THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
WORK to LIVE POET’s safety campaign takes time to remind team members that we all mean the world to someone.
THE HISTORY OF POET – BOLD TRANSFORMATION, A POET TRADITION Success drives expansion and the development of the POET business model.
MORE THAN A FIGHTER As a professional UFC fighter, Ryan Bader battles misconceptions – just like American Ethanol.
THE RISING TIDE OF ETHANOL EXPORTS American ethanol exports look to expand globally due to global benefits and strong market opportunities. Winter 2016
THE FUTURE LOOKS
SO MUCH BRIGHTER ABOVE GROUND + At POET, we’re turning traditional ideas about energy production on their head. We combine human ingenuity with nature’s miracle of growth to produce efficient biofuels, foods, feeds and renewable alternatives to petrochemicals.
Opportunity is everywhere, if you know where to look. poet.com
FEATURES 10 THE HISTORY OF POET – BOLD TRANSFORMATION, A POET TRADITION
by Peter Harriman Success drives expansion and the development of the POET business model.
18 WORK TO LIVE
by Steve Lange The POET plants emphasize the need for safety through their recent campaign.
28 MORE THAN A FIGHTER
computer Visit www.poet.com for the latest news, career opportunities and plant profiles.
by Janna Farley As a professional UFC fighter, Ryan Bader battles misconceptions – just like American Ethanol.
34 THE RISING TIDE OF ETHANOL EXPORTS
by Lori Weaver American ethanol exports look to expand globally due to global benefits and strong market opportunities.
by Jeff Broin
26 FARM FRESH 40 ENERGY FOR LIFE 44 NASCAR® UPDATE 46 RENEW
50 PEOPLE OF POET
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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.
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©2016 POET, LLC. All rights reserved.
Publication Design & Layout: Cassie Medema firstname.lastname@example.org
IN SIGHT by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and CEO of POET
Here at POET, and throughout the entire ethanol industry, we talk about the importance of making our voices heard. I’m sure many of you have asked a time or two if it even makes a difference? Do lawmakers in Washington, D.C. read these hand-written comments? Does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) open the emails we’ve sent or listen to the voicemail messages we’ve left? I write today to tell you: YES. Yes, lawmakers in D.C. heard you. The EPA and the Obama Administration heard you. How do I know this? Because on November 30, the EPA announced it was officially breaking the blend wall – the same blend wall we have all been working to tear down for years! As part of its responsibility under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the EPA recently released its final Renewable Volume Obligation numbers for 2014, 2015 and 2016. This final rule increased the amount of renewable fuel by over 700 million gallons compared to its May proposal. In 2016, 18.11 billion gallons of renewable fuel will be blended into the fuel supply, making that amount more than 10% of the total market supply. Breaking the blend wall creates a path for higher blends of ethanol, like E15. We know E15 is gaining traction in convenience stores across the country. Not only is the fuel currently available at more than 120 stations in 18 states, but Prime the Pump is working with dozens of major retailers to install E15 and flex pumps at more than 700 locations in 21 states. While the blend wall has been officially eliminated once and for all, these renewable volume obligations still fall below what is written in the RFS. We have been vocal that POET and the industry disagree with
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the legality of the methodology used by the EPA to determine these volumes. If you are involved in agriculture, you know that the only solution to utilize growing commodity supplies and raise commodity prices is more ethanol in gasoline. As a company, POET will continue to work hard to demonstrate not only to the Administration and Congress, but to the nation, that ethanol is a key and vital component in reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and combating climate change. We also all need to remind our leaders that ethanol is critical to the future of agriculture. I look forward to breaking the blend wall in 2016 but I am also excited to see industry initiatives, like Prime the Pump, work to take the future into our own hands. Because if we expect to see rapid growth in our industry, ethanol producers, ag companies and farmers will have to lead the way. Big Oil continues to have unprecedented influence in Washington and knowing that, we can’t expect Congress or the EPA to do the heavy lifting. If we rest on our laurels, I can assure you we will see slow growth in ethanol accompanied by a difficult ag economy for many years. Thanks to each one of you for telling your personal story to the EPA about how our industry is making a difference in your life and our country’s future. I can say without a doubt that we all had a big impact in reaching this final decision at EPA. There will be other battles ahead. While we should all be proud of our collective effort to stand up to Big Oil and defend the Renewable Fuel Standard, we need to get back to work to ensure a bright future for ethanol and agriculture. We will not claim victory until E15 and mid-level blends are in every single pump across our nation!
Contributing Every Day to the Lives of Ordinary Americans Our processes and equipment contribute to thousands of products we use daily…the 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 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’s centrifuges and separation equipment and the industries we serve, call or visit us online.
GEA North America
engineering for a better world
Phone: 201-767-3900 · Toll-Free: 800-722-6622 gea.com
TOP TWEETS Twitter is a forum for thousands of conversations taking place in 140-character comments, with participants from all over the world. People or organizations are represented by user names such as @ethanolbypoet. The topic of conversation is often highlighted with a hashtag (#). This is a sampling of whatâ€™s being said about energy and biofuels. The comments do not necessarily represent the opinions of POET, LLC.
@benschloss @Rchildress3 speaking to group of pioneer retailers on #E15 @AmericanEthanol in Vegas. Proud to w/ @growthenergy!
@mdmerritt Packed house for a @ethanolbyPOET biofuels history lesson at POET headquarters w/ Dr. Bill Kovarik! #poetproud
@Project_Gaia #Ethanol helps #EndViolenceAgainstWomen by eliminating dangerous trips 2 collect firewood #orangetheworld
@AmericanEthanol Thanks for another great season, @austindillon3! Canâ€™t wait for Daytona! #NASCAR
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@souleschris As an Iowa farmer, I am proud to support clean American #ethanol
@MikeChandlerMMA Great to see @realdonaldtrump visiting @ethanolbyPOET – no need to depend on foreign oil @AmericanEthanol @AR_future
@realDonaldTrump Thank you Iowa! I appreciate all of your support @IowaCentral & @ethanolbyPOET this evening! #Trump2016 #IACaucus
@GrowthEnergy “It’s #BackToTheFuture Day! Perfect time to remind everyone that #ethanol is the fuel of the future.
@ethanolbyPOET #DidYouKnow on this day in 1947, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the 1st time? He was using #ethanol.
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.
“When the final numbers were announced in late November, the RFS remained beneath the levels I believe are appropriate. Nonetheless, the EPA did adjust the requirements at least slightly higher because of the pressure we put on them. Especially at a time when the Middle East remains so volatile, our commitment to homegrown renewable fuels should not be in doubt. While the EPA is backing down, I am not.”
“So much for the so-called blend wall. President Barack Obama’s administration on Monday ordered refiners to blend a record 14.5 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline next year. For the first time ever, that will mean ethanol will make up more than 10 percent of the total U.S. fuel mix, a threshold that oil companies have said is dangerous to exceed because of potential damage to engines and catalytic converters.”
– Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) discusses the importance of maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard in her weekly column.
– reporter Mario Parker reports in Bloomberg on the EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligation announcement.
11/13 “I went out to see some of the folks on the ethanol team. Good stuff and great people, put a lot of people to work out here. I just want to thank them, they’re doing an amazing job.” – Presidential candidate Donald Trump talks about his experience at POET Biorefining – Gowrie during a rally in Fort Dodge, IA.
11/3 “When it comes to environmental benefits, can anyone seriously believe that oil is better than biodegradable ethanol that burns cleaner, is renewable and improves air quality? We didn’t think so. Ecologically devastating spills such as Deepwater Horizon, which dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil and polluted an area in the Gulf of Mexico the size of Oklahoma, cannot be easily forgotten. Neither can the 7,662 spills, oil leaks and blowouts that occurred in 2013 alone.” – Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis in an opinion pieced published in The Hill.
