple plants. But we knew from day one that we had to be the most efficient, lowest cost producer in the industry. This allowed us to break even when others couldn’t. We held on. And we made it to more prosperous times. Most recently, we’ve been riding pretty high. But just like we knew the bad times wouldn’t last forever, we know the good times won’t either. So when the roller coaster dips or flips then stops again, I assure you we will be ready for the next ride.


Contributing Every Day to the Lives of Ordinary Americans Our processes and equipment contribute to thousands of products we use daily‌the OJ we drink in the morning, the cheese sandwich we eat for lunch, the fuel we fill our cars with, the medicines we take to be well, even the water we drink. For over a century, GEA Westfalia Separator has been working to help make the products that make our world what it is today. Moving forward, our commitment continues as we work with POET to provide the separating technology required to produce renewable biofuels and agricultural co-products. To learn more about GEA Westfalia Separator and the industries we serve, visit our website at www.wsus.com.

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FIRST LOOK by Jeff Lautt, CEO, POET A sound body and sound mind focused on the right tasks can accomplish amazing things, and it’s in that spirit that we have instituted at POET new wellness initiatives. It is a focus on health in body, mind and spirit, and so far the response has been astounding. Both Jeff Broin and I have, through different paths, arrived at similar conclusions about the importance of wellness to fulfilling not only a productive work life, but a productive life. As many of us have found, with age and new experiences come new perspectives. For me, the first step toward wellness was a better understanding of the importance of physical health. When I was in my 20s, while building a family and career, I felt bullet-proof, and I devoted much of my energy to work and very little to my health. I slept 4-5 hours a night (I used to actually brag about that!). I ate what I wanted. I didn’t exercise. So it came to be one afternoon while on a trip in the mountains with some friends that I jumped off my snowmobile. I was 335 pounds, and I sunk like a stone into chestdeep snow. I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was having a heart attack. I didn’t have that heart attack, thank goodness, but it scared me enough to turn my attention to taking better care of myself. Through better food choices and consistent portion control, I managed to lose 100 pounds over the next year. In my 30s, my respect for health grew, and I fine-tuned my diet and exercise routine and dropped even more weight. Now in my 40s, I find myself dealing with an illness in my family that has caused me to dig even deeper into healthy living. I firmly believe that we are what we eat, and moving from a diet of fast food and packaged food when I was young to a diet of whole food has really made a difference. I see people at POET coming to the same conclusion under the leadership of Melissa Ellefson, our new Wellness Director. I hear people talking about how great they feel and how much energy they have! I know this makes a difference not only in their lives but in the work they do at POET. Besides physical health, a strong spiritual connection and a positive outlook in life are important to overall health.

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I use my faith on a daily basis to guide me, whether it’s here at POET or in my personal life. Everyone has a purpose. We all have something that we are able to do like no one else. It warms my heart to see so many team members putting their skills to work to improve the world. I see it in how we make renewable energy and food an ever-larger part of our world. I also see it in our team members’ work in Africa, in their local communities through church or mentoring programs and in many other ways. We change the world through the work that we do by having a positive impact on people’s lives. A good indicator that you’ve found your purpose is in the passion you have for what you are doing. If you listen carefully to what you are called to do, you’ll end up with a natural drive to want to do great things. When these elements come together – a strong body, coupled with a positive attitude guided by a sense of purpose and spirituality – we are able to tackle anything. My personal focus on total wellness has given me a sense of calm as I deal with the ups and downs in life. I have more patience when I see changes like with today’s $40-$50 oil or the challenging drought of 2012. I believe in our mission, and I truly believe this organization has a higher purpose. I have faith in what we are doing and where we are going. POET is a living organism, made up of each team member, farmer, investor and community member who touches some aspect of the business. Each of you is important to POET and to me. I wish each of you all health and prosperity in all that you do to make your impact in this world.


2015:

THE YEAR OF

THANKS FOR BEING SOME OF THE FIRST RETAILERS TO OFFER E15. Growth Energy commends CENEX, MAPCO, Minnoco, Petro Serve USA, Protec Fuel, Sheetz and ZarcoUSA for their pioneering spirit and their efforts to expand consumer access to higher blends of renewable fuels. They are offering consumers a choice and savings at the pump, while at the same time supporting a homegrown industry that supports farmers across the country. Together we’re making progress towards the next generation of sustainable, renewable fuels.

Learn more at GrowthEnergy.org


TOP TWEETS

12/23

Iowa Corn @iowa_corn

12/16

Did you know? Corn stover is

12/22

@NCGA_DC

#Ethanol provides choices at

used for cattle feed, animal

the pump, increases energy

bedding, ethanol production,

independence, creates jobs,

bldg materials & used to prevent

reduces enviro impact. #RFS

soil erosion. #IowaAg

#winwin

Rachel Gantz @OPISBiofuels

12/10

ICYMI, Obama signed tax

12/17

NCGA Public Policy

Robbie Lawler @Ruthless_RL

Thanks for believing in me

extenders deal on Friday.

@AmericanEthanol. Take the

Extends #biodiesel, #cellulosic

time to learn about ethanol.

credits, among others, through

Ethanol production up and corn

end of yr.

cost down. #foodvfuelmyth

Mitch Miller @ZL1DER

12/10

New FlexFuel Pump up and

Kelly Manning @kmanning

Looking forward to talking about

running at Iroquois Bio-energy,

e15 @AmericanEthanol with my

Rensselaer Indiana. E10, E15,

friend Bill Zortman on

E30, E85 24/7! #ethanol #E85

@keloradio this morning. #corn #ethanol

12/17

NASCAR Pole Position @NPPmag

.@AmericanEthanol will return as a primary sponsor with @RCRracing and @austindillon3. #NASCAR

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12/4

SD Brenden @sdbrenden272

DYK: There are more than 100 stations that are now selling #E15 in 15 states? #IwantE15. Go 2 flexfinder.org to locate a station


11/24

Growth Energy @GrowthEnergy

“When the RFS was first created we all knew that higher ethanol blends would be necessary. Oil knew it. We knew it. Congress knew it.” @TomBuisGE

Twitter is a forum for thousands of

11/21

Anna Boroff @Anna_Boroff

conversations taking place in 140-character

EPA decision on #RFS is no decision-MN

comments, with

farmers should be proud of strong msg sent to

participants from all

Washington that RFS matters to farmers and

over the world. People

MN economy

or organizations are represented by user

11/11

POET @ethanolbyPOET

names such as @ethanolbypoet.

Today we remember and honor the brave

The topic of

men and women who have boldly defended

conversation is often

our great nation. Thank you veterans!

highlighted with a

#VeteransDay

hashtag (#). This is a sampling of what’s being said about energy

11/11

POET-DSM @POETDSM

and biofuels. The comments do

POET-DSM at #7 in Biofuels Digest Top 50

not necessarily

hottest companies poll this year.

represent the opinions of POET, LLC.

WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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PULSE 12/18 “Suomen Bioetanoli Oy is taking a bold step forward in growing Europe’s bioeconomy and expanding our sources for transportation fuel. Additionally, the grant award shows Finland’s firm commitment to growing sustainable energy production. Our joint venture partners look forward to working with Suomen Bioetanoli Oy to make commercial cellulosic bioethanol a reality in Finland.” – Rob van Leen, Chairman of the POET-DSM board, in a press release commending Suomen Bioetanoli Oy and the government of Finland for moving forward in developing a cellulosic bioethanol industry in Europe.

12/17 “I commend the Senate for passing this legislation and sending it to the President’s desk to be signed into law. This retroactive tax package will help producers of next generation biofuels and cellulosic ethanol continue to grow and invest in the production of a cleaner burning fuel that is not only sustainable, but also helps significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improves our environment and reduces our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.” – Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, responds to the recent passage of H.R. 5711, a tax extenders package that will retroactively extend numerous expiring tax provisions, including biofuel provisions for cellulosic biofuel production and cellulosic biofuel equipment bonus depreciation.

12/17 “On behalf of the entire team here at Hanlontown, we are honored to give back to our local communities and help restock food shelves during the busy holiday season. All too often we take holiday meals for granted and we are hopeful our contribution today will help make the holidays a little brighter for families in our surrounding communities.” – Kelly Hansen, General Manager of POET Biorefining – Hanlontown. POET team members collected more than 33,000 pounds of food as part of an annual food drive competition between POET Biorefining – Glenville and POET Biorefining – Hanlontown.

From issues relating to government policies, to infrastructure and opinion pieces, the ethanol 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.

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12/12 “It’s an honor to be a finalist for this award, especially considering the creativity and focus on sustainability that exists in so many companies in the biofuels industry. A short time ago, our country was exclusively using gasoline. Today nearly 10 percent of that supply is filled by clean-burning, American-made ethanol. We’re proud at POET to be a part of that renewable fuel revolution and look forward to helping it grow in the future.”

12/4 “We think it’s a great choice for consumers. It’s going to lower gas prices, clean up the environment and make our country a lot less reliant on foreign sources of energy.”

