12th Annual Southern BioProducts and Renewable Energy Conference

September 17-18, 2013

Tunica, MS


Lilian SalernoLilian Salerno, Administrator, Rural Business and Cooperative Services, USDA – Rural Development
On July 1, 2013 Lillian Salerno became the Administrator for the Rural Business and Cooperative Services Agency where she has been Acting Administrator since 2012. As Acting Administrator, Ms. Salerno has worked to increase access to capital and capacity for small businesses to create jobs and grow the local economy in rural communities. Administrator Salerno has supported Secretarial priorities to strengthen the bio economy and focus Rural Business programs on the promotion of local and regional food systems. As a former entrepreneur in the manufacturing sector, Administrator Salerno brings a wide range of experience to her position. She has played the role of grant applicant, entrepreneur, attorney, and small business advocate, and through these experiences she has gained strong compassion for those working to promote economic growth and prosperity for others. She has made it her mission to support entrepreneurship and job creation in rural communities. Administrator Salerno grew up in rural Texas, where her start-up business and family currently reside. She attained a B.A. in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas, her Master's Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from The University of North Texas, and her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in Austin, Texas.

Sumesh Arora Sumesh Arora, Vice President, Innovate Mississippi
Sumesh Arora, Ph.D., serves as vice president of Innovate Mississippi and the director for Innovate Mississippi's Strategic Biomass Solutions program. Previously, he served as a project development engineer for Innovate Mississippi's Mississippi Alternative Energy Enterprise, where he was responsible for connecting a home in North Mississippi powered by solar and wind energy to TVA's utility grid. He has secured state and federal grants amounting to $1.1 million for renewable energy projects over the last two years. Sumesh completed the doctoral program in International Development at The University of Southern Mississippi in December 2010. His research interests are focused on diffusion of innovation and technology adoption issues, technical and economic feasibility of poultry litter anaerobic digestion and inter-organizational collaboration. His dissertation was entitled "Influence of Policy and Finance Environments on the Business Strategy of Biotechnology Companies in India." Sumesh is a firm believer in the efficient use of energy, generated by both traditional and non-traditional means.

Jack Barnett Jack Barnett, Principle Consultant, Twin Pond Partners
Jack Barnett is a principal consultant with Twin Pond Partners in sustainability, solar, net-zero building energy, and telecommunications technologies and strategy, and a member of the board of the Kentucky Solar Energy Society (KySES). His on-going project is their super-insulated, solar home which is currently approaching net-zero energy (~80% of total annual energy load is produced on-site). Jack holds Electrical and Computer Engineering degrees from Clemson University and Carnegie Mellon University.

Shawn BlenisShawn Blenis, Director of AltuMetrics, Entec Services Company
Shawn is a Chemical Engineering graduate from the University of South Alabama with more than 30 years of experience in the chemical processing industry. Over the course of his career, Shawn has held numerous positions of responsibility in Manufacturing, Resource Management, EH&S, and Process Development. These positions include Operations Manager of several production facilities, Resource Manager for two global business lines, and Manager of Additives EH&S. Shawn is currently director of AltuMetrics, an EHS and Sustainability consulting firm now part of Entec Services. Throughout his career Shawn has initiated and performed hundreds of confined space entries. Shawn participates in and leads EH&S facility audits, assessments, and program development in the US and globally for numerous industries for both compliance and individual company initiatives including but not limited to PSM, RMP, Title V, LDAR, SPCC, and Responsible Care. Additionally, Shawn has expertise in helping customers improve their product sustainability through the use of such tools as Life Cycle Assessments, Carbon Footprinting, Eco-Labeling, qualification of comparable and alternative fuel streams as well as auditing and assessment programs. Particular strength in the area of sustainability, operational efficiencies, and safety giving presentations and conducting workshops annually at numerous tradeshows within North America.