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12/1 “Politicians like Ted Cruz support subsidies for Big Oil but want to end support for ethanol. Cruz backs policies that threaten rural Iowa and thousands of jobs.” – a new ad from America’s Renewable Future, calling out Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz for his lack of support for the Renewable Fuel Standard.
11/30 “I look forward to breaking the so-called ‘blend wall’ next year and proving this country’s ability to replace more imported oil with biofuels produced within our borders. In the future, we need to see a stronger and more consistent commitment to renewable fuel from Washington if we are ever going to realize the true potential of renewable fuels, including the development of cellulosic ethanol.” – POET CEO Jeff Broin responds to the EPA’s announcement of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Renewable Volume Obligations.
11/9 “In the early 1980s when my father started looking at producing ethanol on his farm, corn prices were as low as $1.30 a bushel while costing more than two times that much to produce. Not only was there a surplus of grain and low prices, but also there were set-aside acres and storage payments to store corn that there was no market for. From a farmer’s perspective, the future of ag looked pretty bleak. The growth of ethanol over the next 20 years would definitely begin to balance the commodity supplies – not just for the U.S. but for the entire world.”
10/28 “The health of our team members is a top priority. A workplace focused on holistic wellness – including the mind, body and spirit – helps the company thrive and prosper, and the opening of these new Energy Centers signifies our continued commitment to the Energy for Life program.” – POET President & COO Jeff Lautt in a press release announcing the opening of fitness centers at each POET plant location.
– POET CEO Jeff Broin answers how important ethanol is to U.S. farmers.
The History of POET â€“
A POET TRADITION Success drives expansion and the development of the POET business model. by Peter Harriman
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South Dakota Wheat Growers Association plant design and construction in Aberdeen, SD WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM
Claremont plant during construction. As one of the world’s largest ethanol producers, POET now has 28 biorefineries and a multitude of supporting companies including POET Design and Construction, POET Plant Management, POET Nutrition, POET Ethanol Products, POET Grain, POET Research and several more. At the Project LIBERTY dedication in 2014, POET’s joint venture with Royal DSM was heralded as a transforming event. It would help lead the U.S. into a post-fossil fuel age. This is the POET of today. But at POET, old hands had seen a version of this transformation before. More than two decades ago, POET began with a bold ethanol start-up in Scotland, SD and underwent a metamorphosis that launched a biofuels empire. To recap POET’s history, the Broin family in the early 1980s began making ethanol at a small
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scale plant of their own design on their southeastern Minnesota farm and selling it in the area. In 1987 they parlayed this into purchasing and resurrecting a failed one-million-gallon ethanol production facility in Scotland, SD. After expanding it several times, the Broins saw the Scotland plant grow into a thriving enterprise. As such, it stood out in the sparse universe of an ethanol industry battered by hard times in agriculture in the 1970s and 1980s. State per gallon economic incentives for ethanol production and the emergence of ethanol as a motor fuel oxygenate were lifelines for the struggling industry. The Broins chose to lobby for these programs and their funding, along with other interested parties, and then were able to use them to grow their business. The Broin’s Scotland venture
was a notable business success story, albeit on a modest scale. And other companies saw this success.
REPLICATING SUCCESS A couple of years after Broin Enterprises began making ethanol at Scotland, representatives from Farmland Industries approached general manager Jeff Broin, who was barely in his mid-twenties. “We were in the process of expanding Scotland from one to three million gallons,” Jeff says. “Two gentlemen from Farmland Industries, business development people, asked for a tour. They said ‘Is there money in this game?’ I said ‘sure there is.’” The statement should be chiseled into a POET monument. It was the start of everything that followed. Farmland Industries was at
This is the third part of a series on the History of POET. The first and second installments can be read in the previous issues. its peak, the largest agricultural cooperative in North America, involved in crop and livestock production, petroleum refining, fertilizer manufacturing and marketing and shipping agricultural products. When it liquated throughout 2002-2004, it listed $2.7 billion in assets. After Broin shared financial information from the Scotland plant, Farmland Industries, in a partnership with South Dakota Wheat Growers Association, asked Broin to build them an ethanol plant in Aberdeen, SD with the same low cost methods they had used in the past. For the reconstruction and expansions of the Scotland plant, Jeff Broin led the management of the business and staff, secured financing and handled state and federal politics while his brother Rob led the design and construction of the plant. Following the original Scotland renovation, Rob had returned to farming with his father, Lowell in Minnesota. But when Farmland Industries approached Jeff about building an ethanol plant in Aberdeen, Jeff approached Rob and the Broin family about creating a design/build company called Broin and Associates. Jeff then asked if Rob would leave the farm permanently and join the new entity. Jeff told Rob, “I believe we can build a lot of plants in the future.” Put that on the monument, too. In 1989, Jeff became the CEO and Rob became President of the newly formed Broin and Associates. By 2006, they had led the planning and fundraising, development, design, construction and start-up
of 26 ethanol plants. For the first one in Aberdeen, Rob said, “we really didn’t completely know everything we were getting into,” he acknowledges. “We were stepping out in faith that we would find a way to make it all work.” They used computer-aided design for the first time. “That was a big deal in those days,” Rob remembers, and Farmland enlisted a general engineering firm to review the drawings since the Broins were new to the business of building for others. “That was good for them and good for us. It raised the bar for us. We stepped up to a higher standard of engineering we hadn’t dealt with before,” Rob says. While Rob completed engineering on the four-milliongallon plant for Aberdeen, Jeff negotiated the contracts with Farmland Industries and the South Dakota Wheat Growers,
fine-tuned budgets, managed board relations and secured some of the equipment. The first plant begged a compelling question: what do you charge someone to build them an ethanol plant? “We had to assure it was profitable or we would be out of business,” Jeff says. “Rob and I worked together to come up with a budget. There was definitely some educated guessing going on with some of the numbers, but we had a good idea on costs from our Scotland experience.” The successful formula of utilizing quality pre-owned equipment the Broins employed on their farm plant and at the Scotland facility was repeated at Aberdeen. “Farmland saw we were good at buying like new equipment at a fraction of the cost of new and retrofitting it and they wanted to keep costs low and minimize risk in their new venture.” Jeff says.
Ed Bosanko, South Dakota Wheat Growers Association, Don Patzer, Farmland Industries Inc. and Rob Broin with new plans for the Aberdeen plant. WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM
The financial clout of Farmland Industries and the Wheat Growers allowed the Aberdeen plant to avoid a problem that loomed over the ethanol industry at the time. “There wasn’t a lender in the country who would touch ethanol with a 10-foot pole,” Jeff says. Price volatility in the industry and concern that state production incentives and federal tax incentives would disappear made lenders leery, according to Tom Houser, Lead Relationship Manager and Vice President at CoBank, in Omaha, NE. But the strength of Farmland Industries and the South Dakota Wheat Growers encouraged CoBank to finance its first ethanol project. With ethanol finding favor as a fuel oxygenate, Houser could see it becoming profitable. But the sudden growth was surprising. “The industry exploded quickly. Eventually Wall Street jumped into it,” he says. By the early 2000’s ethanol plants evolved from going hat in hand
to bankers for capital. Ethanol ventures were awash in money. This, however, was no guarantee only good projects got funded and several projects got into financial trouble. But Houser had come to trust the Broin model. “Funny, 20 years in hindsight, how that worked out,” he says. Following the launch of the Aberdeen plant, Heartland Corn Products, a farmer cooperative created to build a plant in Winthrop, MN asked the Broins to revive its struggling project. Project financing was a problem and Jeff helped at last ditch fundraising meetings. The cooperative was literally a day away from having to return the investors’ money raised for the construction – until the Broins put in several hundred thousand dollars, reinvesting basically all of their profit from the venture, and took an equity position to make the project go. CoBank decided to finance the venture, and several later plants, due to the rapid success
of the Aberdeen facility. It was a memorable experience, Houser recalls. Ethanol was not yet viewed as a solid gold investment. As a young banker, Houser breezily told Jeff and Heartland Corn Products officials, “If you do A, B and C, I can loan you $5 million.” “I did not think they’d be able to do it,” he says. “‘I think we can do this,’ they said. My response was, ‘oh, my.’” The Broins soon built a third plant, Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont, MN for another new farmer-owned cooperative. It was the first plant where Jeff would help raise the funds from the start and the first plant close to the family farm in Minnesota. “A lot of our friends and relatives in the area invested because they knew us” stated Jeff. When they built the Winthrop and Claremont facilities, Broin and Associates had grown to include mechanical and chemical engineers. “That took us to the next level,” says Rob.
