The American Biogas Council is the only national trade association representing the entire biogas industry in the U.S. We represent over 200 companies in all parts of the biogas supply chain who are dedicated to maximizing the production and use of biogas from organic waste. Biogas systems protect our air, water and soil by recycling organic material, like food waste and manure, into renewable energy and soil products. The American Biogas Council is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association based in Washington, DC.
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.
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.
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.
Melissa VanOrnum, Vice President of Marketing, DVO, INc.
Patrick Serfass, Executive Director
Patrick Serfass is Executive Director of the American Biogas Council. Patrick has led the American Biogas Council since it was formed in 2010 when he helped 22 companies come together to form the first and still only trade association representing the entire biogas industry in the US. The ABC now represents over 200 organizations and has a network of more than 14,000 stakeholders in the biogas industry. Patrick has nearly 20 years’ experience growing other clean energy industries, like biogas, solar, and hydrogen, 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.
Peter Ettinger, Bioenergy DevCo
Peter Ettinger is Executive Vice President of BTS BioEnergy, a technology leader in the biological transformation of excess organics typically destined for incineration or already crowded landfills, residues and agricultural by-products and crops into sustainable energy and organic fertilizer. BTS serves industrial and agricultural companies, local cities and counties, the food and composting industry as well as providers and users of renewable energy.
Ettinger has over 20 years of experience in the fields of business, operational development, marketing, and sales. His advisory and implementation work in both public and private companies has resulted in significant operational and financial gains. Peter has taught entrepreneurship and commercialization strategies at Johns Hopkins Medical School and throughout the State of Maryland. His most recent work has been focused on the agricultural field with organically based products aimed at remedies for soil depletion.
Nora Goldstein, Editor, BioCycle
Paul Greene, Director Of Project Development, Montrose Environmental Group
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.
Mike Land, Senior Managing Director, Baker Tilly Capital
Mike has more than 20 years of experience providing financial advisory and private investment banking services to clients, the last 12 years focused exclusively on the energy and infrastructure industry. This includes development support, deal structuring, tax credit monetization, grant procurement, funding placement of both equity and debt and general corporate finance consulting.
Mike assists clients in a wide range of energy sectors including utilities, manufacturers, universities, municipalities and developers. Mike’s scope of assistance typically includes a lead role in the project/transaction, including feasibility, due diligence and project development support, deal structuring and valuation support, identification and sourcing of capital needs, and transaction/funding negotiation and closing support.
Mike was an original founder of Baker Tilly’s Energy and Infrastructure (EIG) practice in late 2007. Since that time, the EIG team has supported over 200 projects that are either built or under construction, ranging from $5 million to $400 million and totalling more than $3.4 billion of construction value. These projects include energy from waste, biomass, wind, solar, hydro and geothermal heating and cooling.
Prior to 2007, Mike advised clients on more than $350 million of completed transactions across a wide variety of industries.
Tom Murray, Vice President of Customers and Communities, Vermont Gas Systems
Thomas Murray currently serves as the Vice President of Customers and Communities for Vermont Gas Systems, overseeing the company’s Energy Service Team and External Relations. Tom is leading the company’s innovation initiatives, which includes becoming the first gas utility in the nation to offer a Renewable Natural Gas program and other decarbonation efforts. In 2020, Tom will serve as the chairman of the American Gas Association’s Sustainability Committee, where he is driving the national effort to incorporate RNG into the supply portfolio of the nation’s gas utilities. Tom also handles legislative, community and key stakeholder relationships for the company. Prior to joining Vermont Gas, Tom served as the state of Vermont’s Chief Information Officer and the Commissioner of Information and Innovation. He has also served as the state’s Deputy Commissioner of the Economic Development. Tom worked in the telecommunications industry for over fifteen years with TDS Telecom and Rural Cellular Corporation. Tom grew up in Montpelier, VT, graduated from Western New England University (BS/BA) and Champlain College (MS).
Brian Langolf, Biogas Program Director, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Brian M. Langolf, M.S. has 10 years of biogas operations, research and laboratory analysis, and interpretation experience. He currently works at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh serving as the Biogas Program Director. This role involves technical oversight of biogas operations, conduct biogas research and provide digester training and consulting services, and internal and external program outreach. This program supports many academic and sustainability programs on campus and in the local community. Brian has been a member of the American Biogas Council (ABC) since 2012 and has currently served one term on the board of directors.
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 .
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.
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.