California Biodiesel Alliance elects new officers

By California Biodiesel Alliance | January 23, 2013

California Biodiesel Alliance board members unanimously elected their new state trade association leadership, electing some new officers from within their ranks and moving other officers to new positions. The new officers represent California-based producers and stakeholders and will help lead the small but growing industry as it navigates a bourgeoning state market, which is demanding every drop of low carbon biodiesel its members can produce.

The new officers will serve two-year terms and include:

-Curtis Wright, Imperial Western Products—chairman

-Russ Teall, Biodico Sustainable Biorefineries—president

-Joe Gershen, Crimson Renewable Energy—vice chairman

-Jennifer Case, New Leaf Biofuel—vice president and treasurer

-Doug Smith, Baker Commodities—secretary

Chairman Curtis Wright has managed Imperial Western Products biodiesel production facility in Coachella, Calif., since its start-up in 2001. As a California industry pioneer, Wright has seen biodiesel’s ups and downs as the new fuel has found its way to market, and as state and federal policy has evolved. “My goal is to help biodiesel reach its full potential in California,” he said. “Biodiesel is good for the environment and good for the economy. Not only does biodiesel reduce diesel emissions and greenhouse gases, it provides jobs in our state and energy security for our nation. As Chairman of CBA, I will continue to spread the good message about biodiesel, and work to expand its use in the California fuel supply.”

Newly elected CBA President Russ Teall has been involved with the biodiesel industry since 1993, and first produced biodiesel from used cooking oil in California in 1998 under a grant from the U.S. DOE. According to Teall, who is one of CBA’s founders, “Biodiesel has evolved in California from an unknown fuel, to the pre-eminent fuel for meeting California’s low carbon fuel standard. I am honored to serve as president of the CBA and look forward to assisting our industry continue the progress we have already made. I see our emphasis over the coming years as focusing on local low indirect land use change feedstocks, local production with advanced technologies and local distribution of the lowest carbon intensity biodiesel possible.”

Vice Chairman-elect Joe Gershen has worked in the biodiesel industry since 2001 and currently is director of sales and marketing for Crimson Renewable Energy, one of the largest plants in the western U.S. “All of us are excited about working together to grow our industry and build consensus around meeting California’s demand for low-carbon biodiesel created by the state’s low carbon fuel standard as well as the federal RFS,” Gershen said. “We really can grow and gather low-carbon feedstocks in California, produce the fuel and distribute it to market, all within the state—it’s sustainability in action and CBA is leading the way.”

Vice President and treasurer-elect Jennifer Case helped found her company, New Leaf Biofuel, in 2006 in San Diego and has been on a mission to recycle cooking oil from area restaurants into fuel that powers regional fleets including the city of San Diego, local school districts, SDG&E, and area military bases. Case was recently elected to the National Biodiesel Board governing board and will be very involved in governmental affairs on behalf of CBA. “Our goal has always been to move the California biodiesel industry forward while lowering carbon emissions, improving air quality and creating good paying jobs in our communities,” said Case. “I’m really honored to have been elected to positions with CBA and NBB where I can work at the local, state and national level to help accomplish these goals. This should keep me pretty busy.”

Continuing CBA Secretary Doug Smith has worked in the rendering, oleochemicals and biodiesel industries for 25 years and for Baker Commodities, a leading rendering company and premier California feedstock supplier, since 2003. Smith is currently Director of R&D at Baker’s corporate headquarters in Vernon and has helped the company pioneer the use of recycled fats and oils in the production of low-carbon intensity biodiesel. “We’ve seen biodiesel go from an almost completely unknown and experimental fuel to a robust and growing part of the fuel mix in California,” said Smith.

Founded in 2006, the California Biodiesel Alliance promotes the increased use and production of high-quality, renewable biodiesel fuel in California.  Its membership includes California producers, feedstock providers, marketers and other stakeholders.


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