GROWING PAINS Keeping track of the business in Scotland and building new plants soon exposed the shortcomings in trying to drive to all those facilities in two states. In 1990, Jeff enlisted Frank Burke, a Scotland area farmer and pilot, to fly the growing team to plants from a grass runway outside of Scotland. “Sometimes when the runway was wet, we would fly off of a gravel road near the runway. That was a bit of an unnerving experience since I didn’t even like flying all that much at the time,” Jeff says. Broin and Associates quickly
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outgrew Frank’s private aircraft. On its best day, it averaged about 100 miles per hour, Jeff says. Facing a headwind coming back from a trip to Aberdeen, it was moving through the air at the pace of traffic below. “Frank, we’ve got to get you a faster airplane,” Jeff told him. The company upgraded to a Beechcraft Bonanza, and with their growing business they used it constantly. “I flew 780 hours one year. That’s an average of two hours a day 365 days,” says Burke. “We were always busy. They’d have to draw straws to see who got the plane that day.” Eventually they added a second Bonanza and later moved to turbine aircraft. The plants Broin built were not like other plants built at the time. They were all profitable from their first full month of operation. This was due to the company’s relentless pursuit of excellence and efficiency. In addition Broin plants, Jeff notes, were the first to use a computer control system which were soon designed by his younger brother, Todd. “When Todd joined us in Winthrop, we really stepped it up,” Rob adds. “We took what we had learned in Aberdeen and made it better.” As the number of plants in which the Broins built and had a financial stake in grew, a new challenge emerged. Broin and Associates would create a business plan, build a plant, and train staff in its operation. “Once we were done building it,” says Jeff, “management would take it in another direction. And not always in a good direction.” Plant managers were not
scientists, Rob says. “They really didn’t have the education to back up making decisions based on data.” The result was unfounded cause and effect relationships rising from inadequate knowledge. “They were making decisions based on a single data point. ‘This guy was doing this, and that happened.’” Rob says. But not understanding the context in which an event occurred often led to misperceptions. Broin was amassing valuable institutional knowledge about ethanol production, and “we knew these plants could be so much better if we stayed involved,” says Jeff. Repeated versions of this scenario led to a fundamental decision. “I decided either we were going to make sure these plants were run properly or we were getting out of the business,” Jeff says. “After all, we were raising the money and promising a successful future to hundreds of farmer investors. There was no way to assure that without staying involved.” As a result, Broin Management was created. The company had a seat on the boards of all the plants in which Broin had a financial interest and were managed by Broin. Now, the company could share pricing for inputs and leverage learning across multiple locations, as well as share research and marketing strategies with all of its facilities. Jeff likens it to auto racing. “A two or three-car team will beat a single car team almost every time. POET runs a 28 car race team.” Today, POET Plant Management and POET
Design and Construction are headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD as part of POET’s main campus. These teams provide 24/7 operations support for all 28 biorefineries and also develop and execute budgets and schedules for plant construction projects throughout the network. Data is continually collected and analyzed by POET Plant Management and best practices are leveraged across the group. Regular meetings are held for common key staff members to disseminate information and share experiences. The journey from the Broin family farm, to Scotland, to Broin and Associates and Broin Management was transformative in its own right, even though there wasn’t a lot of fanfare. “It just took plain old hard work and good common sense decisions”, states Jeff. Eventually dozens of others would use the same farmer cooperative model created by the Broins. According to Houser, the Broin interest in ethanol “had such an impact on agriculture in the Midwest. The corn crop was getting bigger. What were we going to do with it?” Broin Companies’ success “was an economic boon to entire communities. To me, that makes a difference, and the Broins should be complimented.”
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E15 customers were asked,
“ Why do you choose to fill your car with E15? ” while at Hennen’s Auto Service (Minnoco) in Shakopee, MN.
“I use unleaded plus because it’s cheaper than regular gas. My mileage is the same so I continue to use it to save money. I’m glad to see a new better alternative in the gas industry.”
“I decided to try it because it was cheaper. I will continue to use it because I am happy with mileage and saving money.”
“It’s cheaper, I’m saving money for college. I hope Minnoco can become more available throughout Minnesota.”
“Specifically it was price at first. Then my vehicle ran better and I got better gas mileage. Glad my favorite hometown gas station offers E15.”
“I have been told E15 is better for the environment. It’s cheaper and I am happy with the performance of E15 in my vehicle.”
“Cost and no mileage loss. At least everyone should try it once, they will love it.”
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WORK TO LIVE POET’s safety campaign takes time to remind team members that we all mean the world to someone by Steve Lange
Joel Bordewyk, Plant Manager at POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal, with his wife, Christine and kids, Ava, Eli, Isaac and Ethan.
It started in September with a single photo pinned to a thenempty 3-foot-by-4-foot bulletin board. Today, dozens of “You Mean The World To Someone” boards – prominently posted in all of POET’s 28 plants and various offices – display hundreds of pictures from POET team members. And more are being added every day. A 5-by-7 here, an 8-by-10 there. Shift Supervisor Chuck Hauxwell’s grandsons are standing in front of a “Thomas the Train” exhibit. Accountant Rachael Johnson is ziplining with her family. Commodity Supervisor Keith Baur’s son and daughter proudly hold their newlyearned academic letters. The photos are part of POET’s new “Work to Live” safety campaign, and they represent, to those employees, the people who rely on them. The people who care about them. The people who want them to come home safe. Environmental Health & Safety Specialist Arlene Thomas and her family are playing a board game. Quality Manager Emily Boynton’s boys are kicking a soccer ball. Grain Buyer Ed Opperman is smiling, standing with his sons and their spouses in one of the last family photos that includes Ed’s late wife Sandy, who died of colon cancer in 2012. The caption
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reads: “Family is being together, celebrating often, creating happiness, loving without limits.” Unlike previous campaigns, “Work to Live” challenges employees to make safety choices through the eyes of the people who care about them. “We have a great safety track record,” says Jeff Lautt, POET’s President and COO. “The statistics we get tell us we’re top of the class. But the reality is things happen. These plants are big, complicated machineries, and they are operated by people. Machines break, people make mistakes. We need to remember
that, and to do what we can to stay safe.” For Lautt, the “Work to Live” safety campaign reinforces POET’s family-first culture. “This reminds us that we’re a family, and we all need to look out for ourselves and for each other,” he says. POET has long prided itself as a company where safety comes
first. Safety is the first topic at every shift change at every plant. A safety message – “I just want you to come home safe” – is the first thing many employees see when they fire up their computer every day. It’s the first thing Rod Pierson, POET’s Vice President of Operations, worries about when he answers one of those dreaded after-hours phone calls. “Anytime I get a call from work in the middle of the night, my first question is: ‘Is anyone hurt?’” says Pierson. “We can solve any plant problem. We can get production going later. But if someone in the POET family is injured … well, there’s no worse feeling than hearing that. All it takes is one mistake, and that mistake affects all of those people who care about you.” Steve Pittman, General Manager at POET Biorefining – North Manchester, IN understands firsthand how a single safety lapse can change your world forever. In 2007, while at a football game with his wife Vicki, Steve got a call from a hospital in Montana. His son, Steve Jr., had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. “The surgeon described the situation to me,” Steve says. “They told me my son had torn the frontal lobe of his brain. They told me he had a traumatic brain injury.” “Then the surgeon asked me if we wanted them to operate on him,” Pittman says. “Or to make him comfortable and let him die.” Steve and Vicki opted for the
Aaron Rollins, Operations Manager, POET Biorefining – Leipsic, with wife, Andrea and kids, Bryce, Breanna and Stella.
