Board of Directors
AFCC members are able to have a voice in and directly influence legislation affecting the alternative fuels & chemicals industries
General Counsel, AFCC
Mr. Mark Riedy serves as the General Counsel for AFCC, is the co-founder of AFCC, and is a partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP.
Mr. Riedy primarily focuses his practice on U.S and international project development and finance and private placement representation of renewable and conventional energy, clean technology, environmental and infrastructure clients. His clients principally represent developers, lenders, EPCs, O&Ms, equipment providers, private equity, venture capital and infrastructure funds.
In his more than 35 years of practice, Mr. Riedy has represented clients in domestic and international matters, including energy and infrastructure, project development and debt and equity financing contracts, mergers and acquisitions, technology outsourcing, investment fund structuring and related investments therefrom, venture capital and private equity structuring and related contracts, and compliance with regulatory and legislative issues.
He also has represented clients in international disputes before U.S. and foreign agencies, dealing with matters such as anti-dumping, export controls, sanctions, and anti-bribery. Mr. Riedy has counseled renewable and conventional energy clients doing business in more than 50 countries.
Mr. Riedy represents a U.S. company in the project financing of a $7.7 billion natural gas-to-clean jet fuel project with related solar power, pipelines, water desalinization and other infrastructure in the Southwest U.S. As part of this representation, the largest volumetric and longest term biojet offtake agreement has been executed, with three similar agreements in negotiation and drafting.
Head of Government Relations, AFCC
Mr. Robert Harmala serves as head of government relations at AFCC. He is a partner and the director of government relations at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP.
Mr. Harmala focuses his practice on government relations at the federal, state and local levels. Mr. Harmala’s legislative and legal experience spans a diverse array of subject areas including Native American affairs, intellectual property, international relations, cosmetics industry, appropriations, tax, the laws of the European Union, transportation, telecommunications, defense contractors in their relationships with the U.S federal and California state governments, media and advertising.
For 25 years Mr. Harmala has represented clients before legislative and administrative bodies at the federal, state and local levels. Areas of representation include – Native American issues, online gaming, tax, financial services, intellectual property, advertising, telecommunications, and defense/homeland security. Mr. Harmala also has firsthand experience with the laws of the European Union.
Prior to KTS, Mr. Harmala was Counsel to the law firm of Venable, LLP where he represented both his own clients and those of the firm. During this time Mr. Harmala utilized his extensive knowledge and network of contacts in lobbying the US Congress, the California Legislature and Attorney General’s Office, as well as the cities of Washington, DC, Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.
Mr. Harmala has also represented foreign governments, including Taiwan, Turkmenistan, the Netherlands Antilles, Ukraine and India, before the United States Congress and the Executive Branch.
From 1995 until joining Venable in 2001, Mr. Harmala maintained a successful solo lobbying practice splitting time between Washington, DC, Sacramento, Oakland, CA and the Netherlands. During this time he lobbied on behalf of Indian tribes, agribusiness, financial institutions, tobacco and outdoor advertising interests.
Executive Director, AFCC
CJ Evans is the executive director and co-founder of AFCC. Mr. Evans also serves as the managing director of a consulting firm that he formed 15 years ago, American Diversified Energy (ADE), http://www.americandiversified.energy/.
Mr. Evans has built ADE into an effective, well-respected firm with a team of 25+ subject matter experts and a roster of partner companies, such as Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, with expertise in a wide range of biotech fields. The ADE team includes corporate executives, technology developers, engineers from a variety of disciplines, entrepreneurs, financing specialists, marketing experts, strategic planners, publication specialists, project managers, and former senior-level administrators of federal government agencies.
Mr. Evans has over 40 years of experience in the public policy, technology development, project finance, and grant making arenas, working on conservation, agriculture, renewable energy, and advanced fossil fuel issues. He has been at the leading edge of the renewable energy and advanced fossil fuels industries since 2005, helping innovators and companies commercialize new technologies and secure financing.
Mr. Evans has helped clients obtain close to $1 billion from government grants, loan guarantees and project financing. Several projects in which he has been involved were the first commercial deployments of new technologies.
Mr. Evans is a successful (registered) U.S. Congressional lobbyist whose accomplishments include working single-handedly as well as with a group of 20 company CEOs and lawyers to restore $40 billion in loan authority for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Title 17 Loan Guarantee Program in 2018 after the program was eliminated by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriation Committee in their fiscal year 2018 appropriation bills.
It was this experience that led Mr. Evans to reach out to Mr. Riedy and Mr. Harmala to form AFCC.
Mr. Evans has been involved in the approval of local policies and bond issues that provide incentives to private landowners to maintain productive farmland and endangered species habitats, along with model programs to develop “created wetlands” for waste water treatment in lieu of typical wastewater treatment facilities, which have had the added benefits of becoming bird sanctuaries, havens for wildlife, and major tourist attractions for the counties in which they are located.
At the state level, Mr. Evans has been involved in crafting grant programs to attract clean energy projects to the state and land use policies that allow all landowners in an area to benefit from the economic returns generated by development, without creating winners and losers, while using development as the engine to protect high priority habitats and natural areas.