- Jeff Broin, POET Founder & Chairman of the Board, in a recent interview with WGN-TV defending a Chicago City Council ordinance that would increase the availability of E15 for consumers.

“Because the RFS does indeed work, the advanced biofuel industry continues to make visible progress. The future we have hoped for is here.” - Former Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-PA), CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, in an opinion piece published in The Hill defending the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“POET has been a pioneer in the starch-to-ethanol process where we use corn, and now, we’re bringing on second-generation technologies. We have excess residue across the Corn Belt that we can use to create our own homegrown fuel. It’s another income stream for growers, another opportunity for rural communities and another way to expand our renewable fuel source.”

- Adam Wirt, POET biomass logistics director, discusses the 2014 biomass harvest for Project LIBERTY in an interview with AgriNews.

– Jeff Lautt, POET President and CEO, in a press release announcing POET as a finalist for the Platts Global Energy Industry Leadership Award.

12/8

11/13

11/21 “I am truly pleased that they’re pulling away from a rule that was so bad. But I recognize as well we have to work with the agency to try to figure out a path forward that everybody can live with.”

- Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal after the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will take final action on the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation next year.

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ABUNDANT ENERGY, BETTER SLEEP & A GRACIOUS SPIRIT

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POET’s new wellness initiative is benefitting team members in many aspects of their lives.

You can change the course of your health. “This is the mind and the spirit aspect of our program,” Ellefson says. “I truly believe that you can’t heal your body if your soul needs attention. Many of our messages focus on gratitude and forgiveness. We’ve been given much and for that we should be thankful. It is too easy to focus on what we don’t have rather than to enjoy what we do have.”

by Thom Gabrukiewicz

Our vision is to build stronger families and communities through the health, spirit and vitality of our team members. This is how Melissa Ellefson, Wellness Director for POET, describes POET’s new initiative – Energy for Life. POET recently incorporated a company-wide wellness initiative. Spearheaded by Jeff Broin, Founder and Executive Chairman of POET, the new initiative incorporates a well-rounded view of wellness as it relates to people’s real-life experiences. Broin and his family have spent the last several years improving their own health through this well-rounded approach. After much success, Broin was inspired to emphasize health throughout POET. “After understanding all of this, I felt it was important to provide our team members and their families, who we care very much about, the resources to help them with their personal health goals,” says Broin. In July, the time was right and POET reached out to Ellefson [see sidebar pg. 16] to develop and initiate the program for the team. “When people talk about wellness, most think about working out,” says POET Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lautt. “That’s a misconception, so we’ve really broadened our perspective. It’s about mind, body and spirit. And we’re going to put the education, the tools and the awareness in front of them and hopefully it can turn into healthier and happier team members.” Ellefson set to work developing the four components that became the building blocks for the Energy for Life initiative.

Treat your body with love and kindness. “When you love something, you nurture it. That is the focus behind the fitness and nutritional component of Energy for Life,” Ellefson explains. “We treat our bodies with kindness by stretching and strengthening daily, finding rest and relaxation, and eating whole, nourishing food.”

Identify and reduce the toxic load on your body. “We could be doing everything else right, but if you’re unknowingly living among toxins – environmental or chemical – you may still feel sick, sad, and tired. We educate team members with ways to protect themselves and their families from common toxins,” says Ellefson.

Be an example and serve others. “It’s a focus on having a servant’s heart through volunteerism and community outreach. It’s getting involved in our communities, being a good neighbor, and giving back,” she adds.

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To incorporate these components, Ellefson had the unique challenge of serving 27 plants in 7 states. “The first thing I did was get my finger on the pulse of the POET culture to understand what the day-today activities were for our team members out in the plants and our corporate offices,” she says. To help spread the word on wellness, Ellefson relies on wellness teams at every POET location. Though she has a consistent travel schedule to visit the plant locations, she can’t be in 27 places at once. She determined a Team Energy Leader at each location. These leaders possess a passion for wellness and the health and well-being of their co-workers. Ellefson provides them with educational materials and programs to help them in their roles. She also sends out timely emails relevant to any given team member’s day-to-day concerns. What are some healthy recipes that will fill up my 6 person family? Check out Ellefson’s Menu Monday emails. What are some ways to increase the good bacteria in my gut? Reference Ellefson’s Wellness Wednesday email from September 24. How can I speed up my slow metabolism? Ellefson had the answer in an FAQ Friday email. One benefit that POET has rolled out to its team members is free onsite health screenings. Every team member at every POET location is now able to have an annual blood and biometric screening and one-onone health consultation. This provides a starting point in their journey toward a healthier self. POET team members are focusing on their nutrition and spiritual well-being, and although physical fitness isn’t the main component of Energy for Life initiative, it does play an important role. Sometimes the hardest part of getting a workout in is getting to the gym. So POET is bringing the gyms to their team members. The POET headquarters in Sioux Falls has an “Energy Center” for its team members and by the end of 2015, it is the goal that every plant will have have its own Energy Center, too. “We are very excited about this new benefit,” Ellefson says.

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Good luck on coming up with excuses to skip the gym now, right? Team members at POET have welcomed the focus on their well-being. “It’s been really fun to see how everyone has embraced this,” says Aleigh Beaman, Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, POET Biorefining – Corning, Iowa. “In the past, we’d bring in breakfast pizza for safety meetings and doughnuts for safety trainings – now, I bring over fresh fruit and it’s gone over really well.” Along with health and nutrition, the biorefinery in Corning is very focused on the ‘Inspire’ component of Energy for Life. Beaman says team members actively support the Corning community in a variety of ways. “We adopt a family every Christmas,” she says. “That’s really good for everyone’s spiritual well-being.” In the short time since Energy for Life has been implemented, success stories have been coming out of the woodwork. “Well, what can I say, I had poor eating habits,” says Kevin Krier, POET’s Senior Truck Distribution Manager and admitted snacker. “Just after Labor Day I went to the doctor and found out I had high blood pressure and he says, ‘You’re over-weight’ and I said, ‘Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.’ The trip to the doctor, that was the turning point, along with all the great ideas POET has supplied me with. I’ve never felt better in my life.” In Krier’s case, so far – so great. In the four months since he took to heart his doctor’s warnings – and started using all the tools provided by Energy For Life – Krier has lost 40 pounds toward a goal weight of 170 pounds. “I can sure tell the difference,” he says. “Best thing is, I had to buy some new clothes – for the right reasons, instead of going to the store and get a little bigger waist size.” “I believe one of our greatest callings here on earth is to care about others,” says Broin. “POET’s health initiative is an example of how we are doing our best to improve the lives of our team members and their families.”


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CELEBRATING

EVERY DAY When you first meet Melissa Ellefson, her smile radiates from the next room. Fit and personable, the 41-yearold South Dakota native exudes what it is to be healthy. Her constant energy, passion and gratitude for every aspect of her life can turn even the biggest couch potato towards a leafy salad.

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“She’s been just a fantastic fit,” says POET Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lautt. “Melissa has this passion for wellness, but also people in general. She’s a positive person and tremendously endearing.” And did I mention she leads one heck of a High Intensity Interval Training Class? As the first Director of Wellness for POET, Ellefson’s dedication is focused on team member overall health. She not only wants the team to be physically healthy – but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthy, too. A graduate of the University of South Dakota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences Ellefson came to POET in July. “It was really a God thing how I ended up working at POET,” she says. Ellefson has spent most of her life in the field of fitness, nutrition and coaching. She has always valued wellness, but wellness took a different meaning on New Year’s Eve in 2009. Her husband, Matt, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He was told that without treatment he would have approximately eight months to live. With aggressive treatment, Matt faced a five year survival rate of less than five percent. Remember, this was almost exactly five years ago. The Ellefsons, who have five children, chose to fight Matt’s cancer aggressively. He spent five months participating in a clinical trial in Houston, TX to treat his body – and continued to lean on family and his faith to nurture his soul. With a few bumps in the road and three recurrences, Matt blew that five

percent chance out of the water this New Year’s Eve. So when Ellefson talks about gratitude being an important component of wellness, she means it. “That really changed everything for us, we don’t look at life the same – and we never will,” she says. “Every single day is to be celebrated.” “I’ve shared this with many of my fellow POET team members,” Ellefson continues. “When I tell them I want for you to live a full and healthy life, I mean it from the depths of my soul. My wish for them is to experience a life of abundance and vitality and not wait until they experience a health crisis of their own.” And through her emails and tips on fitness, nutrition and spiritual well-being, there isn’t a better person to help them achieve this goal.

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PERSPECTIVE

Vital asked readers: Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices?

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KATE G. BYERS, CHICAGO, ILL. Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices? Yes, I do think it is important to continue to look for alternate forms of energy. Although gas prices are low now, there’s no guarantee they will stay that way. If we halt any research into alternate forms of energy, we’ll just be that much further behind if and when gas prices go back up.


NICK RICHARDSON, PALATINE, ILL.

DOROTHY BOWSER, CHICAGO, ILL.

Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices?

Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices?

