ABC Board Election 2020

Important Dates

  • Nominating Period: Nov. 12 – Dec. 2 (midnight ET)
  • Voting: Dec. 7 – Dec. 16 (midnight ET)
  • Directors Announced: Dec. 18
  • First meeting with new directors: January Board Meeting (TBD)

Online Voting

Online voting will open on December 7. ABC members will be notified via email with instructions on how to vote. Your dues must have been paid in order to receive your ballot. 

Current Nominees

Submit your nominations to [email protected] 

Amy McCrae Kessler

EVP, Head of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs

Independent

View Amy's Bio

Amy McCrae Kessler is EVP, Head of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs and a Founding Member of Turning Earth, LLC, a developer of integrated organics recycling facilities that recycle food waste to produce renewable energy, compost, and heat for greenhouses using proprietary dry high solids anaerobic digestion & in-vessel composting technology.

She is a member the Board of Directors of the American Biogas Council where she serves as Co-Chair of the Council’s Federal Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Committee & Co-Chair of the AD Co-Products Working Group. A Member of the Board since 2010, she served as Vice Chair of the ABC from 2014-2015, 2012-2013; Co-Chair AD Co-Products Working Group 2014-present; Co-Chair Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Committee from 2013-present, 2010-2012, building the ABC’s most popular program from the ground up.

Ms. McCrae Kessler has extensive environmental & administrative law, project development & federal advocacy experience spanning multiple practice disciplines, including local, state & federal permitting of novel technologies & complex facilities, regulatory compliance, land use, planning & zoning, facility siting, community outreach, public policy, government relations & advocacy with expertise in a range of environmental issues, including sustainable materials management, renewable energy, organics recycling, anaerobic digestion and composting, food waste reduction, water conservation, climate change mitigation, nutrient & soil management.

Prior to launching Turning Earth, Ms. McCrae Kessler practiced environmental, international environmental and administrative law at Arnold & Porter, LLP in New York and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London. Ms. Kessler has advised clients on a broad range of environmental issues in the context of litigation, regulatory compliance, permitting and corporate, banking and real estate transactions. In addition, she has counseled sovereign states on a variety of environmental issues.

Before joining the private sector, Ms. McCrae Kessler dedicated time to public service and non-profit organizations including the Office of International Environmental Policy at the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for International Environmental Law. In addition to numerous speaking engagements at national, state and local conferences and industry events, Ms. McCrae Kessler has written about organics recycling, benefits of biogas systems, advantages of high solids anaerobic digestion technology, federal environmental and tax policy, permitting strategy, organics diversion and developing standards for testing and certification of AD co-products, the importance of seeking a NAICS code for the composting industry as well as on the subjects of international environmental law and the environmental impacts of projects funded through multilateral lending institutions.

Ms. McCrae Kessler is admitted to the Bar of the State of New York as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. Ms. McCrae Kessler received her JD, summa cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law in 1998 where she was a senior staff member of The American University Law Review. She received her BA in Political Science from Vanderbilt University in 1992.

 

View Amy's Statement

I am seeking re-election to the ABC Board of Directors to continue building value for the ABC and the biogas industry through my work on federal policy and on diversifying and building new markets for biogas system products, particularly digested co products and green hydrogen. 

I am a founding member the Board of Directors of the ABC and I have served as Co-Chair of the Council’s Federal Policy Committee since 2011, building ABC’s highly regarded federal regulatory and legislative affairs program from the ground up.

The Biden administration brings new opportunities to raise the profile of biogas at the federal level and ABC’s federal policy program is poised for tremendous growth. If re-elected, I look forward to working hard to leverage this new administration to expand federal legislative, regulatory, and policy opportunities to grow the biogas industry. 

In addition to federal policy, I also have a strong interest in building a robust biogas industry through diversification and new market building for biogas system co-products and energy products. 

I Co-Chaired the AD Co-Products Working Group starting in 2014 where I led a multi-year effort to develop standards, testing protocols, and certification programs for digestate to highlight agronomic benefits and build economic value. ABC’s Digestate Standard & Certification Program was published in 2016. I’d like to return to the ABC Board to continue working to build the value of this program for the ABC and the industry.

I’d also like to be re-elected to the ABC Board to focus ABC’s resources on diversifying biogas system energy products with a special emphasis on green hydrogen. 

To meet climate change goals, many municipalities, fleets, and policy makers are rushing away from RNG to electrification of vehicles and energy infrastructure.  The ABC and the biogas industry need to be agile in response to this electrification trend. RNG has been a primary driver of growth in the industry over the last few years.  The trend toward electrification could stymie that growth if the biogas industry is not prepared to pivot to new high value energy end products that can be used in electric vehicles and grids like green hydrogen.  Green hydrogen made from biogas can provide the biogas industry with both protections and new market opportunities as the trend toward electrification grows.  If re-elected to the ABC Board of Directors, I’d like to work to grow awareness and new markets for green hydrogen as a biogas system energy product. 