At the federal level, Mr. Evans has been involved in the legislation that created national recreation trails, allowed abandoned railways to be converted to trails (rails-to-trails), strengthened specialty crop programs, created conservation and energy title programs in the Farm Bill, and established grant and loan guarantee programs at USDA and DOE that support the bioeconomy.
Rina Singh, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Policy, AFCC
Dr. Rina Singh serves as Executive Vice President at AFCC. In this role, Dr. Singh manages and directs AFCC’s public policy and advocacy development, educational initiatives, provides regulatory and legislative solutions to companies having leadership in technologies such as feedstock development and/or crop fertilizer booster production, synthesizing renewable chemicals for food ingredients additives, food substances, flavors, fragrances, cosmetic/personal care products, biomatierals/bioplastics, biofuels for both aviation and ground transportation, microbial conversion technology developers, and biobased product producers.
Appointed in 2019, Dr. Singh is serving a three-year term on the ASTM International Board of Directors.
Prior to joining AFCC, Dr. Singh was the Managing Director at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in the Industrial and Environmental Section (IES), where she led renewable chemicals (commodity and specialty) and biobased products, synthetic biology for pharmaceutical intermediates, biofuels, and other downstream applications.
Dr. Singh is well recognized for successfully defining renewable chemicals in the 2014 Farm Bill, which is also incorporated in the 2018 Farm Bill, and opening up standalone renewable chemical facilities to USDA’s loan guarantee program, and her work in introducing renewable chemicals in pending tax legislation such as Master Limited Partnership (MLP), and production / investment tax credit (PTC/ITC) which continues to be used as template for the enactment of state renewable chemicals tax legislation.
Before her work with BIO, Dr. Singh had been with Ashland Inc., working in general management positions in technology and business development, including renewable chemicals and biobased products business development and platform technology manager. She was appointed to a team to develop a new strategic direction for Ashland in their divestiture of $1.5 billion petroleum refining business.
Before Ashland, Dr. Singh was at Dow Chemical, Central Research, where she started her career as senior research chemist in the engineering thermoplastics group. She holds number of patents and has written several technical publications.
Dr. Singh earned her B.Sc. in honors chemistry and her doctorate in natural products (synthetic organic chemistry) from McGill University, where she also completed a post-doctoral degree in polymer science.
AFCC's Governing Board of Directors
Lori Giver, Ph.D.
Dr. Lori Giver, was named Vice President, Research and Development in 2019. She joined Calysta in 2013 as Vice President, Biological Engineering.
Previously, Dr. Giver was with Codexis, Inc., where she held a number of positions including Vice President of Systems Biology, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation, and Manager of Market Development. Prior to Codexis she was head of the Core Technology Group at Maxgyen, Inc.
Dr. Giver has focused her career on the directed evolution of nucleic acids, proteins and organisms. She has chaired a wide variety of conferences in the field including Enzyme Engineering XXI and Applications for Enzyme Technologies 2013. She is an author on numerous scientific publications and over 50 patents and patent applications.
Dr. Giver received a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California-Berkeley and Ph.D. in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology from Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Giver did her post-doctoral research at the California Institute of Technology in the laboratory of Dr. Frances Arnold, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
President & General Counsel, Virent
Mr. Dave Kettner serves as the President for Virent, Inc., a renewable fuels and chemicals company working to commercialize its BioForming technology for the conversion of biomass based feedstocks to drop-in renewable fuels and chemicals.
Mr. Kettner previously served as Virent's VP of Legal and Business Operations and has been responsible for managing its legal affairs since joining the company in early 2007. Mr. Kettner is a licensed patent attorney with extensive years of experience in intellectual property management and other legal matters, including patent prosecution, licensing, enforcement, and strategic planning.
Before joining Virent, Mr. Kettner served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and was as an attorney in private practice. Mr. Kettner holds a JD in Law and BS in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota.
CEO & President, Red Rock Biofuels
Mr. Terry Kulesa, is the co-founder and CEO of Red Rock Biofuels. Mr. Kulesa handles business development, team management and construction and operations. His previous experience included the design, construction and operation of five ethanol plants totaling over $500 million of construction and over $500 million of annual revenues.
Mr. Kulesa has over 20 years’ experience in managing biofuel operations. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Ag-Biosciences (Dairy Manufacturing) from South Dakota State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
CEO, Greeley Green Energy
Mr. Richard J. Nordin, CFA, Managing Director, has over 25 years of experience in project development and private equity capital markets, with extensive experience living and working in the emerging markets of Russia and Eastern Europe.
Mr. Nordin is an Investment Banker registered with Chatsworth Securities LLC, with a deep focus on emerging technologies in the clean-tech, renewables, and infrastructure spaces. He serves as Plasma Development’s Managing Director and will manage the capital campaign, sourcing of key staff, facility development logistics, and development of key sales and service functions.
Mr. Nordin’s previous positions include Managing Partner of Lone Star Ventures, a Moscow based property developer, in which role he raised and deployed nearly $1 Billion in equity and debt capital for over 10 million square feet of industrial developments in Russia and Kazakhstan.