While it would be nice to say ‘no,’ the reality of limited natural resources means that we don’t have a choice but to explore alternative forms of energy. Now what those forms of energy are, I’ll leave that to the experts to explore.

A drop in gas prices is a definite relief. However, it is not one which is credited to a permanent solution, as of yet. It is still necessary for the U.S. to seek a sustainable solution the energy problem.”

JOHN WILKERSON, ATLANTA, GA.

ELIZABETH SALATA, PINGREE GROVE, ILL.

Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices?

Should the U.S. continue to look for alternative forms of energy with the drop in gas prices?

Absolutely! I strongly believe in free trade across global economies but the United States should aspire to become a net fossil fuel neutral for three reasons. One, the U.S. has the capability to expand renewable energy production and reduce some dependence of global fossils today. Second, fossil fuels that are transported across the globe could create more harmful greenhouse gas emissions that are harmful to humans, our food and water supply. Lastly, I have confidence that a net fossil fuel neutral U.S. economy would provide more stability to global financial markets over the long term.”

Yes, absolutely, we should always be looking for alternative forms of energy just as we should continue to be innovative and progressive. Any natural resource is limited and it’s important we remember that, we cannot be selfish and just live in the moment but instead need to continue to explore and advance for future generations.”

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GITTING ’r DONE IN NORTHWEST

OHIO

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A great work ethic and a makeit-happen attitude are hallmarks of the team at POET’s Fostoria, Ohio biorefinery. by Darrell Boone | photos by LB Photography


For decades, Midwesterners have migrated away from cold winters, corn fields and Rust Belt realities to the West Coast in search of “the good life.” So why would someone from the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in sunny southern California migrate to Fostoria, Ohio? “POET offered me this opportunity, which allowed me to build on my previous experience in the food industry,” says Art Thomas, POET Biorefining – Fostoria General Manager since 2012. “But the cultures are 180 degrees different. Here you’re not part of a metropolitan area of 5 million people. No more getting stuck in traffic for 2 ½ hours. You actually have space to breathe. It’s so refreshing!” But Thomas found something even more refreshing in northwest Ohio – its fertile soil is so flat you can see the corn and soybean fields for miles, it’s dotted with minitowns and salt-of-the-earth people who love their hunting, high school sports, and yes, their beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. Amidst that bucolic backdrop, he also found an engaged and enthusiastic work force.

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“This is the first facility I’ve worked in where I never have to worry about people missing work or coming in late,” he says. “They have a great, rural work ethic with a ‘git-‘r-done’ attitude and a very entrepreneurial mindset – always looking for ways to improve the processes and make the business better, really taking ownership – which allows us to take things to a whole new level here.” His workforce was not the only pleasant surprise that Thomas encountered. He knew he was coming into a green industry, but it was a whole lot greener than he could have imagined. “In the food industry, we wound up putting vast amounts of food down the sewer – it really was a major deal,” he says. “But here, the only things that leave the plant are our products – ethanol, distillers dried grains (DDGs), corn oil and CO2. We really have no industrial waste here.”

Constantly Improving The Fostoria plant was one of six, 68-million-gallon-per-year plants that came online in Indiana and Ohio in 2007 and 2008, as POET

expanded to the eastern edge of the Eastern Corn Belt. All were stateof-the-art, and all have been looking for ways to improve on that status since day one. “Since we opened we’ve added Total Water Recovery, corn oil separation and CO2 production, but we’re actually making some kind of tech upgrade all of the time,” says Thomas. “The only constant we really have here is change.” One recent such upgrade was the installation of variable frequency drives (VFDs), which help to reduce electric consumption, on eight major pieces of equipment. Although not considered a “major” innovation, Thomas says it nevertheless saves the plant a significant amount annually in electricity costs. The plant is active in the community, where it supports a wide range of area and youth endeavors. One new program is “Christmas with an Angel,” where team members helped to provide Christmas gifts to 28 needy kids in a local school. But Thomas says some of the plant’s greatest impacts in the community and beyond are exactly what it was originally designed to do. “Besides being green, we’re helping to reduce the amount of oil that America imports,” he says. “We also provide an additional market for farmers to be able to sell the corn, which pumps over $100 million into the local economy. I’d much rather pay farmers here to grow our fuel, than have our money go overseas.”


BUCKEYE FANATIC To say that Fostoria’s Commodity Supervisor, John Harpster, is very involved in the ethanol industry would be a considerable understatement. Besides supervising corn receiving and the shipping of the plant’s products at work, he also sells corn from his farm to the plant and buys DDGS to feed to his livestock. “I was in the automotive supply industry, and actually took a pay cut to come here when the plant started because I wanted to work in ethanol,” he recalls. “I enjoy working in an ag-related occupation and it’s been a good experience for

me. I’ve seen my skill set grow, and now I get to lead and train others. It’s been a fun ride.” Off the job, Harpster enjoys playing with his grandkids and raising feeder cattle and lambs on his farm. But on the day this was written, he was ecstatic about another of his passions. “It was absolutely wonderful seeing Ohio State win the football national championship last night,” he says. “There’s a bunch of us here at the plant who are Buckeyes through and through. I’ve always been a Buckeye fanatic.”

WORTH THE TRIP Prior to POET, Boiler Technician Dan Fahler was working as a boiler and heating specialist for a large commercial greenhouse. He recalls how he came to work at POET Biorefining – Fostoria. “One of our other boiler people left to go to work here at the biorefinery, then another,” he says. “So I decided I’d better check it out, and I’ve been here over four years now.” The rub is that it’s about a 70-mile commute for Fahler, but he says it’s worth it. “This is a nice, clean place to work and the money’s good,” he says. “Also,

they have a profit-sharing plan here, and that was really helpful when my daughter was finishing college.” Off the job, Fahler enjoys golfing, fishing and helping his son practice throwing the shot and discus for his high school track team. He likes that his work schedule gives him time to pursue his interests, and says his job keeps him challenged. “It’s a mental job with some pretty complicated processes,” he says. “But if you bring your mind with you every day, it’s really a pretty good job.”

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CHALLENGE EVERY DAY Fellow Boiler Technician Scotty Salyers is a Fostoria native, and has been with the plant since August 2008, before it started production in September. He says it was a big change from working in the automotive industry. “It was a lot different, definitely a learning experience,” he says. “But it sounded like a great opportunity, and I liked the thought of what POET was doing by increasing energy independence.” Off the job, Salyers enjoys raising boxers, spending time with his family, and helping friends “work on their stuff.” And like most in the area, he follows high school football. But after more than six years on the job, he says he still enjoys it. “Every day’s different,” he says. “And there’s a new challenge every day.”

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For years, we’ve been told that cellulosic ethanol is a “fantasy fuel.” And it is.

And now it’s going to change the world. For real.

So we’ve spent a decade planning, researching, and working hard to make that fantasy a reality. ®

POET-DSM.COM

Advanced Biofuels

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

NASCAR and American Ethanol: It’s a Family Affair

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” –Lee Iacocca

In 1934 William Henry Getty France moved his family from Washington D.C. to Daytona Beach, Fla. where he could work on cars in a warmer climate. Big Bill, as he was called because of his stature, was an automobile enthusiast and a visionary. Eventually, he would open his own service station. Concurrently, he envisioned and eventually formed what would become the most popular form of motorsports in the world, NASCAR. There were other racing series at that time to observe and Big Bill observed closely. Bill knew if NASCAR was to work, rule by democracy or even committee wouldn’t do. Motor racing was (and is) too complex to get consensus on technology and competition formats. His personality was just what this young sport needed to survive and ultimately prosper. His bold style of operating and his huge vision launched NASCAR to heights no one could imagine. After years of extraordinary growth and prosperity for NASCAR, the time came when Big Bill had to hand off the baton and appoint a new president. His son, Bill Jr., took the helm in 1972 and transformed a largely regional sport into a $2 billion-a-year national industry. Fortune 500 companies flocked as sponsors, seeking the TV exposure he was building with his media savvy and his understanding that this sport must be entertaining. When he made rules changes, they usually were to enhance “the show,” as he often

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put it. Big Bill France had been a visionary; Bill Jr. expanded that vision by sensing what appealed to the American masses. Like his father and grandfather before him, Brian France, the current President and CEO of NASCAR, possesses an iron hand. It’s just that he seldom wields it. Mostly, he moves it surgically. Brian France is accustomed to making bold decisions to keep the sport speeding in the right direction. He immediately changed the points system when he took over in 2003 and most recently overhauled the Sprint Cup Chase format. Brian attributes much of his success to his predecessors (family). He once said that he and his family spend 85 percent of their time in self-reflection and self-criticism. They are always looking to reinvent themselves. Like all extraordinary dynasties in history, each France generation took great things from the past and added their very own insight and wisdom for the future. Our American Ethanol family is not too different from the founding family of NASCAR. Our industry is also an assortment of families. Our origins come from the family farm, each producing plant is family and the entire ethanol industry is small enough to know everyone like family. Not to mention the support from


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™ all of our own spouses and households, keeping our foundations solid. We also have our very own cast of characters; bigger than life visionaries, inspirers and drivers who devote everything to ensure the ethanol industry is advancing. As we accelerate into the fifth year of our partnership with NASCAR and yet another defining year in the ethanol industry we are positioning ourselves for victory. We are using our partnership marketing, strategic alliances and joint ventures aggressively and strategically. We are also committed to reinventing ourselves like the France family, evolving as we move forward. This is nothing new to every NASCAR team who has to reinvent their car every 40-50 laps in a race to stay in competition. This year we are again aligned with the Richard Childress Racing family and will be the primary sponsor on the famed #3 for six races. Richard, a farmer himself, along with his grandson (and our driver) Austin Dillon will continue to promote American Ethanol and we will be using them in a variety of new ways. We will continue our partnership with Iowa Speedway which resides in the heart of family farm country. We will continue to work with fuel retailers and consumers together in an all-out effort utilizing our NASCAR assets with the goal of getting American Ethanol directly to the consumer. Most of all we will continue to work together like a family – a family that generates success, advancing our cause while growing. As an old Chinese proverb says, a family in harmony will prosper in anything.

