Board of Directors
Bernie Sheff, PE
Amy McCrae Kessler
Director of Policy
Bernie Sheff, Vice President of Engineering, Montrose Environmental Group, Inc.
Bernie Sheff holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University. He has been a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan since 1988 and is also registered in the states of Massachusetts, Ohio and Indiana. He started his career with STS Consultants (STS) in 1984 as an assistant project engineer. He became the VP of the Michigan region for STS and completed his first digestion project as part of a 1 MGD wastewater treatment facility in 1991. This facility a large beef abattoir in SW Michigan was one of many projects in the animal processing arena including systems at duck, chicken and hog operations.
Since early 2000 he has focused on nutrient recovery, sand separation and digestion in the agricultural market, most significantly the dairy industry and the co-digestion of residuals from confined feeding operations and food processing residuals. A 3 year board member, in November of 2014 he was elected as Chairman of the Board of the American Biogas Council.
Lauren Toretta, President, CH4 Biogas
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 in 2012, 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 over fifteen years in sales and strategy roles for industrial and environmental companies. The bulk of this time was spent in sales and marketing for GE Industrial and strategy consulting with McKinsey & Co. 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.
Mark Stoermann, Chief Operating Officer, Newtrient
Before coming to Newtrient, Mark was the Chief Operating Officer for STAR BioEnergy LLC, the anaerobic digestion division of STAR Energy LLC, a company committed to the development of sustainable, renewable energy projects across the country. Mark was previously the Director of Operations for AMP Americas, a company committed to building out CNG infrastructure along the U.S. highway system. As the Project Manager for Fair Oaks Dairy Farms and Select Milk Producers, Mark was responsible for the construction of three anaerobic digesters that processed sand laden dairy manure. These projects included electrical generation, gas cleaning, rCNG as transportation fuel, and nutrient recovery projects.
In addition to the renewable energy industry, Mark has worked in the dairy and food processing industry over the past 35 years holding a variety of project, operations, and material management positions. He worked for Kraft Foods, Michigan Milk Producers, Raskas Cheese Products, ConAgra Foods, Fair Oaks Dairy Farm and Select Milk Producers.
Paul Greene, Director Of Project Development, Montrose Environmental Group
Melissa VanOrnum, Vice President of Marketing, DVO, INc.
Patrick Serfass, Executive Director
Patrick has led the American Biogas Council since early 2010 when he helped 22 companies came together to form the only trade association representing the entire biogas industry in the US. Today, the ABC represents over 200 organizations and has a network of more than 14,000 stakeholders in the biogas industry. Patrick is also a Director on the Board of the World Biogas Association. Beyond biogas, Patrick has over 17 years’ experience growing other clean energy industries, like solar, hydrogen and fuel cells, through the company that manages the ABC, Technology Transition Corporation. In Patrick’s early career he was a physical oceanographer, architectural engineer and designed unmanned, deep-ocean vehicles. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College.
Craig Frear, Director of Research and Technology, Regenis
Over the last decade, Dr. Frear’s research has focused on enhancements to anaerobic digestion, biochemical recovery from waste and development of bio-refinery principles for rural and urban communities.
He holds five patents (with two pending) including an ammonia stripping system to remove ammonia from wastewater without the use of chemicals.
In addition to his research, Dr. Frear is the author of over sixty peer-reviewed publications on methane capture to create biogas and nutrient management to allow liquid from manure to be safely reused. He has also served as an investigator on numerous federal and state grants in the same scientific classifications.
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.
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Brian Langolf, Biodigester Manager and Director of Biogas Systems and Research Development, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Campus
Amy McCrae Kessler, EVP & Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Turning Earth LLC
Prior to launching Turning Earth, Ms. 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. 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.
Ms. Kessler has written about 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. 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. Kessler is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section.
Ms. 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.
Norma McDonald, North American Sales Manager, Organic Waste Systems
Norma’s employment history began with the United States Marine Corps where she served as a Public Affairs Officer- Captain, and continued on to the private sector where she held top management positions at Procter & Gamble, Co. and founded Phase 3 Renewables, LLC. Norma has been with Organic Waste Systems, Inc. since 2009 as the North American Sales Manager. OWS is a global leader and internationally accredited laboratory for compostability, biodegradability and anaerobic digestibility testing services, as well as a technology owner and system provider for proprietary high solids anaerobic digestion of organic wastes and production of renewable energy.
Bob Powell, President and CEO, Brightmark Energy LLC
Bob has customer and technology experience in renewables, cogeneration technologies and energy efficiency. His past experiences include serving as the Chief Financial Officer of Pacific Gas & Electric Company, President of North America and President of Asia Capital Markets at SunEdison, Inc., Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at NRG Renew, President of Solar Power Partners, and as a partner in the energy consulting practices of Arthur Andersen LLP and PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Bob holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.B.A. in finance from the Georgia Institute of Technology .
Randy Beck, Waste Management
Randy Beck is a 35 year career professional, currently at the helm of Waste Management’s Renewable Energy group (WMRE) where his current focus is development of LFG to RNG facilities. Specializing in operations of power generation and gas compression equipment, he spent ten years as WMRE’s Director of Operations with responsibility for 80+ beneficial use projects ranging from LFG to Electricity, LFG to Direct Gas Sales and LFG to RNG. This position brought a strong education in various gas treatment technologies as well as an education in managing 300+ reciprocating engines, 30+ gas turbines and 130+ facility operations personnel. Prior to his career with WMRE, he spent 20 years with Caterpillar and Detroit Diesel/Allison dealers in various operational leadership roles.
Bryan Sievers, Manager, Sievers Family Farm
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 five 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.