David P. Smoot
CEO, U.S. Advanced Bio-Fuels
Mr. David Smoot has an extensive business background covering almost 45 years. His business career started after an honorable discharge from the US Army Reserves. He then spent 20 years in the micro-computer hardware and software industries in Operations and numerous other senior positions. He then founded the nation’s first “software-only” leasing company which financed transactions involving Fortune 100 companies.
Mr. Smoot then retired to Arizona. After that, he started a real estate infrastructure development company, he turned his sights to renewable energy which morphed into renewable fuels. He started Hawaii Renewable Fuels, LLC in 2014 and U. S. Advanced Bio-Fuels, Inc. in 2016-17.
Mr. Smoot has created a model not seen in this industry to date: a turnkey solution to developing Bio-mass-to-Fuel that is 100% guaranteed with world-class partners, second-generation and proven technologies, fixed “cradle to grave” feed stock, operating and sale of fuel costs, operated by a world-class O&M, all under the umbrella of world-class EPC Wrap.
Mr. Smoot was twice named a regional finalist to Ernst & Young’s and Inc. magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He served on the boards of five well-known charities and is still active in the Prostate-On-Site-Project, POP, which annually does the Legends Golf Tournament held at the Biltmore, with Jerry Colangelo asChairman of the event.
Philipp Stratmann, PhD.
Dr. Philipp Stratmann has over 15 years’ experience primarily in energy, from traditional oil and gas to sustainable and renewable resources. He joined Velocys over 4 years ago and is responsible for leading the commercial project development of biofuels facilities in the USA. He also manages the company’s North American government affairs and corporate development.
Prior to Velocys he was at Acteon Group where he managed a broad range of commercial, operational, and development activities for energy equipment and engineering companies in Africa, the UK, and Germany. Dr. Stratmann holds a Masters degree in Naval Architecture and a Doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Southampton.
Phil Van Trump
CTO, Danimer Scientific
As chief technology officer, Mr. Phil Van Trump manages research & development, product development, regulatory affairs, and intellectual property for Danimer Scientific.
Prior to this role, which he stepped into in 2014, Mr. Van Trump worked in a variety of positions within the company, performing bench-scale to pilot-level research as well as playing an integral role in the procurement of equipment and laboratory personnel to advance the company’s objectives. His undergraduate background in molecular biology and microbiology (BSc University of Central Florida) is supplemented by an MBA from Emory University.
In addition to his education, he brought to Danimer Scientific over a decade of industry experience. Mr. Van Trump’s proficiency in management and scientific insight are a rare combination and are put to use daily as he leads an innovative team of scientists and support personnel in creation of sustainable biopolymer solutions. https://danimerscientific.com
VP, Live Oak Bank
Mr. Max Vernier leads the Bioenergy Lending team in the Energy & Infrastructure division at Live Oak Bank. The team is dedicated to financing renewable energy projects by strategically deploying capital to developers. Target markets include: utility-scale and community solar, battery storage, wind energy, hydroelectric, waste-to-energy, anaerobic digestion, landfill gas, municipal wastewater treatment, agricultural waste management, organic fertilizer, biorefinery, bio-based product manufacturing, and other recycling technologies.
Mr. Vernier joined Live Oak in 2013 after graduating from Washington and Lee University with a B.A., double majoring in Economics and Spanish. He spent his first year in the Business Advisory Group managing a portfolio of 100 small business owners across the country.
In this role, he provided consulting services to borrowers and conducted internal financial reporting and analysis. Mr. Vernier has also spent time as a credit underwriter determining the logistics, structure, quality and soundness of loans. Since 2015, he has been focused on generating new loan opportunities and developing strategic relationships within the renewable energy and biofuel industries. Over the last three years, the Energy & Infrastructure team has funded over $800M in project finance.
Esther Yu, PhD.
Dr. Esther J. Yu is Director of Regulatory Affairs at Zymergen, a technology company that combines machine learning and high through-put laboratory methods to deliver molecules for novel materials and solutions. Dr. Yu has a diverse regulatory background, including expertise in agribusiness, biofuels, chemicals, foods and personal care, which is critical in supporting Zymergen’s activities across multiple industries.
Previously, Dr. Yu worked as an Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs at several start-up companies, helping them obtain US and international authorizations and approvals for commercial product launch. She began her professional career as a research scientist at a biotechnology start-up, which sparked her interest and continuing passion in working with innovative companies.
Dr. Yu has authored numerous publications in scientific journals for her research and regulatory affairs work. She obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Cambridge University and her B.A. in Biology from Johns Hopkins University.
Paul Zorner, Ph.D.
CEO, Locus Agricultural Solutions
Dr. Paul Zorner is CEO of Locus Agricultural Solutions. He focuses on strategy, operations and development. He is an executive and innovator with 40+ years of international experience in science, R&D, operations and administration, holding leadership positions at multiple organizations including Mycogen Corporation, Dow Chemical, BASF and Diversa Corporation.
Dr. Zorner is also Adjunct Professor of Horticulture at North Carolina State University and Associate Editor of the journal Industrial Biotechnology.