John CastellawJohn Castellaw, President, Crockett Policy Institute
John Castellaw is the president of the Crockett Policy Institute (CPI) a non-partisan policy and research organization chartered in Tennessee. Castellaw graduated from the University of Tennessee, Martin (UTM) in 1972 with a commission in the Marines. He served for 36 years leading Marines around the world while flying more than two dozen different types of aircraft. Castellaw was with the UN during the Siege of Sarajevo, commanded a U.S. joint force in the multi-national security operation in East Timor, and was the chief of staff for the U.S. Central Command at the height of the war in Iraq. His last tours on active duty were in the Pentagon where he oversaw Marine Aviation and then the Marine Corps budget. In 2008, he returned home to Tennessee where he is affiliated with several national security advocacy groups, is a teaching fellow at UTM, serves on several boards, works with economic development organizations, and advises a number of corporations.

Jim ClintonJim Clinton , Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
Jim Clinton is President and CEO for the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA), a non-profit organization dedicated to creating more and better economic opportunities in Central Louisiana. CLEDA is the state-designated regional development organization for the region. It is responsible for business recruitment, retention and expansion; workforce development; entrepreneurial development and regional innovation. He was previously CEO for the Cenla Advantage Partnership, which merged with CLEDA in 2011. Prior to coming to Alexandria in 2008, Jim served as Executive Director of Southern Growth Policies Board, a thirteen-state alliance based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. During his time at Southern Growth, he was a lead author on many publications, including Invented Here, The Mercedes and the Magnolia, The New Architecture of Rural Prosperity, Innovation with a Southern Accent, and Brave New South. He previously served as President of the Louisiana Partnership for Technology and Innovation and President of Gulf South Research Institute. In Louisiana state government, he was an Assistant Commissioner of Administration and Director of Contractual Review. He managed the Louisiana Superdome during its transition from public to private management. He was a lead author of the plan that consolidated Louisiana's more than 250 agencies into 20 principal departments. He serves on the boards of directors of the Council for a Better Louisiana and the National Policy Consensus Institute. He served on the Department of Economic Development's Blue Ocean Strategies advisory committee and was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Innovation Council. He is a member of the Louisiana State University Press Advisory Group and the Central Louisiana Business Incubator Advisory Board.

Cathy CohnCathy Cohn, Technology Transfer Liason, USDA-ARS
Cathy Cohn serves as the USDA-ARS Technology Transfer Liaison in the Office of Technology Transfer. Prior to this position, she served as the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and Licensing Officer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where she coordinated and negotiated CRADAs and patent licenses. She also served as the NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Manager and Marketing and Outreach Coordinator responsible for marketing and improving the visibility of promising NIST technologies and assessing the commercial potential of inventions. Prior to joining NIST in 2008, Cathy acquired 18 years of sales and marketing experience, working for both small and large companies, developing revenue growth and profit by understanding product positioning, pricing, competition and new product development in the biotechnology industry. She has a MBA in business and a MS in biochemistry.

Kyle CriderKyle Crider, Program Chair, Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America
Kyle Crider is Program Chair at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Trina GeorgeTrina N. George, Mississippi State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development
Trina N. George was appointed on June 29, 2009, by President Barack Obama to serve as Mississippi's State Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development. She has made history by being the first woman appointed in this position for the State of Mississippi. In her new role, she is charged with assisting residents of rural Mississippi with a range of programs such as affordable housing, water systems upgrades, and economic development efforts. Rural Development also provides grant and loan assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations for fire and police protection as well as health clinics, libraries and other facilities for public use. She is an advocate for rural communities throughout the state to assist with their growth, development and sustainability. Prior to this appointment, she served for 15 years as a Special Projects Coordinator for Congressman Bennie Thompson where she resolved community and constituency issues by thinking inside, outside and around the box. Her hands-on experience in the Congressional Office served as an ideal prerequisite for her role in rural economic development and community participation for the State of Mississippi. She serves on many civic organizations, including education and volunteer groups. She is actively involved in the community where she is a Board Member for the Heart of the South Girl Scouts Council which serves Northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee, Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and PI Alpha Alpha Honor Society. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Mississippi Valley State University and Master's Degree from Mississippi State University. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Public Policy and Administration at Walden University. Also, she holds a certificate in Management and Leadership from the Neighbor Works Training Institute of America in Washington, D.C. She is an important advocate for rural communities throughout the state. She administers and manages over 40 programs which include housing, business and cooperative programs, community programs and community facilities which are designed to improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development is an agency that the Obama Administration wants to see in the forefront of efforts to promote renewable energy and conservation of natural resources while ensuring a safe, sustainable, nutritious food supply through the Agency's cooperatives for present and future users.