Ryan Lindeman, EH&S Specialist at POET Biorefining – Alexandria, and his wife, Jessica and son, Reid.
Ryan Haala, Maintenance Coordinator, POET Biorefining – Lake Crystal, and his wife, Marie and his two sets of twins, Lucas, Breanna, Seth and Tessa.
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operation. They flew immediately to Montana and spent the next 17 days in the ICU praying for the survival of their 28-year-old son, fresh from stints in Iraq with the Air Guard, who now lay helpless in a hospital bed. Steve Jr. woke up on day 18. Eight years later, while he is paralyzed on his left side, he has gone, according to Pittman, from “being bedridden to being able to play golf one-handed.” “He has a good life and now lives with us,” says Pittman. “He has a son. He’s an amazing person, but he chose not to wear a helmet when he was jumping ramps on a dirt bike. So this safety campaign is personal for me, because our team is like a family, and I know how devastating it can be when a family member gets hurt. Making it about people has made this the most powerful safety program I’ve ever been around. “ The “Work to Live” safety campaign represents the natural progression of a concept Jeff Lautt has been publicly stressing at POET for the last few years – “love and care.” “We have told all of our team members that within the workplace it’s okay for us to love and care for people,” says Lautt. “Society has tried to make it taboo to use the word love in the workplace, but love is nothing more than genuinely caring for people. I have a deep sense of care for our team members. I pray for them and their families. If we have a situation where a team member gets hurt, it hurts all of us.” Mike Dishman, POET’s Regional Vice President of POET
Plant Management, has a job history that includes five years at General Electric and, before that, 20 years with the Navy submarine force. If Dishman had heard the “love and care” message at one of his previous jobs, he says, he’s not sure it would have resonated. Yet after just 18 months at POET, Dishman sees how the concept fits the culture. “POET is clearly a family-based company, and everybody feels like family when they are here,” he says. “If this was a different company, people may not buy into it. But here, it works. It works because this is a company where the words ‘love’ and ‘care’ make perfect sense, and this is a company where a safety program like this really resonates with its workers.” By focusing on the people of POET, “Work to Live” has helped shift the safety discussion from stressing the punitive to stressing the positive. During his nine years at POET, Joel Bordewyk, Plant Manager at POET Biorefining in Bingham Lake, says he’s never heard more positives or even as much discussion about a safety campaign. “This is what safety should be all about,” Bordewyk says. “It shouldn’t be about just the rules, it should be about looking out for each other and reminding yourself that it’s not just about you, it’s about the people who care for you as well. Just getting people talking about safety is a good thing.” The response to the “You Mean
The World To Someone” boards and the fact that team members are taking a fresh look at safety – a subject that has often been policy-laden and mundane has not been lost on Lautt. “We know that the ‘love and care’ message fits the POET culture, and we plan to incorporate that into everything we can,” Lautt says. “When we were looking at our corporate code of conduct book, the team members said it felt too legalistic and impersonal, s o w e
wanted to take a more personal approach with that also. We want to incorporate the ‘love and care’ into that. If we believe in our people, and we do, we should have fewer company policies, so we cut our employee handbook in half. We need to make our people, not our policies, the focus of everything we do.” And you can literally see that concept on display in the hundreds of photos on the dozens of “You Mean The World to Someone” bulletin boards
across POET. Steve Pittman’s photo, posted on North Manchester’s board, shows his entire family – his wife Vicki, daughter Emily and her husband and their kids, and his son Steve Jr. and his son. “I look at that picture every day at work,” Pittman says, “and I think about how we almost lost a son. Then I see the other team member pictures on that board and it reminds me how important our family – including our POET family – is to all of us.” For Pittman, “Work to Live” is a meaningful reminder that safety is about much more than that higher productivity, increased profit margins and lower absenteeism rates. It’s about more, even, than the individual team members. “It’s really important you wear those gloves, wear that helmet, buckle up that harness,” he says, “Because you’re not just doing it for you. You really do mean the world to someone. If you don’t think one little mistake can change everything for everyone who cares about you, just take a look at my family photo on that board. Think about those 17 days we spent, hopeless, in that ICU. And try to remember how important your safety is to those who care about you.”
The Ethanol Process
FERMENTATION TO FUEL
O VER FO U R I SSU ES WE AR E B R E A K ING D O W N T HE P O E T ETH ANO L PR O C ESS T O H E L P IL L US T R AT E W HAT W E D O . PART TH R EE EXPLAI N S H O W A F E R M E NT E D S L UR RY IS TU RNED I N T O 200 PR O OF A L CO HO L .
Ethanol & Water (Vapor)
How does it work?
MOLECULAR SIEVE Ethanol
The boiling point of A W alcohol is lower than the boiling point of water, therefore if the temperature is maintained between the two boiling points the majority of the water will be filtered out by keeping it a liquid while the ethanol vapor escapes to the next stage.
Water & Solids
200 PROOF Fat, protein, water and other solids are removed to become feed products. This will be covered in part 4.
The molecular sieve contains millions of beads which have tiny holes that are only large enough to fit the small water molecules. In a pressurized environment the water molecules are forced into the small holes and the larger ethanol molecules are forced to pass by, resulting in 200 proof ethanol.
95% ALCOHOL 5% WATER
Ethanol Molecule H 20
H 20 H 20
DENATURANT IS ADDED
100% ALCOHOL 0% WATER
FARM FRESH by Brian Hefty
WHAT IS A SUPER WEED? Lately I have heard several media references to “Super Weeds.” For some reason people think it’s a really big deal that a handful of weed species aren’t well-controlled anymore by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. I will tell you why I don’t believe in Super Weeds and what farmers can do to quickly and inexpensively eliminate these problem weeds. Weed control is essential to the achievement of high yields. Crops produce the most grain when they have zero competition for water, nutrients and sunlight. Prior to the introduction of Roundup Ready crops, there were a lot of weedy fields, which partially explains why yields have gone up approximately 50% in corn and soybeans in the last 20 years. Occasionally, we will get suggestions from non-farmers to “let the weeds grow,” as diverse plant species are good for the environment. We definitely believe that a wide variety of plants are needed in nature. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are approximately 2.3 billion total acres in the U.S. We are only producing crops on about 20% of those acres. In other words, it is a small percentage of our land that we use to produce crops, and crops grow best in the absence of weeds. Coming back to the “Super Weeds” the media refer to, they include: Palmer pigweed, waterhemp, marestail, giant ragweed, common ragweed and kochia. All of these have biotypes resistant to glyphosate in one or more states in the U.S. today. The reason why I call none of these Super Weeds is we
can control them all with current technology and future technology will give us even more options. First, none of these is resistant to tillage. I’m not saying all farmers should till, but for those who do, their problems are greatly reduced. Second, crops can choke out weeds themselves if they get off to a good start and grow quickly. Using proper fertility, drainage, seed variety selection and seed treatments all help greatly with this. Finally, all it takes is a simple switch of herbicides to stop these weeds. We are very fortunate in modern agriculture that we have many safe, effective products to help control weeds. Many of these have been derived from nature, which is exactly what we’re looking for. For example, Callisto herbicide was discovered when a researcher had a callistemon tree in his back yard. He noticed there were no broadleaf weeds growing near the tree (including the “Super Weed” list I just gave you), so he and his team began isolating the compound in the tree that was killing the weeds. Today, there are many different herbicides in that same family that all began by using nature’s own methods of controlling weeds. In the near future, we expect to have even more safe, effective and quite often natural ways to control weeds in our crops. The science involved today in agriculture is incredible and only getting better. So the next time you hear someone talk about Super Weeds, just remember that there is no weed we can’t control in corn or soybeans today with the right season-long management. That’s part of the reason I predict yields will continue to climb in the next few years.
