The Renewable Fuels Association recently created two new positions in the organization with the future of ethanol in mind and hired a couple of talented and experienced individuals to round out a team ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Tad Hepner is the organization’s new Vice President of Strategy and Innovation and Justin Schultz is RFA’s new Director of Environment, Health & Safety. Both have unique backgrounds in the ethanol industry that are especially suited to their new roles.
A South Dakota native, Hepner started his ethanol career with POET and moved on to work for Clariant, a multinational company that, among other projects, has a cellulosic ethanol plant in Romania. He will be focused on building demand and new markets for ethanol and other bio-products.
“We’ve seen increased focus on things like renewable diesel, as well as SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel),” said Hepner. “There’s a couple of processes out there that can use ethanol as a biochemical intermediate for the production of these materials.” He adds that plants also produce distillers’ corn oil as a byproduct, which can also be used.
Schultz started in the ethanol industry at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in 2009 and has managed regulatory, safety, and compliance issues for the Council Bluffs, Iowa, biorefinery.
Schultz says safety is personal for him and he wants to be sure ethanol producers understand the purpose of safety regulations. “Safety is absolutely one of the most important things that we can do in this industry,” said Schultz. “So, my role at RFA is to explain to plants why we’re doing this and why it’s important.”
Learn more about these two new RFA staff members who are looking forward to helping the ethanol industry grow in the latest edition of "The Ethanol Report" podcast.