2015 Schedule February 14, 2015

Daytona Sprint

February 19, 2015

Daytona Duel 1

February 19, 2015

Daytona Duel 2

February 22, 2015

Daytona 500

March 1, 2015

Atlanta

March 8, 2015

Las Vegas

March 15, 2015

Phoenix

March 22, 2015

California

March 29, 2015

Martinsville

April 11, 2015

Texas

April 19, 2015

Bristol

April 25, 2015

Richmond

May 3, 2015

Talladega

May 9, 2015

Kansas

May 16, 2015

Charlotte All-Star

May 24, 2015

Charlotte

May 31, 2015

Dover

June 7, 2015

Pocono

June 14, 2015

Michigan

June 28, 2015

Sonoma

July 5, 2015

Daytona

July 11, 2015

Kentucky

July 19, 2015

New Hampshire

July 26, 2015

Indianapolis

August 2, 2015

Pocono

August 9, 2015

Watkins Glen

August 16, 2015

Michigan

August 22, 2015

Bristol

September 6, 2015

Darlington

September 12, 2015

Richmond

September 20, 2015

Chicago

September 27, 2015

New Hampshire

October 4, 2015

Dover

October 10, 2015

Charlotte

October 18, 2015

Kansas

October 25, 2015

Talladega

November 1, 2015

Martinsville

November 8, 2015

Texas

November 15, 2015

Phoenix

November 22, 2015

Miami

Three generations of the France Family - Bill France Jr., Bill France Sr. and Brian France. WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM

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fresh FAR M submitted by Darren Hefty

We know a lot of you who are reading VITAL are farmers, were farmers, or have a general interest in what’s happening on the farm. So in 2015, VITAL will feature two of America’s most well-known and respected farming experts. Not only are Darren and Brian Hefty successful farmers and agronomists, but they also host the popular television and radio show Ag PhD. Their programs help farmers take their operation from Good to Great by sharing information ranging from how to maximize your fertilizer program & tiling to stopping those yieldrobbing insects and crop diseases and more. If you’d like to learn where you can watch or listen to Ag PhD, you can find the listings at agphd.com.

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Where can I cut costs on the farm in 2015? If you’re asking yourself where you can cut costs on the farm this year, you’re not alone. This is definitely one of the top questions I’ve been getting across the country this year. The economics of farming in 2015 are not as rosy as they’ve been for a while, but they certainly aren’t dire. Here’s some advice my dad has given about how farmers who have been successful coming through tough times in the past have done it. “Don’t cut the things that are making you money.” This is good advice for any business at any time. It absolutely applies to farming today. You simply need to look at your farm as a business and each time you write a check look at that purchase as an “investment” rather than an “expense.”

SEED CORN “Should I save money on seed corn by purchasing a lower-priced hybrid without all the traits?” Let’s say you have a choice between Hybrid A, the $300 per bag SmartStax hybrid you planted last year, and Hybrid B, a $200 per bag hybrid with no insect protection traits. If you’re planting at 32,000 population, a bag of corn covers 2.5 acres.

Hybrid A $120 per acre seed investment Hybrid B $80 per acre seed investment That’s a $40 per acre savings up front, but don’t forget the rest of the story. If you need to use insecticide to protect your seed from corn rootworms, depending on the product you choose you will have to invest another $10 to $20 per acre plus you won’t get quite as high a level of control. Also, you may have to spend another $10 per acre for an aerial application of corn borer protection. If corn is $4/bushel, you would need Hybrid A to yield at least 5 bushels better to justify the added investment. Most farmers like to see a 2 to 1 return on any investment, so in that case you’d like to see 10 added bushels of yield to justify the extra investment on seed corn. Last year many farmers ran the pencil on that same investment and used $6 corn which made it look like a no-brainer to go with Hybrid A. My point here is that you need to run the pencil on each investment you make, and the economics may have changed considerably from last year.

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FERTILIZER The investment you need to learn more about is fertilizer. Chances are, next to cash rent, this is your biggest expense (investment) you choose to make each year. Have you pulled good soil samples this year to give you an accurate picture of the nutrient needs in your fields? Can you read your own soil test? Can you make your own fertilizer recommendation for your farm and feel confident it’s the right amount of nutrition to achieve your yield and profitability goals? Where can you cut in your fertilizer program? If you need help with one or more of these questions, find it between now and planting season. It not only will benefit your farm this year but for the rest of your farming career. This year, we grid soil sampled our entire farm. We don’t do that every year, but it was important to our farm to justify each fertilizer investment we made this year. Our goal is to keep our cost per bushel as low as possible by balancing the fertilizer in our soils thereby raising higher yields. Don’t make the mistake of just going by last year’s fertilizer recommendation and doing basically the same thing this year. Here’s an example. If you’re getting 200 bushel corn yields but are short on available potassium, it doesn’t do you any good adding more nitrogen shooting for 210 bushels this year. Rather than spending more money on nitrogen, invest the same money on potassium to address your yield limiting factor. This is where being about to pull and read your own soil samples really pays off.

SUMMARY The biggest thing I have been talking with farmers about this winter has been to make sure you get your seed off to a great start. Don’t give up on starter fertilizer or Headline in-furrow that help your corn get off to a fast start. Remember that if a corn plant is healthy and happy, other stresses that pop up during the growing season are less likely to cause significant yield loss. Are there things that should be cut? Sure, there always are. Just run a Return on Investment calculation for each crop input for your farm.


Don’t cut the things that are making you money. Darren Hefty

Photo by Greg Latza


Ryan Bader, Gian Villante, Tammie Broin, Jeff Broin, Luke Rockhold

DINE with a FIGHTER In the octagon, they are the last guys you would want to stand nose-to-nose with. But what about at your supper table? In November, three professional MMA fighters from the American Ethanol fight team spent the evening supporting POET’s Mission Greenhouse during the 2nd Annual Dine with a Fighter fundraiser. Mission Greenhouse is raising funds for its third trip to Africa to build greenhouses and infrastructure for an all-girls boarding school in Kenya, Africa. Although these fighters may not flaunt their soft side in the octagon, they are truly caring individuals who support the ethanol industry’s cause to make our country more energy independent. Top ranked fighters Luke Rockhold, Ryan Bader and Gian Villante served as wait staff during the event and served bottles of their own

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specially labeled wine. This gave the guests the chance to meet and mingle with the fighters and, of course, purchase a bottle of wine. The great salesmen they are, the fighters sold out of wine before the event was complete. In addition to the three professional mixed martial artists from the American Ethanol team who were able to make the event, others who were not able to attend, due to training for upcoming fights, voiced their support as well. They all pooled together a generous donation from their personal foundations to support Mission Greenhouse. Though their professional pastime may seem a bit intimidating, the true heart of these fighters is one of kindness and generosity.


Luke Rockhold sells his custom-labeled wine to Dine with a Fighter attendees.

Ryan Bader opens a bottle of wine for Dine with a Fighter attendees.

Congratulations, Robbie Lawler!

On December 6, American Ethanol fighter Robbie Lawler defeated defending champion Johnny Hendricks to become the new UFC welterweight champion. An Iowa native, Lawler received All-State honors in wrestling and football while attending Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. Immediately upon high school graduation he began mixed martial arts training and made his professional debut in 2001. Lawler joined the American Ethanol fight team in 2013. “Growing up in Iowa, I have a deep appreciation for agriculture and all the good that ethanol does for our country,” Lawler says. “I’m always proud to step in the octagon with American Ethanol on my trunks and I appreciate all the support I receive.”

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ENERGY FOR LIFE

In the POET Kitchen A weekly Menu Monday recipe is shared with all

by Melissa Ellefson, POET Wellness Director

POET team members. The most popular recipe last quarter was the Sausage Kale Soup. Give it a try! These POET team members did.