W I S C O N S I N
WORLDâ€™S LARGEST & LONGEST RUNNING ETHANOL EVENT
June 20-23, 2016
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN WHERE W HERE P PRODUCERS RODUCERS M MEET EET
w w w. Fu e l E t h a n o l Wo r k s h o p . c o m
Networking Opportunities Speak Exhibit Sponsor Attend
MORE THAN A
Fighter As a professional UFC fighter, Ryan Bader battles misconceptions â€“ just like American Ethanol. by Janna Farley
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Ryan Bader knows how to keep an audience on the edge of their seats. Bader, a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion, has deftly punched, kicked and grappled his way to the top with an intoxicating mix of athleticism, intensity and confrontation that has been electrifying crowds since he broke onto the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) scene as the season 8 winner of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2008. UFC fans might know Bader as
“Darth” – as in “Darth Bader” – but he’s more than just a fighter. Bader’s a dedicated family man – a doting dad of three young kids – and advocate for American Ethanol, starring in the new “More than a Fighter, More than a Fuel” campaign. The campaign gives viewers a glimpse into Bader’s life outside the octagon and away from the stereotypes surrounding a fighter – something UFC fans don’t always see – and compares it to the misconceptions some people have regarding ethanol.
ATHLETIC ENDEAVORS Bader, 32, grew up on a ranch outside Reno, NV, spending more time outdoors than in. When he wasn’t hunting or fishing, Bader was playing football or wrestling – anything that would keep him busy, keep him moving. Bader excelled on the football field. In fact, he was the 2001 Nevada football defensive player of the year. But it was wrestling – that one-on-one competition between Bader and his opponent
– that he truly loved. “You have a team,” Bader says, “but ultimately, you’re out there by yourself. You get the result of the work you put in. Your success is on no one else but you.” After high school, Bader wrestled at Arizona State University. Pursuing a career as an athlete, however, wasn’t in Bader’s post-graduation plans. “I had been wrestling for almost my whole life. I was kind of burned out,” he admits. A justice and social inquiry/business major at ASU, Bader started working in sales and marketing. But after two months, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. “I immediately missed competition and the ups and downs of being an athlete,” he says. “I realized I wasn’t going to be happy unless I could be pushing myself mentally and physically.” Friends encouraged him to give MMA a shot, so Bader started competing in local shows. “I love competing, so I thought to myself, ‘If I’m going to do it, I’m going to give it my all.’ I don’t want to look back and regret that I didn’t try it, that I didn’t give it my 100 percent.”
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JUST CALL HIM DAD These days, Bader doesn’t need labels like two-time allAmerican or three-time Pac-10 champion like he might have in college. Today, he’s happy just being called dad. Bader and his wife Daisy have three kids – 3 ½-yearold Kanon, 2 ½-year old Hartley and 14-month-old Rocket. Juggling three young kids can be difficult, but family is No. 1. It takes priority over everything else, says Bader, who lives in Chandler, AZ. “Family is the most important thing to me,” he says. The kids don’t care if Bader wins or loses. They just want to be with him. “When I’m fighting or training, that’s my job. I’m there to get better. But when I’m home, I’m a dad and a husband. I shut off everything else,” he says. “When I leave the gym, I leave all that there. When I’m home, I’m present.” That means bike rides and backyard ball tosses, Bader says. Tickle wars. Baths and bedtime stories. Lots of laughs and love. That’s hard sometimes, Bader admits. “There’s always something to think about – your next workout, your next opponent. But being present is so important. I owe it to myself – and to my wife and my kids – to be the best dad and husband I can be.” Being a fighter doesn’t define Bader’s life. “There are people out there who think we’re just barbarians
– that we’re just fighting at a bar or something,” Bader says. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re just high-level athletes, dedicated to our work.”
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EDUCATING ABOUT ETHANOL Those misconceptions about MMA fighters mirror some of the misconceptions around ethanol, says Greg Breukelman, Senior Vice President of Communications at POET. Those parallels were the basis for American Ethanol’s “More than a Fighter, More than a Fuel” marketing campaign. Helping people realize that ethanol is more than a fuel is critical. “When people are at the gas pump, they’re mainly concerned about the price and performance of the fuel. But we hope this campaign helps people understand when they’re at the pump, they’re also making a
decision on our energy security, our environment and our rural economies,” Breukelman says. “Just like an athlete like Ryan is much more than just a fighter. Ethanol is more than just a fuel.” So far there are three TV/online ads like the one starring Bader, and Breukelman anticipates more in the future. “I believe in the cause,” Bader says. “Ethanol is a renewable resource. It’s great for the country. And I owe it to myself and others to go out there and do the best that I can to make sure others understand ethanol, too.”
I B E LI EVE I N
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.
