4 minutes with… Joe Jobe, CEO, National Biodiesel Board

Source: By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest • Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015

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

NBB is the US trade association representing America’s 1st Advanced Biofuel. We work toward sustainable growth through education, communication, government affairs, technical/quality assurance. Members are feedstock & feedstock processor orgs, biodiesel and renewable hydrocarbon diesel suppliers, fuel marketers, distributors, & technology providers.

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

Our top goal is securing a strong RFS including conservative growth in the RVO. We are also working on extending the biodiesel tax credit and developing sound state policies. We are expanding access to Bioheat fuel, new partnerships with OEMs and much more.

Personally, I have two teenage children, a girl and a boy, and I’™m proud to work toward an advanced bioeconomy to help secure their future. I always know how long I’™ve worked on biodiesel because my daughter was born the same month I started for NBB. She is now a senior in high school and will be in college this time next year. She is proud to drive her little diesel car on biodiesel.

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

The most important milestone is to get the RFS on a sustainable, predictable path for growth as it was intended to be. It has been 7 years since the RFS-2 was passed with a Democratic Congress and a Republican president. The proposed cutbacks and delays in the EPA’s 2014 rulemaking was an unnecessary self-inflicted wound to the program.

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

Policy instability. But perhaps more it would be to eliminate the rhetoric and see regulating bodies use real data to make decisions.

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?  

It is the opportunity to work in an industry that is making a real difference for the country and the world. To borrow a quote from Apple’™s Think Different campaign: the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Where are you from? 

I grew up on a farm in Russellville, Missouri in the Ozark hills. I am very proud of my 5th generation Ozark hillbilly heritage. It gave me a deep appreciation for the land and the woods and the streams and the very hard work and lifestyle of the caretakers of that land.

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

I was part of a unique leadership training program: The Academy University Scholarship Program. It was intense, modeled after military academies but designed for civilian professionals. I began at St. Vincent College in Latrobe,PA & moved with the program to NW Missouri State University. I started as a biology major but later switched to business.

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?

My grandfather, Otto Jobe. He was the best example of everything – from parenting to leadership. He was crippled by polio at age two and lost his mother when he was 10. He helped his father raise his younger brothers. He became a teacher and respected central figure in his rural community. He was the only one for miles with a college education at a time and area where horses still outnumbered cars for transportation. People came to him to prepare their taxes, real estate contracts, or seek his legal or even marital advice. Many times people with a dispute would agree to take it to Ott Jobe to help them settle it because his kindness, fairness, and wisdom was unquestioned. Same for sense of humor, charisma, and storytelling. From the time I can remember until he died, I spent as much time with him as I could. He taught me about business, history, people, and life in ways that are with me every day. A humble gentleman who to me seemed to have stepped down from Mount Rushmore.

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

Simply not to quit.

I agree with Churchill: When you’™re going through hell, keep on going.

The US biodiesel industry has demonstrated that it is one of the most resilient industries ever. Now we are larger, stronger, and more diverse. We are battle-tested, seasoned, and salty. We know adversity. We eat it for breakfast. Then we eat it again for second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, tea, dinner… we ain’t just fresh out of the Shire. We can handle adversity and we will. 20 years from now I predict that we will have prevailed in doing our part to diversify the fuel pool and will have proven that we were the ones on the right side of history.

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

Because I travel so much, when I am not working I spend as much time with family as possible. I love playing sports with my kids. We love boating with the family at our little place on Lake of the Ozarks. We enjoy playing music in a family band called Glass Meatball. I play guitar, harmonica, and vocals.

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

The SAS Survival Guide. A handbook on raft construction. And Uncle John’™s Bathroom Reader Vol #2

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

I am reading The Carbon Rush by former NBB Governing Board member Graham Noyes. I just finished a book by Christopher Hitchens about Thomas Paine. I am also now reading a book by Richard Brookhiser called George Washington on Leadership. My all time favorite book is Team of Rivals, the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Dorris Kerns Goodwin

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

For the holidays if I had it my way, I’™d be holed up at our little place at the Lake of the Ozarks with my wife, son and daughter, and our dog Nash. I’™m proud to be raising the 6th generation of Ozark Hillbillies.