I hope to win your vote and return to the ABC Board to continue working on these important issues and growing the biogas industry; it would be an honor.  My deepest thanks!

Alan Howard

Head of Sales & Project Delivery

Clarke Energy US 

View Alan's Bio

In the year of 2000, I joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in the British Army and attended the Royal School of Military Engineering. During my 7 years of service in the Corps of Royal Engineers I served on active duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.
After leaving the military I joined Clarke Energy in 2007, initially supporting with the electrical integration for all ongoing cogeneration and biogas projects within the UK.
After 3 years in the UK market, I moved roles to support with emerging territories. During this time, I supported with the delivery and installation of over $150m of combined heat and power projects in Australia, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, Ireland and Asia. In 2014, I was charged with managing a group of specialist engineers who supported the wider group with the delivery of new units, this was a new function within the business and I was responsible for the various interconnect policies for new biogas and cogeneration projects.
Globally Clarke Energy is a market leader in the biogas sector, having supplied over 1.4GW of power into the biogas, sewage gas and landfill gas industries. We have also added biogas upgrading technology into our product portfolio.
In 2016 Clarke Energy was awarded distribution rights for INNIO Jenbacher’s gas engines in the Mid-west and I was tasked with managing and setting up the engineering, procurement and construction arm of the business in a project department manager role, I started working in the US in 2017 and moved across permanently in 2018. Since joining the U.S. team, we have integrated multiple C.H.P. and biogas projects throughout the Midwest.
At the start of 2020 my responsibilities within the business expanded and I am now the head of sales and project delivery for the North American market.
I am currently a co-chair on the working group for biogas within the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) and I am on the board of the Midwest Cogen Association (MCA).

I have 13 yrs experience within the cogeneration and biogas sectors globally and I have been involved with a multitude of sized projects from sub 500kW plants to large scale 50MW plants. I have obtained a vast amount of knowledge on the intricacies of how to finance, plan, deliver and maintain biogas projects. I live in Wisconsin and I am a passionate rugby, cricket and baseball fan. Myself and my family enjoy skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.

 

View Alan's Statement

I am interested in engaging with the American Biogas Council board and bringing my stated experience of CHP and biogas upgrading to the organisation. I would be very interested to participate in the renewable natural gas and CHP programs. Going forwards I also envisage renewable heat and carbon dioxide recovery to be important dynamics in the future. I work closely with our global operations and my colleague Alex Marshall who holds a council position on the World Biogas Association, something I hope to capitalise upon with my engagement with the American Biogas Council.

Brad Pleima

Senior Engineer 

EcoEngineers

View Brad's Bio

Brad is a Senior Engineer and leads EcoEngineers’ renewable natural gas line of business guiding municipalities, industries, and project developers implementing biogas to RNG projects.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 15 years of experience in the planning, engineering design, and construction of water, wastewater, and renewable energy projects and has worked with over 100 renewable energy facilities to help with consulting or compliance related activities.  He has a civil engineering degree from Iowa State University and is currently a licensed professional engineer in 13 states.

View Brad's Statement

I have a passion for clean energy and helping turn wastes into renewable energy.  As a member of the ABC Board, I would strive to bring more awareness and knowledge to biogas, renewable electricity, and renewable natural gas with a goal to grow the clean energy economy and ABC membership.  I hope to bring and spread my knowledge of technologies, markets, credit generation, and compliance in ways beneficial to the American Biogas Council. 

Bryan Sievers

Chief Operating Officer

AgriReNew / Sievers’ Family Farm

View Bryan's Bio

A descendent of German and Norwegian immigrants that settled in Iowa between 1850 and 1873, Bryan Sievers, and his wife Lisa, are the current generation of owners and operators of the Sievers’ farm.  Bryan is an enthusiastic environmental steward of the land and takes pride in using all available resources, including the air, land, water, and sun for their highest and best use. The Sievers’ 2,300 acre farming operation, 2,400 head beef cattle feedlot, and renewable energy facility is located in western Scott County, Iowa near Stockton. 