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THE RISING TIDE OF Ethanol
American ethanol exports look to expand globally due to global benefits and strong market opportunities. by Lori Weaver
Since ethanol facilities first began dotting the rural landscape of the Midwest, the story of ethanol has been a tale told close to home. Good for rural communities, good for the country’s environment, good for the consumer’s pocketbook – even good for the nation’s security. But there’s another side to the ethanol story, one that isn’t told quite as often: the story of a growing export market for ethanol. While the continued battle over domestic renewable fuel mandates tends to grab headlines, the development of export markets – offering new revenue streams – is becoming increasingly integral to the industry’s future. U.S. ethanol exports have grown over 40 percent since
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2013 alone, with industry experts predicting about 900 million gallons going to foreign customers once the books are closed on 2015. “The U.S. is exporting around 6 to 7 percent of its total ethanol production, generating over $2 billion in export revenues, an important economic consideration for those U.S. producers who sell into the export market as well as those who only market domestically since exports represent an outlet for surplus domestic production,” notes Jim Miller, Vice President and Chief Economist for Growth Energy. The U.S. first began exporting more ethanol than it was importing back in 2010. Growth in Canadian and European markets, coupled with increased
demand in Brazil, boosted 2011 ethanol exports to record levels of 1.2 billion gallons, due in large part to a poor sugarcane harvest which fueled Brazil’s need to import more ethanol. While 2014 shaped up to be the second largest overseas sales year with over 834 million gallons, 2015 is likely to surpass it once the final tally is done. Growth in exports is timely, as the domestic market grapples with the fundamentals of supply and demand. “We are extremely effective at growing crops for feedstock for ethanol biorefineries and we have companies like POET that are global leaders in developing biorefining technology. We are capable of producing a significant amount of ethanol supply that exceeds the current
domestic demand,” says Klay Gross, who heads up POET’s Ethanol Products commercial ethanol business. Of course, that extra supply can be addressed by either decreasing production or increasing demand. But cutting production harms the rural economy and diminishes progress in replacing fossil fuels. To firm up demand, the industry continues to push for a domestic blend percentage higher than the current 10 percent. But growing export markets can bring an upturn in demand as well. “First, ethanol is more cost effective than hydrocarbon fuels. Second, it’s a better quality fuel due to its higher-octane content and cleaner burning attributes,” Gross says. “Next, countries will be looking to their own natural resources and determining whether they can develop their own ethanol production. But first they have to import the ethanol to develop the fuel system.” He believes other countries will see the progress the U.S. has made toward independence from Middle Eastern oil supplies and want to follow suit. Many of the countries interested in importing U.S. ethanol are reliant on the Mideast for transportation fuels. “Even with crude oil falling to $40 and a very strong U.S. dollar compared to other foreign currencies, we believe the product quality, environmental benefits and renewable attributes of ethanol will prevail
over the use of fossil fuels,” Gross predicts. Miller believes environmental concerns will begin to have a greater impact on demand for ethanol as well. “U.S. ethanol provides an average 34 percent reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHGs) even when the controversial Indirect Land Use Change charges are included,” he adds. “In addition, ethanol reduces the need for other expensive, toxic, and in many cases, carcinogenic, compounds to be added to gasoline
as oxygenates and octane boosters.” While tightening supply may be the immediate objective, developing a robust, globally traded ethanol market also enhances the sustainability of ethanol as a commodity. “It becomes a tremendous opportunity for U.S. biorefineries due to the advanced technology and abundance of feedstock. It allows them to leverage their competitive advantages,” says
Gross. “In the short term, it is imperative that export markets grow to increase demand to solve the oversupply situation that is developing. That’s the beauty of a good commodity – it finds solutions to correct a market and continues to grow.” “At a time when economies and the environment are such important topics, ethanol offers solutions that are undeniable,” adds Doug Berven, POET’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “From a national security standpoint, most countries around the world are looking for a fuel that reduces their dependence on oil from the Middle East. Ethanol is the only product that can economically compete with gasoline.” While the U.S. exported fuel and industrial ethanol to 114 countries in 2015, the top 12 overseas markets represented the vast majority of foreign ethanol sales – between 85 to 90 percent of total exports. Within that top 12, Canada and Brazil represent the chief destinations for U.S. ethanol, while also being the primary sources for U.S. ethanol imports. While approximately 60 countries have some renewable fuel policies in place, the policies for both these nations are well-established. Canada, much like the U.S., has relatively flat gasoline demand. Growth is likely to remain relatively slow without an increase in the blend mandate there. Brazil, on the other hand, is a variable market. As the second largest ethanol producer
and exporter with a 27.5 percent ethanol blend mandate, and sizable sugarcane-to-ethanol production, Brazil buys U.S. ethanol to meet demand that can’t be met with domestic production due to a poor growing season or infrastructure constraints. “In addition to selling ethanol to the U.S. – primarily coastal markets – it also has export
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contracts with other countries such as Japan,” Miller adds. “Several other ethanol importers such as the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Oman are likely buying U.S. product and then reselling to third country markets as either ethanol for blending or a finished motor fuel.” Expansion and enforceability of renewable fuel requirements overseas, along with reduction in tariff and non-tariff trade measures that limit market access to exports, are all expected to spur future export opportunities. Environmental, health and climate change concerns that continue to unfold across the globe will also come into play, as will development and expansion of infrastructure to import, transport and blend ethanol into foreign fuel supplies. “We have a product that is cheaper, cleaner and just plain better than its competition,” says Berven. “Countries like China and India that have significant p o l l u t i o n problems are great prospects
for export, and allies like Israel, Canada and Europe should be very interested in American ethanol versus oil out of the Middle East.” Beyond Canada and Brazil, Gross sees the greatest potential for growing exports in countries looking to integrate ethanol into their fuel systems and to develop production facilities of their own, which in turn creates a global trading system. “Those countries today are India, China and Mexico. The driving factors are all the same: economics, air quality and energy independence,” Gross says. “But I still believe the country that holds the greatest opportunity for growth is our own. It is unfortunate that other countries see the benefits of blending past 10 percent, but we have antiquated regulations in place that restrict it from easily happening.” Berven says the U.S. has another export customer that speaks volumes about ethanol’s attributes. “The high octane, low cost of ethanol is attractive enough that we are actually exporting ethanol to the Middle East today. That should be a good indicator of the potential of ethanol,” he says.
ENERGY FOR LIFE by Melissa Ellefson, POET Wellness Director
What’s on your mind? Each issue, Melissa Ellefson will answer a frequently
EAT BETTER The two biggest ways to improve your diet are to eat real food and to cut back on sugar. EAT REAL FOOD Eating real food is as simple as it sounds: EAT REAL FOOD. I encourage you to read labels and if the ingredients did not grow from the ground and/or did not have a mother, it is likely not food and you should probably not eat it. Remember that just because something is edible, does not mean it is food.
asked health-related question and provide practical advice for incorporating wellness into your everyday life.
Q: I really overdid it over the holidays. I want to turn things around, but where do I start? A: First of all, let yourself off the hook. What’s done, is done! It is really difficult to keep things on track during the holidays. But guess what! It is a new year with new opportunities. Just a few small changes can make a huge impact on your health and get you feeling your best in no time. The traditional advice given to people who want to look and feel their best is to eat less and exercise more. I don’t believe that is the answer. Instead, I think the focus should be to eat better and exercise smarter.
CUT BACK ON SUGAR Ok, friends, this is where it gets real. Ask yourself these questions: • Would others describe you as someone who loves sugar? • Is eating or drinking something sweet part of your daily routine? • Have you ever tried to limit sweets, but have been unsuccessful? • Do you sacrifice eating nourishing foods so that you can eat more sweets? (“saving calories”) • Do you lie to others about the amount of sweets you eat? • Do you routinely eat sweets when you are alone? • Do you stockpile sweets in your home, office and/or car? The more questions you answered with “yes,” the more likely you are to be a sugar addict. Being addicted to sugar not only puts you at greater risk of obesity, but also heart disease; Alzheimer’s disease; type II diabetes; saggy, dull, and wrinkly skin; dental problems; high blood pressure; poor gut health; yeast overgrowth; foggy brain and low energy.
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Here are some tips to break the cycle of sugar addiction: • Remove it from your work area. • Stop buying it. No excuses. • Eat plenty of the good stuff and drink lots of water. • Move when you get a craving. Get up and take a walk. Stretch. • Be aware. Read the sugar content on labels. Sugar is in a lot of processed foods. Addictions are very difficult to conquer – and sugar is no exception. It will take work and discipline, but there are few things you can do that will make a more positive impact on your health. YOU CAN DO IT!
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup SERVES: 4
In the POET Kitchen A weekly Menu Monday recipe is shared with all POET Team Members. Here is the most popular recipe from last quarter.
INGREDIENTS: • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped • 2 tablespoons minced garlic • Pinch red pepper flakes • One 28-ounce can crushed, diced or whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or home canned are best!) • 1 box chicken stock (use vegetable stock if making vegetarian) • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil, plus 1 tablespoon for garnishing • 1 can tomato paste • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar METHOD: 1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté until just about translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1 minute more. 2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. 3. Carefully pour a cup or two of the soup mixture into a blender (until it is only halfway full) and puree until smooth. Remove to a separate soup pot or container, and repeat with the remaining soup mixture, working in batches. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture. 4. Serve hot, topped with some minced basil for garnish.
Get Active Row, row, row your boat! Or, um, your indoor rower. Just like spinning before it, indoor rowing is taking off as one of the most popular forms of cardio. Rowing is a fantastic form of full body exercise that is easy on the joints and it supereffective at improving cardiovascular fitness. Rowing is easy to learn and is adaptable to any fitness level. YOU control the resistance and intensity. Give it a try!
Maintain Your Form
Turn Up the Music
A: Adjust the foot straps so that they are across the ball-mound of your foot.
A great way to get a good rowing workout is to start
B: Sit up straight.