Kevin Krier, POET Nutrition

Christina Byers, POET Biorefining – Alexandria

Stuffed Chicken & Roasted Veggies

Barbara Purviance, POET Biorefining – Fostoria

Becky Pitz, POET Biorefining – Mitchell

METHOD: • Preheat oven to 400 degrees • Prep your sprouts and cauliflower and arrange on a baking sheet • Drizzle sprouts and cauliflower with oil and

TOTAL TIME: 45 MINUTES

SERVES: 4

season generously with S &P • Pop in oven THEN: • Heat a skillet to medium high and drizzle with oil

INGREDIENTS:

• Add chicken breasts and brown each side

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

*about 2 minutes each side

½ bag frozen chopped spinach

• Remove chicken breasts and set aside

*or more if you love spinach

*they won’t be cooked through yet and that is ok

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic

• Add a bit more oil, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes

*depending on your taste

• Sauté for about 5 minutes

1 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil

• While veggies are cooking, gather another baking

1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

sheet and slice each chicken breast ½

Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

• way through

1 head cauliflower, cleaned and cut up

• Stir feta into veggies

1 pound Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half

• Stuff each chicken breast with the veggie and

Fresh parmesan cheese for grating

feta mixture

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

• Pop chicken in oven with the roasted cauliflower and sprouts • Bake about 20-30 minutes longer • Top your sprouts and cauliflower with a generous grate of fresh parmesan

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What’s on your mind? Each issue, Melissa Ellefson will answer a frequently asked health-related question and provide practical advice for incorporating wellness into your everyday life.

Q: I have high blood pressure. Do you have any tips for me? A: High blood pressure is often referred to as the “Silent Killer”, affecting 67 million American adults (31%) in the US – that’s 1 of every 3 adults! Left unchecked, high blood pressure can cause a myriad of problems, including kidney damage, stroke, and heart attack. *Source www.CDC.gov

Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: the top number, systolic (force on arteries during heartbeat exertion), and the bottom number, diastolic (arterial pressure between heartbeats). A reading greater than 140 over 90 is a warning sign that should not be ignored. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS If you haven’t had a blood pressure reading taken recently, do it today. It only takes a minute and it could truly save your life. DO A ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS Your blood pressure is not high because your body is medicine-deficient. Something is causing your blood pressure to be high. What is it? See pg. 36 for tips to lower your blood pressure.

Get Active Tabata Time! Tabata is a style of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that requires little time, but offers a big return. Four moves and eight minutes is all you need to complete this workout. No excuses! Find a timer, stop watch or download a Tabata Timer application for your smart phone to keep track of time. No equipment needed. BEGINNER TABATA

DURATION: 8 MINUTES

20 Seconds: Jumping Jacks 10 Seconds: Rest 20 Seconds: Pushups {On your knees or toes} 10 Seconds: Rest 20 Seconds: Mountain Climbers or Plank hold 10 Seconds: Rest 20 Seconds: Prisoner Squats {Stand upright with your hands crossed behind your head and your elbows back. Push your buttocks back and bend your knees as if you are going to sit down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t lean forward. Contract your muscles and return to the start.} 10 Seconds: Rest REPEAT THREE MORE TIMES THROUGH FOR A TOTAL OF EIGHT MINUTES.

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SIX THINGS YOU CAN DO TODAY TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE: REDUCE PROCESSED FOODS DRAMATICALLY Sodium is often blamed for high blood pressure. I feel that this is misdirected. Processed foods are high in sodium, sugar, trans fat, MSG, artificial junk, etc. Therefore, a diet high in processed foods will likely cause blood pressure trouble. However, there is little indication that quality sea salt in a clean, whole foods diet causes high blood pressure. So cut the junk and eat real food. ADD MORE MAGNESIUM Magnesium acts as a natural calcium-channel blocker (one class of anti-hypertensive drugs). Good sources include pumpkin seeds, Swiss chard, cashews, spinach, sunflower seeds and dark beans. Have your magnesium levels checked. You may need a supplement. *Magnesium also aides in stress, sleep, digestion and muscle cramps. OPTIMIZE VITAMIN D Vitamin D works in a similar way as ACE inhibitors (the other class of anti-hypertensive drugs). Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin. It is an essential hormone that protects us from a multitude of problems. Most northerners are deficient in this hormone during the winter months. The next time you are in your doctor’s office, request a 25-hydroxy D3 test. What is the best source of Vitamin D? Sunlight. Your body produces about 10,000 IUs of vitamin D for every fifteen minutes of sun exposure. Do not ever allow yourself to get burned, but please remember that sunlight can be your friend. If you do take a supplement, make sure it is D3 and of the utmost quality. GET QUALITY SLEEP Inadequate sleep is directly linked to an upset in your hormone balance. Hormones affect your blood pressure. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours each night in a cool, dark room without electronics…yes, that means TV. GET THE RIGHT KIND OF EXERCISE INTERVALS! Endless hours of cardio will not affect your body composition the way short bursts of maximum effort can. Perhaps you have a love affair with your treadmill? Add short sprints and recoveries. Perhaps your exercise is walking? Add a few blocks of light jogging and then recover… repeat. Start where you are, but the point is to avoid the flat-line heart rate. Spikes in heart rate and variances in exertion ignite physiological change. LEARN TO DANCE IN THE RAIN We all have stress. No one is immune to it. However, the way we perceive stress and how we deal with it are completely within our control. Set boundaries for yourself and live with integrity. Find peace in the storm. Learn to breathe. Focus on gratitude. You have a rich and beautiful life – choose to live it joyously.

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DON’T JUST CHANGE YOUR JOB

CHANGE TOMORROW + Seeking PRODUCTION OPERATORS, MAINTENANCE & PLANT TECHNICIANS Tired of just putting in the hours? Looking for something more meaningful? Would you like a career with a leading company in an exciting industry that is changing the world? POET is seeking highly motivated, hard-working individuals for positions including PRODUCTION OPERATORS, MAINTENANCE and PLANT TECHNICIANS. These positions come with outstanding pay and benefits. • $36,000 or More • Full Benefits • Retirement Plan

• 3 or 4 Day Workweek • Every Other Weekend Off • Guaranteed OT

To view these positions and more, visit POET.com/careers. Equal Opportunity Employer.


A MOMENT’S

NOTICE

The maintenance team at POET has the responsibility of keeping each POET Biorefinery in working order. It’s not an easy task, but they excel at it. by Kayla Schlechter

Vital has weaved through the teams at POET Biorefineries for over a year now. As we’ve introduced grain buyers, scientists and operators, you’ve met many plant team members and hopefully learned a little about the POET ethanol process along the way. An ethanol plant encompasses hundreds of thousands of moving parts and pieces, some stretching the height of the three-story buildings you see on-site. Its massive machinery runs 24/7 a day, close to 365 days per year. So who takes care of it all? Each POET biorefinery has a team of highly-trained and highly-skilled maintenance personnel. They are responsible for preventing breakdowns and maintaining this critical equipment. With thousands of gears, pumps, levers and tanks all working together, malfunctions are inevitable from time to time. These “Jacks of all trades” are always ready to respond at a moment’s notice to anything that may come up while

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keeping their daily preventive to-do list intact. “We may be working on a project when one of the engineering or research groups will request us to drop what we’re doing and work on their request,” says John Finck, Maintenance Manager at POET Research Center in Scotland, SD. “I don’t know if there is such a thing as a typical day for us.” He would know. Finck has been doing whatever is necessary to meet the needs of POET Research Center for over 20 years now. Meeting needs is a big part of this position – whatever those needs may be. “I do a lot of troubleshooting, problem solving and researching solutions, but that’s what I really enjoy,” says Jon Heintzman, Lead Mechanic for POET Biorefining – Hanlontown, IA. “I get a lot of self-satisfaction when completing a project from problem solving and knowing it is done correctly.” The maintenance team consists

of maintenance managers, technicians, coordinators and fabricators as well as mechanics, electricians and custodians; all working towards one common goal with the rest of the plant team. “The main responsibility is shared by all,” says David Wolfe, Plant Electrician at POET Biorefining – Macon, Mo. “And that is to keep the plant running.” Many team members at a POET Biorefinery need to possess a working knowledge of all the moving parts and pieces of the ethanol plant – this is especially true for the maintenance team. Though they must always be ready for the reactive portion of their jobs – repairs and requests– much of their day is actually spent on preventive maintenance. Their goal is to head off complications before they need to be fixed. “I work on preventive maintenance just about every day,” says Shane Sudlow, Shift Maintenance for POET Biorefining


John Finck, Maintenance Manager at POET Research Center in Scotland, SD – Leipsic, OH. “I spend a good bit of time completing preventive maintenance on the dryers, conveyers, blowers, etc.” Wolfe’s day begins at shift exchange when information is transferred to a fresh team to learn what the plant demands for the day. Then it’s on to preventive maintenance, repairs and projects. Throughout the day he responds to requests requiring him to adjust his day accordingly. “For an electrician, this can mean many things,” Wolfe explains. “When a system fails I have to respond to make adjustments and repairs to keep downtime minimal.” When they’re called to work on a request, there’s never a complaint from the maintenance team. After all, this is what they are driven to do and where a sense of success can be found. “Meeting and overcoming new challenges is the best part of my job,” says Sudlow. “Every day is different, which keeps the job interesting.” Wolfe’s favorite part of his job “is that feeling of accomplishment, whether from a successful repair or the implementation of new ideas that resolve repetitive problems.” Bill Dixon, Custodian at POET Biorefining – Hudson, SD, has much to get done before the start of the day. Between cleaning,