In 2009, this philosophy became the motivation behind implementing the combined heat and power (CHP) anaerobic digester project.  The Sievers were looking to dramatically expand the farm’s beef cattle feedlot but had concerns about any of the expansion’s effects on their carbon footprint, water quality, soil health, and the environment. The solution was a 1 MW CHP system fueled by the methane produced from two 970,000 gallon anaerobic digesters utilizing beef cattle manure, agricultural processing waste streams, cover crops, and other co-feeds.  AgriReNew, a company created by the Sievers and their partners, Dr. William and Judy Davidson, commissioned their digesters and CHP power plant in 2013.  Today, the digesters process over 55,000 gallons per day of cattle manure and other off-site co-feeds in the complete-mix system.  The electricity that’s generated, 24 hours per day 7 days per week, is sold to their local service provider, Interstate Power and Light (Alliant Energy).  In 2014, AgriReNew received the Agricultural Biogas Project of the Year Award from the American Biogas Council and received the 2014 Iowa Environmental Excellence Award for their anaerobic digester project.

Bryan and Lisa are 1982 graduates of Iowa State University. Bryan received his degree in Agricultural Business while Lisa received her degree in Industrial Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.  Lisa is also a Certified Public Accountant.  Bryan and Lisa have two children and six grandchildren.

Bryan’s past experiences include being a 3-year letterman on the Iowa State University baseball team, leadership roles in the Iowa Farm Bureau, serving two terms in the Iowa Legislature (one term in the Iowa House and one term in the Iowa Senate), and is currently serving as Chair of the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Biomass Conversion committee.  This committee is responsible for creating an Action Plan to expand Iowa’s biomass production and processing capacity as part of a comprehensive renewable energy strategy through Governor Kim Reynolds’ Iowa Energy Plan.

View Bryan's Statement

As a member and Vice-Chair of the American Biogas Council Board of Directors, I have brought my  experience, passion, and tenacity to continue developing the anaerobic digestion industry while telling the tremendous story AD brings to solving so many unique agricultural, waste management, and energy challenges.  Improving our natural resources, including the air we breathe, the land we farm, and the water we drink while providing meaningful solutions to renewable energy generation and independence, organic, industrial, and food waste processing, as well as, risk management tools through anaerobic digestion will be my primary focus as a member of the ABC Board of Directors.  Finally, communicating the challenges our industry  faces, along with our successes, to the public, government agencies, and elected officials will also be one of my top priorities.  I hope I can count on your support for this very important leadership role for the AD and biogas industry.

Chris Voell

Head – Waste, Recycling & Biogas Advisory

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark – Trade Council of North America

 

View Chris's Bio

Chris Voell is a globally recognized advocate for biogas energy, renewable natural gas, anaerobic digesters, advanced waste management, and methane reductions. He has acted as a catalyst in the government, non-profit and private sectors over the last 33 years for public-private collaboration and biogas industry growth. Focused on finding pragmatic solutions through technology application, training, and advocacy, Chris has an extensive US and global government, NGO and industry network. He spent seven years in business development and sales in private consultancy (SCS Engineers) and biogas energy project development (Aria Energy, BioCNG) sectors; twelve years with USEPA Climate Change Division – AgSTAR & Landfill Methane Outreach Program and Global Methane Initiative; and 13 years with the Solid Waste Association of North America. In his current role, Chris works to help grow the North American biogas industry by establishing synergies between American and Danish stakeholders in the biogas and waste sectors. Chris served previously on the ABC Board.

View Chris's Statement

I am passionate about biogas and bring a wealth of knowledge across all sectors (ag, waste, wastewater) as well as a strong professional network. While I would never call myself a ‘technical expert’ (I leave that to technicians, engineers, scientists), I do refer to myself as an ‘industry expert’ in the biogas, digester and waste fields as I have a deep understanding of the technologies, policies and challenges that exist. As ABC moves deeper into the policy, training and conference space, I feel my background in these areas will be valuable in helping advance these efforts going forward. Having lived in the DC area since 1986, I would welcome a chance to use my network and proximity to federal decision-makers to advance biogas policy to the advantage of ABC members. It would be an honor to represent you on the Board.

Craig Frear

Director of Research and Technology

Regenis

View Craig's Bio

 Craig Frear is Director of Research and Technology for Regenis, a Washington state company specializing in anaerobic digestion and nutrient/water treatment of organic waste streams, providing both construction and operations services to projects. In addition to his role with Regenis, Craig presently serves on the ABC Board of Directors as well as a technical expert to the US dairy industry through his involvement with Newtrient, a coop funded enterprise focused on improved and environmentally beneficial use of manure. Prior to his Regenis position, Craig was an Assistant Professor at Washington State University, managing one of the nation’s more prolific teams providing research and extension activities within the field of value-added and environmentally-beneficial use of manure and other organic waste streams, focusing in particular on anaerobic digestion, value-added biochemical recovery from waste, and development of bio-refinery principles for rural and urban communities.  In addition to his research, Dr. Frear is the author of over sixty peer-reviewed publications and holds five patents. Craig holds a PhD in Engineering Science from Washington State University, a MA in Educational Administration from Columbia University, and BA in Chemistry and Theology from St. Olaf College.

