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
Chair

Lauren Toretta
Vice Chair

Mark Stoermann
Vice Chair

Paul Greene
Secretary

Melissa VanOrnum
Treasurer
(ex officio)

 

Patrick Serfass
Executive Director
(ex officio)

Craig Frear

Caroline Henry

Brian Langolf

 

Amy McCrae Kessler

Norma McDonald

Bob Powell

Randy Beck

 

Bryan Sievers

Bill Tyndall

Nora Goldstein

Peter Ettinger

 

Staff Support

Caroline Peat
Program Manager

 

Maureen Walsh
Director of Policy

Cordelia Pearson
Finance

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Additional staff support provided by TTC Staff and TTC’s Clean Energy Fellows

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
Mark Stoermann is the Chief Operating Officer for Newtrient. Mark came to this position as an outgrowth of his experience with developing and building CNG stations, anaerobic digesters, and the biogas upgrading system at Fair Oaks Farms.

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
Mr. Greene is a nationally known expert in the anaerobic digestion and biogas market. He currently serves as the Director Of Project Development with Montrose Environmental Group. He is currently Secretary and Director of the American Biogas Council, the first and only trade group dedicated to promoting the benefits of anaerobic digestion as a source of clean green renewable energy. He is currently also Chair of the ABC Renewable Natural Gas Committee. He has his BS in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College.
Melissa VanOrnum, Vice President of Marketing, DVO, INc.
Melissa VanOrnum is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a BBA in Accounting. Melissa obtained her CPA license and worked as an auditor at two multinational accounting firms in Minneapolis for five years. She then returned to graduate school and completed the MBA program at Indiana University in 2004, majoring in Marketing and Strategy. Upon graduation, Melissa joined DVO, Inc. (formerly GHD, Inc.), serving as Vice President of Marketing. DVO is the US market leader in anaerobic digester technology, with over 100 operating digesters nationwide, as well as multiple international installations. In addition, Melissa is a founding board member and Treasurer of the American Biogas Council.
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.

Craig Frear, Director of Research and Technology, Regenis
Dr. Craig Frear was recruited earlier this year from Washington State University (WSU) where he was instrumental in developing one of the nation’s most prolific applied science and engineering programs in organic residuals and animal manure treatment for sustainable reuse.

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.

Caroline Henry

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Brian Langolf, Biodigester Manager and Director of Biogas Systems and Research Development, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Campus
I received my Master’s degree in Microbiology in 2004 from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Upon graduation I worked as a research scientist at Kimberly-Clark Corporation from 2004 to 2010 responsible for new product development. I was then hired by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2010 to start up and manage the Environmental Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), a full-service research laboratory that provides a wide range of anaerobic digestion and environmental testing services to clients throughout the US. I joined the UW-Oshkosh Dry Anaerobic Digester project in 2011 as the plant manager responsible for startup. I currently serve as the director of our Biogas Program, which entails technical oversight of our Biogas Systems (3 industrial biogas facilities), development of faculty and student interaction with this program, biogas research, training and consulting. This program supports many academic and sustainability programs on campus and has been instrumental in helping UW-Oshkosh achieve national recognition for our commitment to sustainability. I am also responsible for expansion of our organic diversion efforts with the community and development of value added end products from our remaining digestate. I have been a member of the ABC since 2012 and have served on various committees such as the Digestate Standards and Digester Operator Training working groups.
Amy McCrae Kessler, EVP & Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Turning Earth LLC
Amy McCrae Kessler is EVP, Head of Environmental & Regulatory Affairs and a Founding Member of Turning Earth, LLC. She is a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Biogas Council where she currently serves as Co-Chair of the Council’s Federal Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the Anaerobic Digestion Co-Products Working Group. A Member of the Board since 2010, she served as Vice Chair of the American Biogas Council from 2012-2013 and Co-Chair of the Council’s Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee from 2010-2012, building the ABC’s most popular program from the ground up.

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 McDonald has over twenty five years of international experience in a variety of positions relating to fermentation and biochemicals. Her responsibilities have included: Establishing and managing a company focused on anaerobic digestion of organic residuals; purchasing enzymes and specialty chemicals; managing research, development and commercialization of new chemicals and bioplastics; sales and marketing of laboratory services for compostability and biodegradability testing; sales and marketing of anaerobic digestion systems for organic waste.

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
G. Robert (“Bob”) Powell is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Brightmark Energy, LLC, an energy solutions company focusing on providing innovative energy solutions that deliver significant positive economic and global impacts. Brightmark develops and owns biogas, plastics to fuel, and combined heat and power projects throughout the United States. With over 28 years of industry experience, Bob is passionate about developing groundbreaking energy solutions that deliver both economic and environmental benefits.

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
A descendant 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 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.

Bill Tyndall, Managing Director, Environmental Energy Capital LLC
Coming soon.
Nora Goldstein, Editor, BioCycle
Nora Goldstein is the Editor of BioCycle Magazine and was a founding member of the American Biogas Council. She served on the Board of Directors from 2010-2015 as a Director.
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.

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