J.D. HardyJ.D. Hardy, Chairman, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning System Energy Management Council
John David (J.D.) Hardy, originally from Columbus, MS, earned his Undergraduate and Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University, after which he joined Shell Exploration and Production Company where he worked both in deepwater drilling and in offshore production. In 2008, J.D. accepted a position as Mississippi State University's Mechanical and Energy Engineer. Since that time, J.D has been part of a successful Sustainability and Energy Conservation campaign at MSU, which has yielded a 37% reduction in energy intensity over 6 years resulting in over $21,000,000 in avoided energy costs. In 2009, J.D. was asked to join the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) Energy Efficiency Task Force which was commissioned to review energy management initiatives at each campus and identify opportunities that would enhance efficiency across the system. In 2011, the IHL Commissioner and IHL Board appointed a System Energy Management Council which oversees system performance and promotes campus energy management programs. In March, 2012 J.D. was asked to serve as Council Chairman.

Sarah HitchnerSarah Hitchner, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Integrative Conservation Research, University of Georgia
Sarah Hitchner is a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Integrative Conservation Research (CICR) at the University of Georgia. She is a member of the IUCN Commission on Economic, Environmental and Social Policy (CEESP) and the CEESP Theme on Indigenous and Local Communities, Equity and Protected Areas (TILCEPA). Her dissertation fieldwork, conducted in Sarawak, Malaysia from 2006-2009, focused on collaboratively documenting the landscape history of the highly anthropogenic rain forest of the Kelabit Highlands. She is a founding member and past review editor for Ecological and Environmental Anthropology and has published articles in Conservation and Society, International Social Science Journal, Policy Matters, Journal of Ecotourism, and Journal of Community Informatics. She is currently engaged in a USDA-funded research project entitled "Social Acceptability of Bioenergy in the U.S. South," conducting ethnographic fieldwork in several sites throughout the southeastern United States to examine the social impacts of bioenergy development on local communities and landowner and public perceptions of forest-based bioenergy.

Tami HornbeckTami Hornbeck, Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives, alt.Consulting
Tami Hornbeck is the Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives for alt.Consulting. She grew up in and continues to live in the Delta in a third generation farming family. She is knowledgeable about agricultural production especially soybeans as well as seed processing and sales. Tami is dedicated to the idea of producing biofuel in the Delta. She was responsible for communications and marketing roles in Arkansas SoyEnergy, a family-owned, large scale soybean based biofuel refinery. Tami joined alt.Consulting on January 7, 2013, with the specific responsibility to move the Arkansas Green Energy value chain to full implementation over the next two years.

John KasbaumJohn Kasbaum, Senior Vice President of Commercial, KiOR
John Kasbaum is the Senior Vice President of Commercial at KiOR, where he is responsible for the commercial operations, business development strategy, feedstock procurement, customer development and marketing of KiOR's proprietary cellulosic transportation fuels. In addition, Kasbaum oversees KiOR's government and industry relations. Prior to KiOR, Kasbaum held various positions at Albemarle Corporation, a global leader in refining catalysts and specialty chemicals manufacturing, as well as AkzoNobel Catalysts (now owned by Albemarle). In his most recent role at Albemarle, Kasbaum served as Division Vice President for Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Catalysts, a key division for Albemarle and was responsible for leading all aspects of the worldwide business. Kasbaum holds a Masters of Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Bachelors degree in Engineering and Business Management, also from The University of Texas at Austin.