Jon Heintzman, Lead Mechanic for POET Biorefining – Hanlontown, IA landscaping and snow removal, Mother Nature can make an impact on his day-to-day. But the sun he gets to enjoy in the summer makes it all worth it. “My favorite part of my job?” Dixon asks. “Being able to work outside in the summertime.” So, what brought these unique individuals to POET? The tasks they complete daily? Hardly. After two decades at POET, Finck’s motivation remains the same as it was in the beginning. “In 1989, my oldest son enlisted in the Army and ended up in the first Iraq war,” he says. “My motivation has always been to help produce as much ethanol as possible to try to eliminate sending our sons and daughters overseas to fight for oil.” He’s not the only one who has a love of country and family. Heintzman comes from an agriculture background and that’s important to him. “I work for a company that helps support my family farm, not foreign oil.” “I feel like we are doing something positive not only for the community, but also for our country,” says Wolfe. With motivation like this, they do what they can to support the industry they believe in. “I have and will continue to use ethanol in every gas-operated engine I own,” Finck adds.

David Wolfe, Plant Electrician at POET Biorefining – Macon, MO

Shane Sudlow, Shift Maintenance for POET Biorefining – Leipsic, OH

Bill Dixon, Custodian at POET Biorefining – Hudson, SD

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Team members included on this list hold the positions of Custodian, Electrician, Fabricator I, Maintenance Clerk, Maintenance Coordinator, Maintenance Manager, Maintenance Supervisor, Maintenance Technician I & Maintenance Technician II.

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POET Biorefining –

Brandon Lee

Joshua LaBore

POET Biorefining –

Alexandria

Vernon Christopherson

Reggie Wesdorp

Emmetsburg

Daniel Heath

Jacob Dorry

William Brown

POET Biorefining –

Wayne Smith

Joshua Nieman

POET Biorefining –

Cloverdale

Timothy Douglass

Christina Byers

Bingham Lake

Dale Moore

William Hawks

John Twibell

Octavio Lopez

Joseph Michaels

Jennifer Moore

Jesse Crowell

Arthur Flippin Jr.

Michael Meyer

POET Biorefining –

Michael Anderson

Michael Woods

Judd Duhn

Ashton

Jeremy Reitzel

LeAnn Dagel

POET Biorefining –

Dana Syrus

POET Biorefining –

Miley Hoting

Caro

Brad McMahan

Fostoria

Amy Smith

Daniel Meacham

Dennis Zeigler

David Axtell

Clinton Daisy

POET Biorefining –

Dwight Oney

Michael Steichen

Paul Rau

Coon Rapids

Jeremy Schindorff

Timothy Everhart

Christopher White

Thomas Reiling

Kyle Renfro

Jonathan Oldenkamp

Michael Merser

Edward Kautzky

James Kuhlman

Jacob Kollasch

Derek Worth

Michael Smith

Timothy Smutzer

Shawn Merser

Kristin Lair

POET Biorefining –

Raymond Hill

Scott Bokhart

Douglas Wurzer

Glenville

Mary Gerken

Kurt Waldie

Steve Olson

Christopher Staniford

Luke Richards

POET Biorefining –

Brett Wilson

Tracy Weidner

Robert Torres

Corning

Nathaniel Thompson

Joseph Peyerk III

Troy Spinks

Brook Wiedeman

POET Biorefining –

Edgar Ross

Vicki Larson

Brad Davis

Big Stone

Kevin Lowe

Jeffrey Butler

Matthew Jackson

Michael Kirchberg

James Yaroch

James Kinzie

David Adams

Nancy Schmidt

Lester Ballard

Douglas Hanson

Kelly Stotesbery

POET Biorefining –

Cory Glor

LeRoy Williams

Matthew Trevett

Chancellor

Jonathan Stuart

Kevin Gapp

Louis McClintock

Allen Gray Jr.

Daniel Millerbernd

Jesse Klement

Joshua Cross

Paul Streich

Travis Wiese

Jacob Jaeckle

Justin Pearson

Dennis Gnewuch

Philip Dedrick

Garret Christopherson

Kyle Deboer

Mark Brustuen

Rick Wuertz

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

Ryan Haywood


POET Biorefining –

Frank Schuller

Alvin Unverferth

Troy Maeschen

Gowrie

Michael Kruid

Silvia Stover

Tim Murphy

Dee Kopp

Nicholas Titze

Matthew McConnell

Robert Walston

Christopher Grubb

Dakota Sudlow

POET Biorefining –

Kevin Tobey

Daniel Tandeski

Cody Stahl

Portland

Tanner Lawrence

Chad McVay

Shane Sudlow

Elaine Brunswick

Dallas Anderson

Scott Schroeder

Robert Byers Jr.

Matthew Martens

POET Biorefining –

Daniel Alcazar

Jewell

POET Biorefining –

Paula Fifer

Adam Olson

Michael Mortenson

Macon

John Mikulski

Samson Searcy

Shane Nelson

Charles Carpenter

Darren DuBois Sr.

David French

Kimberly Miles

David Wolfe

Nathaniel Reinhart

Thomas Taylor

Gregory Smith

David Baase

Charles Keen

Chadwick Meyer

Justin Winkler

Raymond Snell

Bradley Russell

Orrin Glines

Josh Thudium

Ryan Sheffer

POET Biorefining –

Daniel Paulson

Scott Warren

Aaron Post

Groton

Steve Clark

Joseph Curtis

Angie Wolff

Ty Grady

Noah Miller

POET Research

Jack Strong

Anthony Popp

Wade Liebhart

Center

Casey Strong

Joshua Jones

Devin Berry

Kristy Furney

Gavin Krueger

Tom Brekke

Kevin Wriedt

Vincent Bickner

Jeremy Randolph

Bruce Hespen

Jeffry Demsich

Brian Munkvold

Christopher Smith

Douglas Janssen

Jeffrey Fisher

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

Daniel Brunken

Hanlontown

Laddonia

POET Biorefining –

John Finck

Benjamin Moretz

Kenneth Sharp

North Manchester

Clinton Sieben

David Paulson

Christopher Pritchett

Kent Dyson

Kyle Bely

Jon Heintzman

Aaron Sells

Terry Miller

Michael Harford

Tracy McCoy

Ronald Gough

Pamela Clark

Timothy Trautmann

Paul Quintero

Carl Dry

Todd Springer

Terry Breeding

Quinton Cordray

Gregory Stuart

Joshua Bruns

Ryan Jackson

POET Biorefining –

Terry Freier

James Morrise

Ricky Exendine

Marion

Jeffrey Comstock

Timothy Ginapp

Travis Lybarger

Frank Curry Jr.

Douglas Cuka

William Enderson

Tyson Meranda

Louis Fitzpatrick

Tim Godlevsky

Kelly Schaefer

Kenneth Yaeger

Kellie Ferguson

Darrel Davidson

Kenneth Swaim

Terry Dorn

POET Biorefinig –

Brent Kesler

Brian Bruch

Preston

POET Biorefining –

Adam Grover

POET Biorefining –

POET Biorefining –

Mitchell

Brandon Berg

Hudson

Lake Crystal

Brett Hart

Robert Muller

William Dixson II

Kristen Raatz

Richard Magstadt

Christopher Peterson

Craig Farrell

Garret Bellefeuille

Shelley Knutson

Blaine Coyle

Jamie Norseen

Trent Hagen

Dale Hayen

Chris Pecinovsky

Darin Sigler

Michelle Hagen

Joseph McCartney

James Barrett

Terry Waterman

Ryan Haala

Rickey Muller

Brandon Stackhouse

Daniel Duba

Jerry Nash

Michael Vandemore

Mason Lavaway

Terry Jolin

POET Biorefining –

Dwayne Melchert

Michael Gray

Leipsic

Jonathan Lentz

Billy Phillips

Matthew Keeler

Bill Krietlow

John Imm

Randy Varilek

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1.6 27 570 1.6 More than Just

NUMBERS POET Grain focuses on the relationship with their “customers,” the hard-working farmers in their local communities. by Steve Lange | photos by Greg Latza

It’s an organization that encompasses 27 biorefineries in seven states, buys 570 million bushels of grain that will provide feedstock to produce 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol per year. For Dean Watson, POET Grain, the entity that buys grain for POET’s 27 biorefineries, represents something much bigger, and much more important than just numbers. “POET Grain is a capability, a thought process, a culture,” says Watson, who joined POET Ethanol Products in 2006 and took over as president of Wichita-based POET Grain in early 2014. “POET Grain is about the 27 biorefineries working together to make our entire company better. It’s about serving our customers better.” While the seeds of POET Grain date back nearly a decade, POET decided the time was right in 2013 to make a major move – a move they hoped would strengthen the company’s biorefining business by consolidating grain buying from 27 entities to one. The process has not been easy, and has required everything from implementing new accounting practices to revamping existing corn bidding methods to communicating these changes to a customer base

