I hope this message finds each and every one of you doing well.
Here is a weekly glimpse of what August 2009 had in store:
August 3 - 7: The week was highlighted by networking opportunities for the NCERC leading to positive public exposure. On Monday August 3, John Caupert (Director) was interviewed for a pod cast by Biofuels Journal. Wednesday August 5, Terry Lash and Steve Ward (Ethanol Plant Research Engineers) were interviewed by the editor of Ethanol Producer Magazine for a feature article that will focus on digital Distributed Control Systems (DCS). Thursday August 6, Steph Regagnon (Asst. Director Commercialization) and Jack Ballinger (Workforce Training Coordinator) hosted collaborative partners on a Greenjobs Initiative Training grant that was awarded to the NCERC via the U.S. Conference of Mayors (Wal-Mart Foundation sponsor)
August 10 - 14: The highlight of the week is best described in the photo seen below…U.S. Congressman John Shimkus presenting the NCERC / SIUE with a check in the amount of $360,000. These dollars will be utilized for collaborative research opportunities conducted by the NCERC and USDA/ARS. In July 2009 the NCERC and USDA/ARS entered into a five year Specific Cooperative Agreement which will allow USDA/ARS scientists, researchers and engineers to conduct collaborative research with the NCERC.
Persons in the photo above, left to right: U.S. Congressman John Shimkus (IL - 19th), John Caupert (Director), Vaughn Vandegrift (Chancellor, SIUE).
August 17 - 21: After 6 - 9 months of relative quiet, the phones are starting to ring again at the NCERC. The calls are coming from prospective industry clientele; perhaps this is a sign of an economic rebound in the biofuels industry. The NCERC is optimistic about landing an industry client interested in conducting "true" Advanced Biofuels trials in the NCERC Pilot Plant. Only time will tell, but things are looking up now!
August 24 - 28: WOW…………nearly too much to summarize in one paragraph, so I will break it into two paragraphs. Another check presentation leads to another photo-op for the NCERC. As can be seen in the photo below, John Caupert (Director) is pictured with St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (middle of photo with pin on lapel) accepting a $550,000 check issued to the St. Patrick Center Project Go! Green. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Conference of Mayors via a sponsorship by the Wal-Mart Foundation. The NCERC will be the recipient of $237,000 of the $550,000 and have the responsibility of conducting a month long series of Biofuels Green Jobs Training.
Persons in the photo above, left to right: Dan Buck (CEO of St. Patrick's Center), John Caupert (Director), Francis Slay (Mayor of St. Louis, MO), Steph Regagnon (Asst. Director, Commercialization NCERC) and Jack Ballinger (Workforce Training Coordinator NCERC).
NOTE: While it is an honor for John Caupert (Director) to appear in the two grant photos above, it should be noted that the two individuals who worked tirelessly on behalf of the NCERC to land this grant are Jack Ballinger and Steph Regagnon. Without Steph's networking contacts in the St. Louis, MO area, the partners in this collaboration would have never come together. Perhaps most important, without the due diligence and attention to detail of Jack Ballinger in organizing a training curriculum, recognized worldwide, this grant would have never come to fruition.
Until next time, have a good, productive and safe month!
Director National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center
Phone: 618-659-6737 Ext 226