Thomas KlassonThomas Klasson, Commodity Utilization Research Unit Research Leader, USDA-ARS
Dr. Thomas Klasson joined U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in 2004 as a Research Leader for the Commodity Utilization Research Unit. In this position, he is responsible for the Unit (26 members) including group activities and staff allocation. The group's research activities include development of processes for converting agricultural waste to fuels and products, enzymatic upgrading of vegetable oils, alternative use and recovery of cotton seed oil, and process improvement of sugar mills. Prior to joining USDA-ARS, Dr. Klasson worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 12 years as a R&D Engineer and Group Leader of the Biochemical Engineering Research Group and the Remediation Technology Group. Dr. Klasson is a Chemical Engineer and received his M.S. degree from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and his Ph.D. from University of Arkansas. He has authored over 140 publications in scientific journals, proceedings of international meetings, book chapters, and technical reports. He has been the co-chair for the Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals for the last ten years and he is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Marie-Hélène LabrieMarie-Hélène Labrie, Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, Enerkem
Marie-Hélène Labrie joined Enerkem as Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, in May 2008. Prior to that, she worked in communications, business strategy, and market analysis as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning at CAE, and as a consultant for numerous organizations, such as Oliver Wyman Delta Organization & Leadership and Desjardins Financial Security. Ms. Labrie began her career at the Government of Canada, in the Department of National Defense, and pursued it at Industry Canada and the Privy Council Office. Ms. Labrie is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the Canadian Bioenergy Association (CanBio) and the Mississippi Energy Institute. She is also Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Écotech Québec, a cleantech cluster, and represents the company at the Advanced Ethanol Council and the Canadian Cleantech Coalition. Marie-Hélène Labrie holds a Masters in International Business and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Université Laval in Québec.

Nicholas LandauNicholas Landau, Intellectual Property Lawyer, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Nicholas Landau is an intellectual property lawyer in the Intellectual Property group of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. He is experienced in the procurement, protection, and litigation of patents, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property. Dr. Landau has drafted, prosecuted, and successfully appealed over 100 patent applications. Having earned a Ph.D. in environmental science at Rutgers University, Nick has worked with clients in a broad array of technological disciplines, including many sustainable technologies.

Simon MahanSimon Mahan, Renewable Energy Manager, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Simon joined Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in September 2010. He is responsible for overseeing the organization's promotion of clean energy with a focus on onshore wind energy within the region, offshore wind and wind energy transmission. Simon specializes in policy advocacy, energy analysis and stakeholder engagement. Previously, he worked as an advocate and analyst for an ocean conservation organization in Washington, DC addressing offshore wind economics, industrial energy efficiency and mercury reduction policies. He earned his B.S. in political science at Missouri State University with minors in biology and communications.

Brandon Presley Brandon Presley, Public Service Commissioner, Northern District of Mississippi
Brandon Presley was elected Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District of Mississippi in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, winning 28 of the district's 33 counties. Elected to the Public Service Commission at age 30, he was the youngest Commissioner ever elected in Mississippi. Prior to his election to the Public Service Commission, he served as Mayor of Nettleton from 2001 to 2007. Commissioner Presley currently serves as President of the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, which is composed of Public Service Commissioners from the eleven (11) Southern States and Puerto Rico. He serves on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) committees on Consumer Affairs and Water. He is a former member of the board of directors of the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI). Commissioner Presley is past Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Itawamba Community College and former member of the Board of Directors of Gilmore Memorial Hospital. He is past Chairman of the Lee County Council of Governments and also served as President of the North Mississippi Mayors Association. Commissioner Presley, 36, is a lifelong resident of Nettleton, where he is a member of the Enon Primitive Baptist Church. He is past-President and current member of the Nettleton Lions Club and is a member of the Nettleton Civitan Club.