 

View Craig's Statement

I have thoroughly enjoyed my service to the ABC Board of Directors these last several years and gladly offer my services for another term. I believe I have served the Board well in two key areas of importance to ABC. First, as a small trade organization, with limited staffing, ABC is only able to cut as large a swath of influence as it has, due to the hard work of its members and in particular its Board of Directors. Thanks to the understanding of my employer, I have been allowed to not just attend meetings and serve as a voting Board Member, but to spend considerable time serving as co-chair on committees and assist in many initiatives that are long-lasting and require considerable hours of donated time. Second, across the course of a year, numerous topics arise requiring immediate ABC response to policy/technical issues. When those issues arise, I have formed a nice partnership with the ABC staff providing technical review/expertise and writing whenever necessary. While other Board Members fill important gaps in financing, business, legal acumen, to name a few, my academic and engineering training affords a much-needed attribute to the Board. That, along with a willingness and ability to devote time and effort outside of my main job, makes me a valuable member of the ABC team. I look forward to supporting ABC and this industry in any capacity I can.

Don Chahbazpour 

Director of Gas Utility of the Future

National Grid

View Don's Bio

Donald Chahbazpour is currently the Director of Gas Utility of the Future at National Grid’s Regulatory and Customer Strategy Group. Don is leading company’s efforts to implement gas decarbonization and reduce methane emissions through policy, strategy and technology. The group is also responsible for engaging stakeholders to raise awareness regarding the potential of renewable natural gas and hydrogen, and how the gas network can enable a low carbon future.

Before his current position, Don was the Director of Climate Change Compliance. His previous positions at National Grid include Corporate Strategy, M&A and Energy Procurement. Prior to National Grid, Don was working for a startup energy technology company focusing on emerging distributed generation technologies and related regulatory issues.

Don has a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration (MPA) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Bachelor’s with honors in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology.   

View Don's Statement

I want to be a part of ABC’s Board of Directors in order to provide the perspective of a progressive utility that wants to integrate RNG and hydrogen as part of its energy supply. I will work with members to address barriers and concerns from the project developer’s perspective to make sure that their concerns are addressed by utilities. I bring the ability to build a coalition and collective voice to advance the development of RNG through legislation.

Francois Huberts

CCO Global / Global Sales & Marketing Director

Dmt-Environmental Technology

View Francois's Bio

Francois Huberts is the Global Commercial Chief Officer of DMT with two main offices, one in Portland US and one in Joure the Netherlands. His objective is to drive global development and execution of a commercialization strategy with a strong focus in the Renewable Energy Segment, Biogas Upgrading and Desulphurization. Building a commercial infrastructure and organization to further drive market adoption of the company’s products and be responsible for revenue growth of the organization.

Having been in the biogas industry for more than 20 years, Francois is a true expert. He started his career on the engineering department and grew to be the Global Sales Leader Pentair, after which he made the transition to DMT. Francois has an excellent track record and has proven himself in the biogas industry, recognized with several award-winning projects. Always on the forefront of development Francois is a true pioneer in the biogas upgrading industry.

Having been involved in every step of the project, Francois understands biogas project having either implemented or designed every stage of it. He is creative, resourceful and has thorough knowledge of possibilities, especially areas of engineering and technology identification helping our customers to maximize their revenue. Francois is solution-oriented and has extensive experience with various technologies for biogas upgrading and CO2 treatment.

In the various positions Francois has held, he gained experience in every field of the biogas industry. As process engineer, he was focused on engineering/designing CO2 Recovery Systems for the Food & Beverage Industry, on the R&D department he researched Biogas Upgrading technologies and developed a pilot plant based upon membrane technologies which was commercialized. Additionally, Francois was a Project Manager for Capital projects up to 7M each. After these technical roles Francois entered the Sales side of businesses in which he currently is responsible for expanding on a global scale growth in the Renewable Sector for DMT. Furthermore he currently serves the World Biogas Association being part of the Council to provide strategic visons, guidance on how to develop the biogas sector globally and building new alliances and partnerships.

View Francois's Statement

As a Board member of ABC I would work to assist in building awareness of the biogas industry via several platforms to enable and contribute reducing global GHG emissions, campaigning to ensure that all barriers are removed to unlock this huge potential.

Iain Cooper

CEO

Seek Ops

View Iain 's Bio

Iain is the CEO of SeekOps Inc., a company based in Austin, TX, that develops and deploys robust and highly sensitive compact gas sensor technology for leak detection in the oil and gas, biogas, and waste management sectors. Prior to his position at SeekOps Inc., Iain was with Schlumberger for 30-years, the majority of which were spent in the commercialization of efficient oil and gas technology and the latter ten years as founder and head of Schlumberger’s Corporate Venture Capital Group. In his last two years he drove Schlumberger’s vision for the energy transition. Iain has experience serving on several boards, including a role as director of GHGSat- a Canadian company focused on global methane emissions monitoring. He also currently serves on the board of a stealth electric vehicle start-up, and is a consultant to SpaceX on drilling technology. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Meteorological Society, and has been awarded 26 patents. In his spare time, Iain enjoys playing electric guitar.