Here are some of my favorite songs for interval
with a rocking playlist. Try rowing smoothly and slowly during the slow verses and then crank up the intensity to full speed during the chorus.
training on the indoor rower:
C: Keep your wrists level. D: Use your legs! E: Then tip back with your core. Then finish the stroke with pulling the handle back with your arms.
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• “Runaway” by Bon Jovi
• “Hero of the Day” by Metallica
• “Ten Feet Tall” by Afrojack
• “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
• “Dog Days are Over” by Florence + The Machine
• “Titanium” by David Guetta
• “Planetary (GO!)” by My Chemical Romance
• “Right Now” by Rihanna
• “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars
• “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga
• “Panama” by Van Halen
• “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol
• “Raise your Glass” by Pink
DON’T JUST CHANGE YOUR JOB
CHANGE TOMORROW + Seeking ENGINEERS, SCIENTISTS, MANAGERS & MORE 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 a variety of positions. These positions come with outstanding pay and benefits. • Chemical Engineer • Process Automation Engineer • Process Development Engineer • Engineering Manager • Scientist • Grain Buyer
• • • • • • •
Accountant Corporate Paralegal Maintenance Technician Plant Technician Operator Quality Manager Electrician
To view these positions and more, visit POET.com/careers. Equal Opportunity Employer.
NASCAR UPDATE submitted by Ryan Welsh, Director of Sales and Marketing for American Ethanol
THINKING BIG America is no stranger to big thinking. Our country was christened as being the land of the free and the home of the brave. A place where we are free to be dreamers with the opportunity to make them a reality. While many are more comfortable in the status quo, big thinkers see potential in uncertainty. Big thinkers realize they will encounter challenges for trying something new but it does not stop them because they don’t view it as a road block – merely a hurdle they must overcome. They have heart, determination and vision. You don’t have to search too hard in the sport of NASCAR® to find a big thinker. The name of the founder says it all – “Big Bill.” While most would assume Bill France, Sr.’s nickname was a result of his six-foot five-inch stature, to those who knew him genuinely, “Big Bill” reflected much more than that. He was a bigger-than-life visionary who saw the opportunity NASCAR had to move beyond a
Photos courtesy of NASCAR® 44 vital || THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
regional racing circuit and onto the national stage. He saw NASCAR as a rising culture in America. He was thinking big. In the 1950s, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the most revered racing venue in the country. Big Bill’s dream was to build a superspeedway that would rival Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This dream would not only put Daytona on the map as the origination of stock car racing, but also as one of the premiere racing venues in the country. The greatest speed restrictor at the time for oval track racing was the need to slow dramatically during the turns. Big Bill knew that if he could increase the banking on the turns, race speeds would increase as well. In 1958, NASCAR began the work of constructing the new Daytona Super Speedway by moving the dirt from the infield to the turns. When it was completed, the paved track had 31 degrees of banking on the turns, a 60 foot deep lake in the middle of the infield and was now one of the premiere superspeedways in the country. The first NASCAR race held on the new track in 1959 ended in a three car photo finish that was undecided for 61 hours. Lee Petty was named the winner with an average speed of 135 miles per hour, 33 mph faster than any other NASCAR race that year. The stage was set and NASCAR now had a new blueprint for future tracks, for
Photo finish of the inaugural Daytona 500.
success and for the future of NASCAR. At the time it was unheard of, but now it is hard to imagine NASCAR without high banking turns. It is interesting how time has that effect. What was once a new innovation with natural uncertainties, now becomes the norm. The good ideas stick around and are improved, the bad ones simply fade away. This upcoming season of NASCAR will mark the sixth year Sunoco Green E15 has been used as the NASCAR fuel. American Ethanol has become a respected partner with NASCAR by delivering a quality, American-made product that stays true to the nature of NASCAR. Similar to how Big Bill took the success of the new Daytona track design and expanded it across the nation, American Ethanol has expanded from its success in NASCAR to deliver the same quality product to the everyday driver across the country. Consumers can now purchase E15 at local gas stations to use in their own vehicles. There are challenges in shifting from the status quo but American Ethanol is here to stay, because it is good for America. The No. 3 Chevrolet will be sporting the American Ethanol paint scheme for six races again in 2016 and we are excited to cheer on Austin Dillon and the rest of the American Ethanol crew. Look for the American Ethanol No. 3 as you watch this upcoming season of races!
2016 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES SCHEDULE Feb. 13 Feb. 18 Feb. 21 Feb. 28 March 6 March 13 March 20 April 3 April 9 April 17 April 24 May 1 May 7 May 15 May 21 May 29 June 5 June 12 June 26 July 2 July 9 July 17 July 24 July 31 Aug. 7 Aug. 20 Aug. 28 Sept. 4 Sept. 10 Sept. 18 Sept. 25 Oct. 2 Oct. 8 Oct. 16 Oct. 23 Oct. 30 Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Nov. 20
Sprint Unlimited (Daytona) Can-Am Duel (Daytona) Daytona 500 Atlanta Las Vegas Phoenix California Martinsville Texas Bristol Richmond Talladega Kansas Dover All-Star Race (Charlotte) Charlotte Pocono Michigan Sonoma Daytona Kentucky New Hampshire Indianapolis Pocono Watkins Glen Bristol Michigan Darlington Richmond Chicago New Hampshire Dover Charlotte Kansas Talladega Martinsville Texas Phoenix Miami WWW.VITALBYPOET.COM
Candidates VISIT PLANTS
Presidential hopefuls have been making the rounds in Iowa in preparation for the upcoming primaries. Many of the Iowa POET plants have had the privilege of having a candidate visit them over the past few months.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee visits Corning
Carly Fiorina visits Coon Rapids
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Rick Santorum visits Emmetsburg
Donald Trump visits Gowrie
Gov. Chris Christie visits Jewell
Cook-Off COMPETITIONS It is amazing the variations of chili that exist. That may be why there never seems to be a shortage of people willing to sample and give their opinions. Here are the recent victors of a few plant competitions.
EMMETSBURG First place out of twelve entries was awarded to Justin Kibbie
ASHTON Best Tasting: Tie between Jacob Kollasch’s “You’re Gonna need these Tums” (right), and Archie Voorhees’s “Mouth Gallop” (left). Best Name: Terry Cooper’s “Hawkeye Heartburn”
BINGHAM LAKE 1st place: Daniel Ysker (center) 2nd place: Darren Kalvig (right) 3rd place: Gil Sook (left)
November Twelve POET Biorefining – Jewell team members participated in No Shave November raising $500 in memory of William Jensen. Bill was an operator at Jewell from 2013 – 2015.
Top Image: Back Row: Jeff Deimerly, Michael Mortenson, Rick Heldt, Tony Popp, Marco Balderas. Front Row: Jay Faas, Ty Grady, Josh Jones. Bottom Images: Justin Easterday, Rick Heldt, Shane Nelson, Roger Abell. NOT pictured: Jake Winkler.
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POET Biorefining – Corning team members participated in the Clarinda Lighted Holiday Parade (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and the Corning Lighted Holiday Parade (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). The team members always put together a great float and this year was no exception. They won the Kiwanis President’s Award for Best Overall Float at the Clarinda Lighted Holiday Parade and First Place in the Business Category at the Corning parade. The theme of both parades was “The Magic and Music of Christmas.” POET Corning’s float was Santa’s Express and this year Santa solicited the help of the Minions (team members’ children).
BUSINESS of the
YEAR POET Biorefining – Alexandria was awarded Business of the Year by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. Dan McMahan, Plant Manager, accepted the award from Jeff Bryan, Chamber Director and Don Swegman, Chamber President.
