To boost lobbying impact, algae trade group moves to D.C., shakes up staff

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014

The algae industry’s trade organization will move to Washington, D.C., and seek out a new executive director, according to an internal email sent to members today.

The Minneapolis-based Algae Biomass Organization will establish its headquarters in the nation’s capital this year “to better participate in policy-related activities and build deeper relationships with agencies,” ABO Chairwoman Margaret McCormick said in the email sent to the organization’s 300 members.

The organization also is saying goodbye to Mary Rosenthal, who has served as its executive director for the last four years. McCormick did not give a reason for Rosenthal’s departure.

“Mary and the board agree that the time is right to take the organization to the next level,” wrote McCormick, who is also CEO of advanced biofuel company Matrix Genetics LLC. “ABO’s board of directors is grateful for Mary’s service and extends to her the very best wishes.”

The Algae Biomass Organization already has begun its search for a new executive director, during which the organization will continue all of its operations, McCormick said.

ABO this year plans to invest in organizational and staff growth and will take a more proactive role in shaping policy discussions about renewable fuels in Washington, D.C., according to the email.

“There’s no doubt 2014 is going to be a crucial year for our industry, and to meet the challenges and best serve our members, the ABO is making some significant changes,” McCormick wrote.

The Algae Biomass Organization’s producers are working to create algae-derived oil that can be converted into transportation fuel, nutrition products and chemicals.

Historically, ABO has remained largely out of the limelight during the battles over renewable fuels policy on Capitol Hill — a purposeful strategy, Rosenthal said in a recent interview.

But producers have recently celebrated several successes in achieving partnerships with major oil companies and scaling up the nation’s first algae production facilities. Late last year, the organization boosted its Washington strength with the resurrection of a congressional algae caucus (Greenwire, Oct. 24, 2013).

Producers are seeking the continuation of the federal renewable fuel standard, recognition as a viable carbon-capture technology and help with startup costs in the form of tax incentives