 

View Iain 's Statement

Iain seeks to apply his expertise to further the American Biogas Council’s goal of safely maximizing biogas production and use, especially in the area of sustainability of the biogas production value chain. Iain plans to apply his expertise in emissions detection and monitoring to identify and develop a framework for a rigorous quantitative evaluation program for the biogas industry, building on the regulatory frameworks and challenges in the oil and gas industry. Gas leakage across the biogas production chain above a 3% threshold can negate the positive climate impacts of renewable natural gas. Thus the impetus is on the operators, and the operating industry groups such as ABC, to better understand the actual leakage realized in biogas production operations. Iain’s experience translates most effectively to the American Biogas Council’s Policy Committee and Operations Committee. However, in order to develop best practices for leak quantification associated with biogas production, Iain will investigate developing a new program to create global industry standards for emissions monitoring, quantification and measurement of the biogas production chain. Iain’s fluency in various technologies for quantitative measurement of natural gas, from satellites to ground-based methods, makes his leadership on such a new program particularly valuable. Iain will work with other ABC members to develop the framework for such emissions monitoring standards and will expand visibility to the international biogas community through his relationships with the European Biogas Association (EBA), of which SeekOps is a member.

Jessica Linville-LeRoy

Technical Director of Sustainable Solutions

Mendota Agri-Products

View Jessica's Bio

Jessica Linville-LeRoy, Ph.D., E.I. expertise ranges from lab-scale anaerobic digestion optimization studies to full-scale digester operation focused on high-strength industrial wastewater, and fats, oils and grease (FOG) co-digestion.

She currently works at Mendota Agri-Products as the Technical Director of Sustainable Solutions where she established lab-scale digesters, rebuilt their 2.4M gallon lagoon digester and optimized high-strength industrial wastewater co-digestion. Previously, she owned Nullam Consulting, LLC focused on digester optimization. She has conducted research at both Oak Ridge National Laboratory focused on increasing microbial robustness and Argonne National Laboratory focused on increasing the in-situ methane content during anaerobic digestion of food waste and sewage sludge utilizing biochar. While at Argonne National Laboratory she conducted BMP studies and scaled her research from 1L semi-continuous digesters to a 100,000 gallon 3-phase anaerobic digester system at an industry partner’s facility. She has also participated in the Department of Energy funded Energy I-Corps entrepreneurial program twice where she developed a large industry network. She has collaborated on 14 peer-reviewed journal articles and has presented 30 platform presentations. She has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Tennessee.

View Jessica's Statement

This first year as an ABC board member has been a tremendous experience for me. If re-elected to the board, I would continue to bring a wide range of unique experiences ranging from research conducted at government facilities to digester operations at a private company. I have in-depth knowledge of food waste, high-strength industrial wastewater, and fats, oils, and grease (FOG) co-digestion.  Over the last year, I have become more involved in the Digester Training School. Although this year has had many challenges in terms of interacting with each other, I would like to focus on finding ways to develop a community among digester operators within the ABC where we can share questions and experiences in operations. I see an increasing shift towards adding food waste, high-strength industrial wastewater and FOG to municipal digester without a mechanism for understanding the impacts on the digester. My goal is still to help foster this understanding through community discussions, webinars or in-person training so that the industry can become more profitable through increased tipping fees and biogas production. I would also like to be involved in the Policy Committee to bring additional focus to industrial and high-strength wastewater digesters. Current policy puts non-traditional digesters at a significant disadvantage but offers a large growth area for the biogas industry.

Kate Murphy

 Project Manager

TRC

 

View Kate's Bio

Kate Murphy is a project manager for TRC, a global consulting, engineering, and construction management firm that provides technology-enabled solutions to the power, oil and gas, environmental, and infrastructure markets.  Kate holds a degree in Environmental Science and Biology, and provides integrated environmental, engineering and construction solutions for energy development projects. Much of her 18-year career has been focused on environmental surveys, analysis and permitting for fixed-base facilities and linear projects, including thousands of miles of natural gas, transmission, and renewable energy projects.  Kate’s emphasis is on natural resources and project stakeholder identification, including public outreach and environmental justice.

