I hope this message finds each and every one of you doing well.
Here is a weekly glimpse of what May 2009 had in store:
May 1-10: My first "real" vacation since September 2003 and IT WAS GREAT! While the NCERC employees were involved in the middle of the USDA/ARS Pilot Plant trial, I was accumulating 407 emails in my inbox and 90 voicemail messages. So for those still awaiting my return call OR email, I am getting there slowly but surely.
May 11-15: Back to reality and the realization of what percentage of the working day is spent in meetings ... LOTS! Discussions and meetings at the NCERC focused on the area of Workforce Training, in particular a training course titled, "Ethanol Plant Laboratory Fundamentals", which will be offered in September 2009. This unique three day training course will have a combination of classroom training and hands-on applied learning. The NCERC will launch a marketing promotion of the laboratory training at FEW in Denver, CO June 15-18, 2009.
May 18-22: The week was highlighted by visitors that ranged from Abengoa Bioenergy to the Illinois Corn Growers Association to the Brazilian Soybean Association. On Wednesday May 20 the NCERC hosted 35 new employees of the Abengoa Illinois ethanol plant, located outside of Granite City, IL. The 35 visitors included the operations and maintenance teams of Abengoa's newest 88 million gallon ethanol plant, due to come on line fall 2009. Thursday May 21 the NCERC sat down in discussions with Dave Loos, Illinois Corn Growers Association, to discuss research priorities of the ICGA. Friday, May 22, the World Affairs Council was gracious enough to bring representatives of the Brazilian Soybean Association to the NCERC for a visit. We have much more in common with the Brazilians than many may think.
May 25-29: CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN ... ... that is what one does when the Pilot Plant has ran continuous for nearly a month. For all intents and purposes, early indications are the NCERC - USDA/ARS Pilot Plant trial was a success. Perhaps now, more than ever, the working relationship between the NCERC and the USDA/ARS is generating data that will be of crucial importance to the ethanol and DDGS industries for decades to come. -Thursday May 28: The NCERC is the recipient of a $237,000 Workforce Training "Green Jobs" grant. Special recognition is due to Stephanie Regagnon (Director, Commercialization) and Jack Ballinger (Workforce Training Coordinator) for assembling a package deemed worthy enough by the U.S. Conference of Mayors to award the grant to the NCERC. GREAT JOB!
Until next time, have a good, productive and safe month.
National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center
Phone: 618-659-6737 Ext 226