Pat RileyPat Riley, District Engineer, Gibson County Tennessee Utility District
Mr. Riley has been in the Natural Gas industry for 33 year, having served at Allen & Hoshall Engineers in Memphis before starting with the Gibson County Utility District in Trenton, TN as District Engineer in 1980. He has been the District Manager of GCUD for the past 14 years. Mr. Riley is the secretary of the Executive Board of the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts and serves on the Energy Subcommittee and the Board of the State Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Riley has been very involved in the Tennessee Gas Association, taking on a variety of roles including Executive Board member and association president from 2004-2005. As Chair of the Natural Gas Vehicle Committee, he has been responsible for organizing and hosting Natural Gas Vehicle Expos for the past two years in Nashville. Mr. Riley has also served as lead negotiator between the Tennessee Gas Associaton and the Tennessee Titans; the Titans wish to promote natural gas vehicles and the industry as a whole. Mr. Riley has been recipient of the Tennessee Gas Association's "Silver Flame Award," recognizing his numerous contributions toward the promotion of the natural gas industry in Tennessee. He makes his home in Trenton, TN with his wife of 31 years, Julie. He enjoys photography, golf and trout fishing.

David SparksDavid Sparks, Sales & Marketing Manager, Mississippi Customer Service District, Tennessee Valley Authority
David Sparks currently serves as the Mississippi Sales and Marketing Manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority. David is responsible for the delivery and execution of TVA's energy efficiency and demand reduction programs to TVA's Mississippi local power companies and their end use customers. Prior to joining TVA, David served as the Director of Sales for Nielsen Bainbridge, the world's leading manufacturer and distributor for value added picture framing products. During his career, David has served in various senior leadership roles with Fortune 500 companies including Oscar Mayer Foods, Hershey Chocolate, and Cox Communications. David is a graduate of The University of Mississippi and The University of Virginia's Darden Business School executive program. David and his wife Chris live in Oxford where they have one son, Matthew.

Dan SaucierDan Saucier, Bureau Manager, Mississippi Development Authority's Energy and Natural Resources Division
Dan Saucier serves as bureau manager for policy, planning, and research in the Mississippi Development Authority's (MDA's) Energy and Natural Resources Division. In this role, he directs activities related to the research, planning, and implementation of energy programs and policy for the state and agency. He has been with MDA since 2011. Prior to his current position, he served as a senior project manager in the agency's former Stimulus Division, where he was responsible for managing several of the programs MDA administered under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), including programs under the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) and State Energy Program (SEP). Previously, he worked as a legal administrator and consultant in Jackson. Saucier is a native of Jackson, Mississippi. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Belhaven College and a J.D. from the Mississippi College School of Law.

John SchelhasJohn Schelhas, Research Forester, USDA Forest Service
John Schelhas is a Research Forester with the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. His research centers on the relationship between people and forests. The primary focus is on private forest landowners and rural communities, and has addressed the topics of land use decision-making, environmental values, forest-based rural development, relationships between protected areas and their neighbors, invasive plants, bioenergy, and climate change. He has conducted research in Latin America and the U.S. South. He holds a Ph.D. in Renewable Natural Resources with a Minor in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. He has worked as a researcher at Cornell University and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, and has also worked for the U.S. National Park Service and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. He co-authored "Saving Forests, Protecting People? Environmental Conservation in Central America" (with Max Pfeffer, AltaMira Press 2008), and co-edited "Biological Diversity: Balancing Interests through Adaptive Collaborative Management" (with Louise Buck, Charles Geisler, and Lini Wollenberg, CRC Press 2001) and "Forest Patches in Tropical Landscapes" (with Russell Greenberg, Island Press 1996), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. In 2010, he received the Forest Service Southern Research Station Director's Multicultural Organization Award for his work with minority forest landowners.