Kate has extensive experience in critical issues analyses, and siting and licensing of energy and infrastructure projects across the United States.  Her experience managing renewable energy projects in Pennsylvania, California, Wyoming, Colorado, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina has given her a broad-based understanding of differing environmental and community issues across the United States. Most recently, Kate has turned her focus to the management of landfill and animal waste RNG projects, managing the overall complex intersection of environmental attributes with project execution and public outreach. Kate currently resides within the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

View Kate's Statement

With my technical background in environmental resource fieldwork, project management, and community outreach, I would bring a practical, hands-on natural resources perspective to the ABC board. I have a passion and enthusiasm for renewable energy and am excited to contribute time and energy towards the representation of the industry through ABC. I would very much like to have the opportunity to support ABC in expanding the knowledge and understanding of the breadth of RNG benefits to government representatives, members of the energy industry and the local communities in which these projects serve.

Lauren Toretta

President

CH4 Biogas

View Lauren's Bio

Lauren is President and a partner of CH4 Biogas, a leader in bringing proven, clean energy biogas solutions to the United States.  At CH4, Lauren has a wide range of responsibilities, including managing corporate strategy and operations. Lauren is leading the CH4 Biogas focus on working with the agricultural and food & beverages sectors to provide environmental waste and renewable energy solutions. Starting almost ten years ago, Lauren led financing and business development for the company on its growth trajectory. As a result of those efforts, CH4 Biogas has multiple operating biogas facilities and several facilities in development with attention on future projects in the Northeast and Midwest.  In her role, Lauren has also been very involved with the development of the industry through policy by helping to build awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of anaerobic digestion.  

Prior to joining CH4 Biogas, Lauren spent close to twenty years in sales and strategy roles for industrial and environmental companies. The bulk of this time was spent in sales and marketing for GE’s Industrial division and strategy consulting with McKinsey & Co as a manager.  Lauren has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Harvard College in Environmental Science and Public Policy, where she graduated magna cum laude.

 

View Lauren's Statement

Lauren brings the practical experience of starting a biogas business to the Board and being part of the business and industry as they have evolved.  She understands the daily operations of owning and operating biogas facilities and has a vision for where the industry can and needs to go.  She is an avid believer in the higher, more efficient use of our nation’s resources, the reduction of carbon footprint and the need for economic and environmental sustainability in the food and agricultural space.   She believes there is an important role for ABC in creating and shaping the biogas industry in the USA and Lauren can offer her entrepreneurial experience, broad network, and political know-how to the Board to help achieve these goals.

Mark Simms

Utilities Director

City of Sioux City

View Mark's Bio

Mark Simms currently serves as the Utilities Director for the City of Sioux City, Iowa. He oversees 4 divisions with about 85 full-time personnel who provide water production and distribution, municipal and industrial wastewater collection and treatment, stormwater, solid waste and recycling, and various administrative services. He is a Responsible Corporate Officer (RCO) for Iowa’s second RNG facility. The service population is 105,000, providing reginal wastewater services for 5 communities in 3 midwestern states. There are in excess of 30 industrial contributors to the wastewater system, mostly food production facilities.

Mark has a BS in Business Administration and had previously served as a Program Chair for Iowa’s largest Community College, writing curriculum, recruiting and instructing students as they pursued a 2-year college degree in the water or wastewater profession. He also was the founder and owner of an operations consulting company for 13 years that provided training and consulting services for municipalities and industries in there midwestern states. He has over 40 years of wastewater treatment experience and has operated several anaerobic digesters during that time. He is well-acquainted with operator certification programs for the water and wastewater profession and feels he can lend a hand in ABC’s Operator Certification Programs. He has been a presenter and an instructor at a number of state and national conferences, having taught in excess of 3,000 operators.

Mark has been married for 39 years and has 15 grandchildren.

View Mark's Statement

With the years of operational and troubleshooting experience I have, in addition to the operator training and development that I have done for operators who are seeking state certification, and the involvement I have had in the selection, design, construction, startup, and operations of a RNG facility selling pipeline quality NG to the national grid, I feel that I could contribute to the goals and objectives of ABC, providing valued service to its members.

Max Vernier

Head of Bioenergy Finance 

Live Oak Bank

View Max's Bio

Max Vernier is the head of Bioenergy Finance at Live Oak Bank on the Energy & Infrastructure team. The team has deployed over $1B in debt financing for small-scale distributed energy generation and energy efficiency since 2016 across solar, PV + storage, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, leachate management, landfill gas to energy, anaerobic digesters and biogas, composting facilities, small scale biorefineries, and biobased product manufacturing. Live Oak is the largest SBA and USDA Rural Development lender in the U.S. by volume of originations.

