4 minutes with… Bill Holmberg, Chairman Emeritus, Biomass & Biofuels American Council On Renawable Energy

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Launching a new effort to work with most of all the associations, organizations, groups and industries affiliated in any way with food, fiber, feed, fertilizers, feedstocks for biochemicals, and fuels from farms and forests

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

Gain increasing recognition of the reality that the U.S. must lead the way in rapidly transitioning to a sustainable use of natural resources. We will initially focus on our transportation system; mostly on the energy used in that system. Again the initial goal is conserving fossil fuels for future generation.

This will help advance other renewable systems to those that depend on the sustainable sun. wind, our hydro and geothermal systems, biomass, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc,

Again, we will initially focus on biomaas and all that it needs in terms of quality soils, adequate supplies of water, education. science, technology, needed capital and political support.

There are millions of Americas involved in these biomass oriented areas. Certain sectors are quite profitable and have major political support. Some are just a fledgling idea.

What is needed is a powerful system that can attract all involved in an honest, productive and sustainable manner.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

Put ethanol and other sustainable forms of transportation fuels on a productive path with the world’s auto industries, environmentalists, businesses and governments with the help of those listed above.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

With the help of those mentioned above, get the Environmental protection Agency to implement the law that requires optimized reduction in the aromatics in gasoline. This has not happened. It therefore needs the massive and coordinated support of people power,

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

The reality that America must lead the way in reducing our use of fossil use through the advance of alternative transportation energy

Where are you from? 

In Washington State where people openly worked with the poor to meet their needs with minimum reliance on the Federal Government.Important during the depression.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

U.S. Naval Academy. Electrical Engineering. My best chance to go to college and get a degree.

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?

Leaders and followers who put the needs of the country and family forefront in their lives. They worked very hard and we all enjoyed a camaraderie that was buoyant and productive.

Admired a great number of people, senior and junior to me. I thankfully was able to avoid people who were not mission oriented, and to develop like-minded friends. This prevailed in the Marine Corps, the government (Selective Service Administration, EPA, Government Energy Office, Government Energy Administration, DOE). And in the private sector.

I learned to admire and learn from people who were good. I also learned from those who were troublesome by understanding the consquences of their of lack of value to the organization, family and themselves

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?  

Take best available council, Embrace corrective action with diligence. If the problem was organizational, fix it. If it was personal, discuss it with whomever is involved. Work toward a solution. If condition worsen, work with it until in becomes too harmful, then move on.

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry? 

Running, walking, bike riding. Keep up with friends and family. Movies, dining out , picnics, dancing, etc. Reading is a big part of my life.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

A good book on the Bible and Religion. History of the World, A digest of all of the technologies pertaining to biomass and its use. Particularly on the edibility of biomass on the island and animals/fish that are avaialbe.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?  

Biographies of famous people like the recent Presidents from Carter to Obama, John Glen, the Write Brothers, Dick Chaney. Patton, etc, I spend at least an hour and a half on news from the internet ( a lot on biomass) Most recent was Dan Carson’s book.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday? 

Washington DC and the surrounding areas from the beaches in Delaware to the mountains in West Virginia.