© 2015 CenterPoint Energy 144978
PEOPLE OF POET
BECOMING THE MAN IN THE
Mirror Brandan Fokken, POETâ€™s Wellness Coordinator, found his way to POET through fitness. by Janna Farley | photos by Greg Latza
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It’s not every day you’d expect to see a POET team member on the cover of Iron Man magazine. Brandan Fokken is an international bodybuilder and endorsed athlete who’s racked up award after award in the fitness industry. He is also POET’s Wellness Coordinator and just so happens to be on the cover of Iron Man magazine’s December issue. He runs the Energy Center gym at the corporate office while offering classes, one-on-one training, consults, nutrition advice and more to POET employees. Fokken is a gym rat, to be sure. He works out five to seven days a week. But Fokken is more than his muscles. The 36-year-old Sioux Falls man is a simple guy – someone who would rather eat a quiet dinner at home with his wife than party with celebrities in Las Vegas, someone who wants to inspire rather than intimidate, someone who wants to help people reach their fitness goals. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, he’s just going to yell at me, he’s going to make me look like him.’ But I just want them to be happy and healthy and to do it in a safe way,” Fokken says. “My main goal is to help them succeed.” After all, everyone starts somewhere. “I will never judge any type of overweight, underweight, not as toned person who goes to the gym,” he says. Fokken should know. After all, he wasn’t born with a perfect muscular physique – nobody is.
BODYBUILDING BEGINNINGS Fokken didn’t have an idyllic childhood. “I came from a tough background,” he says. “My parents weren’t around. I went through a lot of hard things. I was hurt a lot in life.” To counter the hurt, Fokken wanted to be big and strong. “I looked up to guys like Hulk Hogan, and I was obsessed with Superman. He was big and strong and had muscles. He couldn’t be hurt.” Fokken wanted to be big and strong, too. “From age 5 to age 10, I tried to flex in every picture ever taken of me,” he says. As a teenager, Fokken was a good athlete, playing basketball, baseball and football. “But I wasn’t strong,” he says. “I couldn’t even bench press 100 pounds.” So in his freshman year at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, Fokken picked up a barbell. “I was determined. I had a goal. I wanted to be big and strong.” His hard work paid off. “At one time, I could bench press 450 pounds,” he says. “I was big.”
He took third place. Two weeks later, at another show, Fokken took first place. “I was hooked,” Fokken says. Since then, he’s competed in shows around the country and has picked up 17 sponsors. He’s been published hundreds of times, spoken to businesses and universities all over the United States and has been featured in many major fitness magazines – and in the case of Iron Man magazine, appeared on the cover twice. Most recently, Fokken received his International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Pro Card at the IFBB North American show in September. “He’s driven to succeed,” says Ned Sacipovic, a Sioux Falls trainer who has helped Fokken train for shows. “He works hard. He never takes shortcuts to anything.” Fokken admits to being a bit of a workaholic. Between POET,
COMPETING AGAINST HIMSELF – AND OTHERS Competing was always in the back of his head, so in 2010, when he was 29, Fokken decided to give it a shot and entered his first bodybuilding competition.
Rick Siem, Financial Operations Manager
traveling to fitness expos, making appearances on behalf of his sponsors and writing content for various online outlets, there aren’t a lot of hours at the end of the day to just sit and relax. “Fun? What’s fun?” he says with a laugh. “I work too much to have fun.” That’s not entirely true. It’s just that Fokken is more of a homebody than a party animal. Fokken would rather be at home with his wife Amber Fokken, who is a bikini competitor and fitness professional, than jet-setting around the country.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS “I’m a simple person. I don’t need a lot to make me happy,” Fokken says. “I love the lifestyle
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here. I love home. We travel a lot, and when we fly in and I can see the Cathedral from the air, I feel complete. I could get a wellness coordinator job anywhere, but Sioux Falls is home to me. It always will be.” Downtime is spent with friends and family. “We like to cook, but we also like to go out to eat,” he says. “We walk and talk a lot. We’re regular people just like everyone else.” Like many homeowners, the Fokkens spend a lot of time on do-it-yourself projects – everything from small weekend projects like putting epoxy on the garage floor to larger jobs, like the bathroom remodel that’s next on their to-do list. They also spend a lot of time with their dog, Alpha, a cross
between a pit bull and husky. “We’re working hard at training him. Our goal is to make him a therapy dog and take him to hospitals.” They also have a Bengal cat named Gotham. “They’re bread from Asian leopards and are spotted and bigger than ordinary cats,” Fokken says. “They’re actually smarter than dogs.” Though dogs and cats don’t always mesh, the Fokken animals get along together just fine. “We call them brothers,” Fokken says. “They love each other.” The Fokkens love their “fur babies,” but they also long for a child of their own. “We really want to start a family this year.”
FOCUS ON FITNESS Until then, Fokken will continue to preach the importance of fitness – and not just at the corporate office in Sioux Falls. POET is currently rolling out Energy Centers to each biorefining location. It’s an important – and exciting – endeavor, he says. “If you invest in a team member’s health, both physical and mental – you get a happier, healthier, more productive team member,” Fokken says. “They have more energy, they’re more focused and they’re more driven.” In addition to his work at POET, Fokken is now part of the American Ethanol athlete team. Promoting ethanol use is a natural extension of his work in the fitness industry, Fokken says. “We put clean fuel in our bodies, which is the ‘environment’ that we want to protect,” he says. “We put ethanol in our cars to protect and preserve the environment that we live in.” Hard work is the key to Fokken’s success. But the downside of his physical accomplishments is that some people don’t look past his body. “They assume he’s arrogant or egotistical – maybe even stupid,” Amber Fokken says. “But Brandan couldn’t be farther from that meathead stereotype. He’s got a lot of depth and a lot of drive. Just like with any stereotype, you have to give the person a chance. You can’t judge a book by its cover.” But Fokken doesn’t let that bother him. Instead, he takes the
time to get to know people on a personal level. He wants to know what drives them, what their motivations are for getting into the gym. “I always wanted to help people – and now, I’m able to do that,” Fokken says. “Really, that’s all that matters in life.”
ACROSS 1. POET’s brand of zein 6. Natural plant materials that can be used in the production of ethanol 11. Fire residue 14. European river 15. “Tommy,” e.g. 16. Beehive State native 17. Kind of ray 18. Photo finish? 19. Addr. book entry 20. Caribbean music makers 22. Formula ___ 23. Boxing-match units 24. Devilish sort 26. Perfumes 29. Life saver 30. Radio operators 31. Ideal form of energy 36. Wrath 37. Nonsense 39. Charged atom 40. Good word to describe Voila,
having a variety of uses
42. Serb, Croat description 43. Joint inflammation 44. Express 46. First American in space 48. Estuary 51. Bobbsey girl 52. Composed of the world’s most
abundant organic compound
56. Org. led by Mandela, once 57. Teacher of Aristotle 58. Notre Dame squad, familiarly,
59. Return envelope, abbreviation 60. It’s purpose is stunning 61. Dining room staple 62. Towel embroidery 63. Silly trick 64. Ruhr river town
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54 vital || THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE
29. The lady indicated
1. Belief systems
32. Building wing
33. Born as
3. Climbing plant
4. Some workers at clinics
35. Deadly sin
5. Big fan
37. Half man--half goat
6. Winner of nine golf majors
38. Power hitter, Mel
42. JLO and Gloria Esteban,
9. “Prince of Tides” star __
44. Former coin of France
10. Botanical pouch
11. Mercury or Saturn, but not Mars
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47. Hawaiian island
13. Hunt in Hollywood
21. It makes frequent stops in
31. Investor’s concern, abbr.
50. “Old ___”
24. ___-eyed (naive)
52. Join hands?
25. Prohibition ___
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54. Emerald, for one
27. Kind of package
55. Wild goose
57. School org.
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