 

View Max's Statement

My personal career goal is to accelerate the shift to sustainability in the U.S. by unlocking resources and accessing capital in emerging markets that center around the circular economy and zero waste solutions. As a Board member of ABC I would seek to advance policy and legislation surrounding conversion of organics into energy and fuel, both in carbon trading markets and from the perspective of independent power producers. My experience in finance will help frame realistic outcomes that may attract more capital to the space in order to further accelerate the shift. I also have specific expertise with the USDA and Farm Bill. As the largest USDA lender and SBA lender in the U.S., Live Oak Bank routinely works with legislators at a state and federal level, advocating for bipartisan solutions to create jobs, stimulate the economy, invest in rural and underserved communities, all while keeping the environment at the front of the conversation. I have a personal interest in working on initiatives related to USDA, NRCS, Farm Bill, Small Business Administration energy programs, DOE, and expanding other types of federal programs that make affordable capital available to project owners and public private partnerships around the country.

Sirisha Chada

Senior Project Manager

Bartlett and West

View Sirisha's Bio

Sirisha is a senior project manager for Bartlett & West. She provides expertise in structuring and managing renewable natural gas projects related to waste-to-energy conversion facilities. Sirisha is committed to providing innovative and solutions-oriented approaches that put the customer first.

She has extensive experience in Chemical, Biotech and Petrochemical industries managing multimillion dollar projects and programs that directly impacts the bottom line. Her previous experience includes the areas of R&D, design, project management and program management. She is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 15 years of experience.

Prior to joining Bartlett & West, Sirisha started her trading and consulting company Indian LLC based out of Houston, TX before moving to China and setting up an affiliate company in Shanghai, China, whose primary focus was trading chemicals. Also, she has cloned genes at the esteemed Oak Ridge National Laboratory, built chemical plants at Bayer and managed an energy portfolio at TPC Group that exceeded $100 million.

Sirisha believes we need more women in leadership roles to build a better tomorrow and is a past board member of Her Century, an organization aimed at mentoring women. She also believes that technology has an immense potential to solve many of the challenges facing our world today and is passionate and committed to contribute to various communities either by building new ones from scratch or helping existing ones thrive.

She has lived and worked in US and China, and hails from India.

View Sirisha's Statement

RNG is an important element in the slate of solutions available for mitigating the impending climate crisis. However, from my own experience, RNG is not widely known beyond the niche industry personnel working on either the technologies or RNG projects. If elected to be a board member of the American Biogas Council, I will work to help bring more general awareness to the public and policymakers regarding RNG. Another critical element that I would like to emphasize on is to build these RNG projects with safety and quality by design. The adoption of safety and quality standards by the project developers needs to be more consistent to ensure RNG is a sustainable solution in the long run.

Tanja Vujic

Director of Biogas Strategy

Duke University

View Tanja's Bio

Tanja is the Director of Biogas Strategy at Duke University and holds an appointment at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University as an Assistant Professor of the Practice.  Tanja, a lawyer by training, has over 20 years of experience in the environmental, renewable energy, climate and agricultural policy arenas, and has become a leading national expert on biogas development and market opportunities. 

 

Since 2005, Tanja has played a key role in developing North Carolina’s biogas resources, with a primary focus on North Carolina’s swine waste feedstocks.  In 2009, Duke University recruited Tanja to create the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative (DCOI), which was the first – and remains a leading – university-based carbon offsets development program.  At DCOI, Tanja prioritized carbon offsets from livestock methane projects and spearheaded a diverse partnership to build the first swine waste-to-energy system in the state to generate renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets while meeting the state’s stringent environmental performance standards for new and expanding farms.  Using lessons learned from the system and recognizing new applications for biogas, Tanja co-led a groundbreaking geospatial and economic analysis that now serves as a roadmap for swine biogas project development in the state.  In 2016, Tanja returned to Duke University to become its first director of biogas strategy, which requires her to undertake a variety of roles to build a supply of renewable natural gas for Duke.  While running Duke’s biogas development efforts, Tanja also participates in research projects through her adjunct appointment with the Nicholas School of the Environment, which currently includes an analysis of North Carolina’s biogas resources and recommendations for expanding their development.  In 2019 Tanja was named a BioCycle Trailblazer by BioCycle Magazine for her efforts in establishing North Carolina’s biogas resources.    

In addition to her biogas-focused work, Tanja is heavily involved in natural climate solutions policy development, including efforts to identify ways to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets via agriculture, forest and other rural land-related carbon mitigation and sequestration practices.  As part of her natural climate solutions work, she is often relied upon to provide expert advice on expansion of anaerobic digestion projects and biogas incentives, some of which is reflected in the June 2020 report from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Rural Investment: Building a Natural Climate Solutions Policy Agenda that Works for Rural America and the Climate, of which she is a co-author.  Tanja also serves as the vice chair of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas’ Education and Research Advisory Board, where she has focused on building the scientific and economic case for increased use of RNG and addressing misconceptions about biogas that might inhibit enabling policies.  Tanja also serves on the Board of Advisors of SustainRNG, a dairy-focused biogas development venture. Earlier in the year, Tanja started her own consulting firm, WasteNot Strategies, LLC, through which she helps entities explore and implement the use of biogas and RNG to meet their renewable energy and climate neutrality commitments.   