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of thousands of grain sellers. “I’m extremely proud of the way our commodity managers have embraced the teamwork aspect of POET Grain,” says Wyatt Haines, POET’s Vice President of Financing Strategy. “We keep working on building that local producer relationship. It’s a vision for the future that benefits investors, employees and producers.” That effort has already yielded positive results for POET– things like more efficient use of capital, utilization of specialized resources, greater market opportunity and diversified grain portfolio returns. Those tangible results – things like a more analytical approach to the market when it comes to buying grain – continue to improve, according to Watson. “We’re seeing a culture shift,” he says. “We’ve seen a difference in how we are approaching the market, in the details, in the thoughtfulness we are putting into the bidding process.” Those involved with POET Grain have also seen something less tangible, but maybe more important – an increase in communication not only across the company, but also with their customers, the farmers. Just as important to POET, the new system should


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43


benefit the farmers who bring bushels to those biorefineries, sometimes from 100 or more miles away. In a business in which grain buyers would normally be considered customers, POET has long taken the opposite view and treated the grain sellers – the farmers – with the highest level of customer service. “This is a relationship business,” says Watson. “POET Grain allows us to communicate better with farmers. Instead of just saying ‘This is our price,’ we can also explain why it’s our price, and they appreciate that straightforwardness. For our customers, we hope to create a tremendous amount of value.” Today, a full biorefinery doesn’t have to turn away potential grain sellers. When it comes to buying those 570 million bushels of grain per year, POET Grain’s new structure allows the company to communicate with each biorefinery to provide information like overall market conditions and ethanol margins. They can trade grain into secondary markets or – and they’ve already seen examples of this – move bushels from one POET facility to another, which is a win/win scenario for both POET and the producer.

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“In many ways, I think POET Grain has improved our organization,” says Steve Seabrook, Vice President of Commercial Relations at POET. “Our ability to work as one group has allowed us to build an even higher l e v e l of trust with our most valued customers, the farmers. And, the best part is, we’re just getting warmed up.”


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TOP 125 Every year, Biofuels Digest ranks the best of the best in the advanced bioeconomy. They recently published their list including 125 CEOs, association executives, scientists, policy leaders, among others. The rankings are nominated and voted on by readers of the Biofuels

JEFF BROIN

Digest and the publication’s editorial board. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, led the list with POET’s Founder and Executive Chairman Jeff Broin and CEO Jeff Lautt, ranked third. Also making the list were Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and Co-Chairman General Wesley Clark, ranked 28th.

JEFF LAUTT

Congratulations to those listed

BiofuelsDigest and thank you for the work you’re doing to advance our industry.

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t

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HOLIDAY HELPING

With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, POET biorefineries reflect on the good that was shared this season. Many biorefineries shared festive acts of kindness and helped many families celebrate a Christmas that would not have existed otherwise.

SCOTLAND SNACK PACK

hams!

POET Research Center in Scotland, S.D. added their own twist to a Thanksgiving meal this year. They cooked a feast for all team members and asked for a free-will donation for the Scotland Snack Pack Program. The Snack Pack program provides food to kids in the community on the weekends who otherwise rely on school lunch as their main source of food.

POET Biorefining – Gowrie, Iowa helped provide a

Christmas meal to needy families this holiday season. Working with their local food pantry, they donated hams for 15 needy families. The team also has plans to continuously support the food pantry with their construction plans in 2015.

Toby Remmers, Doug Janssen, Joseph Kronaizl, Andrew Christensen, Jeff Comstock and Kristy Furney display the donation to be presented to the Scotland Snack Pack Program

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renew CHRISTMAS

ASSISTANCE

Kari Cook, Quality Manager, presents gifts to representatives from the school system.

The team at POET Biorefining in Alexandria, Ind. participated in the Christmas Assistance Program through Alexandria Monroe School System. They purchased Christmas gifts for three families – 10 kids (ages 20 months to 17 years). Each child received two complete outfits and toys. The kids had seven or more gifts to open on Christmas morning. The team also collected non-perishable food items to be distributed in gift baskets.

MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY The team members at POET Biorefining in North Manchester, Ind. spread out their festive giving among many charities in their community. They provided to the Boomerang Backpack Program that provides weekend food for children who rely on sustenance from school lunches and they provided funds to build a wheel chair ramp to the Turnstone Center, an activity center for the handicapped in northeast Indiana. They also contributed to the college fund for the children of a local police officer who lost his life earlier in the year. And to top it off, they contributed to the Shop with a Copy program helping provide new clothes, food and Christmas gifts to several needy children in town.

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Thank You

Each year the team at POET Biorefining – Corning says thank you to the residents of Brooks, Iowa with a Thanksgiving feast. The community sits adjacent to the Corning biorefinery facility and has always had a very neighborly attitude towards the biorefinery.


food fight POET Biorefineries in Hanlontown, Iowa and Glenville, Minn. had a little friendly competition this holiday season. In its second year, their annual food drive had outstanding results. Between the two plants, they collected over 16 tons of food!

Donations were divided between Manna of North Iowa in Northwood, Iowa; the Food Bank in Lake Mills, Iowa; the Community Kitchen in Mason City, Iowa; the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City, Iowa and the Salvation Army in Albert Lea, Minn.

POET Biorefining – Hanlontown team members Bruce Moore, Denny Baker, Dave Paulson, Quinton Cordray, Paulette Rueter, Tracy McCoy and Peyton Perkins load a trailer to deliver donations.

In disguise, POET Biorefining – Glenville Accountant, Paulette Anderson, delivers the final results to POET Biorefining – Hanlontown General Manager, Kelly Hansen.

Josh Kermes, Jenni Hanna, Brenda Sorenson and David DeVries from POET Biorefining – Glenville deliver food donations.

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renew

CHRISTMAS ANGELS Each year POET Biorefining – Corning, Iowa participates in the Corning Christmas Angel Project where they adopt a family and help make their Christmas a little brighter. Co-chairs of the plant Angel Tree committee, Paige Dinkla and Heather Smith, deliver gifts (Co-chair Vicki Larson not pictured).

POET Biorefining – Fostoria, Ohio participated in their 2nd Annual Christmas with an Angel this Christmas. Team members worked with the guidance counselors at Fostoria schools to determine a list of children and families in need. To provide funds for the gifts, a donation was provided from POET Biorefining – Fostoria and team members chipped in funds. This year, their list consisted of 28 children. Each child received multiple gifts and necessities as well as an angel. Tracy Benner, Phyllis Willard, Jeremy Schindorff and Kyle Renfro (the Employee Involvement Team) were the designated shoppers and chose gifts for each child. Team members from POET Biorefining – Groton, S.D. and two very generous producers donated money to the Give a Christmas fund. With the money that was collected, the team was able to provide five local families with a Christmas meal, Christmas gifts and put money towards their utility bills. POET Biorefining – Hudson, S.D. is proud to have fulfilled a tenth year of commitment to the Canton Optimist Foundation Angel Tree program. In addition to filling all 30 Angel Tree tags, POET Biorefining – Hudson also provided a meal for each family. Corn Buyer, Allison Highum; Commodity Manager, Russ Hazel; and Scale Master, Amanda Homandberg, present the check for the family’s meal to a member of the Canton Optimist Foundation.

For the last several years, POET Biorefining – Mitchell, S.D. has participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. This year the biorefinery sponsored a family of four kids. If they wish to participate, team members can purchase items on the list or donate money. Each of the kids in the family received a shirt, pants, shoes, socks, underwear and a toy. POET Biorefining – Mitchell also provides the family with food items for a full holiday meal.

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SUPER HEROES save christmas This holiday season, the team at POET Biorefining – Corning, Iowa created a lighted holiday float and participated in local light parades. In the Clarinda Lighted Holiday Parade they received Honorable Mention. In the Corning Lighted Holiday Parade they took first place for their float titled SuperHeroes Save Christmas!

CenterPointEnergy.com/CES • 800-495-9880 © 2014 CenterPoint Energy 140285


THE BEST IS YET TO COME by Steve Lange photo by Greg Latza

As a kid growing up in a military family, Don Dietrich was used to relocating regularly. In fact, in 2012 when he settled into his current town of Sioux Falls, it marked his 35th move in 57 years. In his early moves, Dietrich learned quickly the traits that would help him make new friends in new settings – traits like reliability and honesty and direct communication. As an adult, Dietrich has built an impressive professional resume that includes everything from trading some of the world’s largest grain positions to a four-year stint as the Director of the Idaho Department of Commerce (“We dove headfirst into international trade”) to dealing in crude oil (“Yes, I worked for the dark side”). For CEO Jeff Lautt, Dietrich’s seasoned background made him the perfect hire as President of POET Nutrition. And, according to Lautt, Dietrich’s personal traits have made him a great fit. “Don brings a wealth of varied experience to POET,” says Lautt. “He has also proven to be a reliable friend, an honest communicator, and the kind of boss that you want as a team member.”

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Director of Sales for POET Nutrition Matt Reiners, who reports to Dietrich, agrees. “Don can handle the boardroom with foreign dignitaries,” Reiners says, “but he can also handle the boardroom full of folks on our team for a casual lunch.” For Dietrich, it feels like all of that experience, that journey criss-crossing the country and beyond, may have been the circuitous path that led him to POET. “I’m here to help the team take [POET Founder and Executive Chairman] Jeff Broin’s vision forward,” Dietrich says. “I’ve been exposed to a lot, and now I can call on those experiences to be part of an industry that’s making a difference for the future. We’ve come a long way to get here, but the best days are yet to come.”


What drew you to agriculture in the first place?

DON: Initially, I wanted to go to vet school. I worked for vets for three years, but decided that was going to anchor me down. So I chose to go the agri-business route. I’ve found I have a real passion for working with people in this industry. It’s fun. It’s challenging. You moved around a lot as a kid.

DON: Yes. I grew up in a military family. My wife and I both grew up as military brats. When you move a lot you learn to fit in quickly. Friends are an important part of getting established. You learn to get grounded pretty quickly. It’s an essential skill you develop. You learn to always look for the best aspects of where you’re living. Tell me about your family.

DON: My wife, Christy, and I have been married for 29 years. We have one son, Will, who is 26. How did you and Christy meet?

DON: We met in high school in Illinois. Later, we rekindled that relationship when a mutual friend in California reintroduced us. From that point we started a long-distance relationship that lasted a long time. I got lucky. You served as the Director of the Idaho Department of Commerce from 2008-2011, which included a record export year for Idaho industries.

DON: We doubled our exports during that time. It was a challenging period. Every other state was running from international trade. We dove headfirst into international trade. It paid off in spades for a relatively small state. When did you get your pilot’s license?

DON: When I was a sophomore in college [at the University of Missouri], 1977. I still fly now. It’s one of the things we enjoy as a family. Any scary moments?

DON: Not really. But while I was in Idaho I was given the opportunity to fly the F-15 Strike Eagle. I got to take the controls and got some good supersonic time under my belt. It was a tremendous experience.

oil from POET’s 27 biorefineries] through our doors, and with that comes considerable risk. You need a solid understanding of the commodity markets and managing risk, and I have experience with both. I have a trading background in both grains and petroleum, so I understand the energy industry. In other words, yes, I worked for the dark side. … You can call on those experiences to help guide your team. How big is your team?

DON: Direct reports, I’ve got 6. Total team is 54. POET targets people who believe in the bigger picture. Is this something you’ve bought into?

DON: How can’t you catch the fever? Seriously. Look, we know that hydrocarbons are a limited resource, and we can’t rely on them forever. It’s really hard not to catch the bug, to see that you are helping to create something that is sustainable. Unfortunately, not everyone has bought into the story yet. They don’t realize the great work that’s being done, not only by POET, but by the broader industry. It’s fun to be part of a movement that will make a positive difference well into the future. Do you have any weird hobbies?

DON: I’ve had my share. I used to raise rollers and tumblers, which are pigeons that have a Vitamin B deficiency, which makes them roll and do back flips. You could teach them to do snap rolls on command. Does that count? I would say that raising pigeons with a vitamin deficiency that causes them to do backflips counts as a weird hobby, yes. Is there one thing you are most proud of in your time with POET?

DON: I honestly think that this year will be a particularly big year in getting our product into the hands of consumers that we have not worked with in the past. As we start our global outreach, we’re pushing our product into more areas that simply haven’t used our products in the past. We’re going to do a lot of educating. We’re going to be out there teaching the virtues of using distillers grains, a co-product of the ethanol refining industry. I’d say the best days are yet to come.

How has past work experience helped with POET Nutrition?

DON: We run a lot of product [including 5 million tons of distillers grains and 600 million pounds of corn

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CONUNDRUM ACROSS 1. Songs that “Say So Much,” to Elton 4. Subject of Bohr’s theory 8. Tires 13. Golfer’s peg 14. Detecting device 16. Deflect 17. Trajectory path 18. Garden dweller 19. Like stray dogs 20. Capable of decomposition 23. Loaded 24. ‘’Star Wars’’ character 25. Kind of instinct 28. Any qualified voter 31. Parsley family plant 33. Warning float 36. Move obliquely 37. POET’s Load ___. technology that

evenly distributes dried distillers

grains onto rail cars

41. POET’s trademarked non toxic

edible protein product with many

other commercial applications

43. Biodegradable, low-nutrient protein

found in corn

44. Earth Day month 46. Be wide open 47. Grassland area in South America 49. Grassley, for one 55. Georgia neighbor, abbr. 56. The one close by 59. Informed 60. Poet is on track to meets its 2020

intensity goal for this type of

emission 64. Forearm-related 66. Quibbles 67. Ordinal number ending 68. Eucalyptus muncher 69. Mountain ridge 70. Opposite of “paleo-” 71. Do well (at) 72. Goes with Standard 73. Banned insecticide, briefly

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DOWN

38. Birthstone after sapphire

1. Firmly established

40. Party bowlful

2. Lofty

42. End letter

3. Crack

45. NFL pass

4. Silver on a coat of arms

48. Cow or sow

5. Astronaut drink

50. Former Egyptian president

6. Skunk’s defense

51. Open-mouthed emotion

7. Half of a ‘60s quartet

52. Scrap

8. Plants used for wood flooring

53. Pontificated

9. Football

54. Did a double take?

10. Outlaw

57. Peruvian empire builder

11. Physics unit

58. On the dot

12. Muddy home

61. Wheezing sound

15. Work over

62. Fig Newton alternative

21. Winter month, for short

63. Capable of performing

22. Complete

64. Hawaiian guitar

26. Wrinkly-skinned fruit

65. Cured salmon

27. Harry Potter, for one 29. Kimono part 30. Ladder foothold 32. Relative of ‘’i.e.’’ 34. Russian name ending 35. Puppy sounds 37. Finger food at a fiesta

39. French brandy


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FROM THE HEARTLAND by Greg Breukelman

“Why do we live here?” It’s a question I often hear from my wife and daughters on days like today when the temperature outside is a negative 13 degrees and my handy iPhone weather app says the “real feel” is somewhere south of thirty degrees below zero. It’s really a pretty good question: why DO we choose to live here? Why do we endure these frigid days and icy roads? Why do we put up with the wind and coldness taking our breath away? Today, as we’re layering our clothing and scraping ice off our windshields, there are plenty of places where people are golfing, jogging on the beach or relaxing by the pool. I’m really not sure I have a good explanation for why we choose to live in the rural Midwest when there are plenty of other great options around the United States. It’s not like we have beautiful beaches or majestic mountains nearby to enjoy. Our dining and entertainment options are certainly less than major metropolitan areas. And the weather, well ... I think the best explanation I have is that this is who we are. We are Midwesterners. This is our habitat. It’s what we know. It’s where we feel most comfortable. It’s where we call home.

Like many of you, my ancestors left their homes and families in Europe in the late 1800s, immigrated to the US and homesteaded in the Midwest. My forefathers settled on the prairie about 100 miles west of where I am right now. They put a stake in the ground and called it their home. Somehow they survived. They survived days colder than today without a thermostat that could adjust the temperature with the push of a button. They didn’t have an indoor bathroom. And they certainly didn’t have a car in the driveway with remote start and heated seats. They survived these conditions by relying on their own hard work, the help of family and friends, and above all, their faith in God. Why did they do it? For those settlers it had to be a lot more than just creating a better life for themselves. To endure all of that, their vision must have been much greater. I’d like to believe they took those risks and persevered those awful circumstances to build better lives not for themselves only, but for generations to come — including me. Over the past century, the values that sustained those settlers have mostly endured in this part of the world. Those risk-takers from past generations built this culture. And today, adjectives like faithful, hard-working, familyoriented, community-minded, honest, gritty, humble and responsible are still the words I would use to describe my family, friends and co-workers – and really most people I come into contact with around here. I’m not suggesting these values have disappeared in other parts of the country. But I think they may be more commonplace in rural, Midwestern America. I like that. I’m proud of it. And that’s where I want to be — even when it’s negative 13.

Greg Breukelman works at POET as Senior Vice President of Communications. With a wife and five daughters he hears his share of complaints on a far range of topics in addition to the weather.

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DO THESE FACES LOOK HUNGRY FOR

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newholland.com/na © 2015 CNH Industrial America LLC. All rights reserved. New Holland Agriculture is a trademark registered in the United States and many other countries, owned by or licensed to CNH Industrial N.V., its subsidiaries or affiliates.

Vital Magazine - Winter 2015  
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