View Tanja's Statement

I am honored to have been nominated to run for a seat on ABC’s Board of Directors.  If elected, I would work to assist the ABC in building public awareness and support for biogas, particularly as a renewable energy resource option, a climate mitigation strategy and waste management method, and increasing incentives for biogas development, such as by expanding renewable natural gas and renewable fuel standards, adding an e-RIN pathway to the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and strengthening USDA’s capacity to promote and support biogas development from agricultural feedstocks.  In addition, I would seek to help the ABC in addressing persistent barriers to biogas development, such as addressing common misconceptions about biogas, and opening more pathways, both physical and policy-oriented, by which developers can move biogas to markets and end-users.        

Tanya Peacock

Public Policy and Planning Manager

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)

View Tanya's Bio

Tanya Peacock has extensive experience in energy and environmental policy development. In her current role managing the Public Policy and Planning team for Southern California Gas Company, Peacock is responsible for federal, state, and local legislative analysis, local and regional planning, development of outreach and communications strategies, and climate and renewable gas policy development, with a focus on hydrogen.

In previous roles at SoCalGas, she managed Cap and Trade policy development and implementation, led the rate design group, managed participation in interstate pipeline rate cases at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and developed energy efficiency programs.

Ms. Peacock is on the Boards of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters, the California Hydrogen Business Council (Chair of Advocacy and Chair of Pipeline Injection and Gas System Integration Committees) and MoveLA. Ms. Peacock is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the LA regional chapter of the State’s Assessment of Climate Change Impacts.  Ms. Peacock holds a B.A. from Mills College and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University.

View Tanya's Statement

If elected I would focus on policies and programs to support the use of biomethane in stationary end uses, specifically for building decarbonization, hard to decarbonize industrial sectors, and distributed generation, with a focus on fuel cells and microgrids. I would also work on building support for directed biomethane and book and claim methodologies to expand the use of biomethane nationwide. And I would focus on education and outreach efforts to broaden understanding about the environmental benefits of biogas.

FAQs

  1. Who’s on the ABC Board now?
    www.americanbiogascouncil.org/about/leadership
  2. How many seats are up for election?
    Seven – There are 13 elected positions total with seven up for election this year. ABC has 23 Directors overall: 13 elected, 3 ex-officio (Executive Director Patrick Serfass, ABC Treasurer Melissa VanOrnum, and Director Emeritus Nora Goldstein), and 7 Sustaining Members. Sustaining Members receive an automatic Board position for any year their membership is in good standing. Your organization can upgrade to Sustaining Membership at any time, skip the election, and join the Board immediately. Interested? Please email Patrick Serfass ([email protected]) if you’d like to know more about Sustaining Membership. 
  3. Whose terms are ending?
    • Paul Greene, Montrose Environmental Group
    • Craig Frear, Regenis
    • Jessica Linville-LeRoy, Mendota Agri-Products
    • Amy McCrae Kessler, Independent
    • Bryan Sievers, AgriReNew
    • Lauren Toretta, CH4 Biogas
    • 1 vacant seat
  4. What are the main responsibilities of Directors?
    • Please refer to page 5 of the ABC bylaws.
    • Attend Board meetings. The Board generally meets monthly–11 times a year by conference call for 90 minutes, and once a year in-person. It is unknown if the next two-year term will have any in-person meetings, but in-person meetings are usually in conjunction with the ABC Fly-in in Washington, DC. 
    • Directors are expected to take a leadership position in a Council program (existing or new) and to help engage the rest of the membership to participate and support the activities of the ABC which are designed to grow the biogas industry.
  5. How long are the terms for Directors?
    With the exception of Sustaining Members, Director terms are two years, but Directors may be re-elected for additional 2-year terms without limit.
  6. Are there term limits?
    No director may be elected for a term longer than two years, but Directors may be re-elected for additional 2-year terms without limit.
  7. How do I nominate someone? May I nominate myself?
    Simply email their name, company, and email address to [email protected]. You may nominate yourself if you wish!
  8. Is there a Nominating Committee?
    Yes. The ABC bylaws call for a Nominating Committee to be established in order to ensure a full slate of candidates is available to the members when voting and to help identify strong candidates to run for the Board. The open nominating process will continue and the existence of the Nominating Committee should not discourage any member from running. The combination of the open process and the Nominating Committee should result in the best possible slate of potential Directors for members to choose from when you vote next month.

If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to your participation and please don’t forget to vote!