Growth Energy Leadership

Emily Skor, Chief Executive Officer
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Prior to joining Growth Energy, Emily Skor served as the Vice President for Communications of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) and the Executive Director of the CHPA Educational Foundation. At CHPA, a member-based trade association advocating for consumer healthcare products and serving as leader on regulatory and scientific issues for the industry, Skor oversaw public affairs campaigns, integrating strategic communications into legislative campaigns and coordinating ally development. Before joining CHPA in February 2011, Skor served as Senior Vice President at Dezenhall Resources, a nationally recognized crisis communications and issues management firm. For more than a decade, she helped Fortune 500 companies and industry associations manage issues affecting brand confidence and corporate reputation through media, advocacy, coalition building and consumer education campaigns.

Board Co-Chairs

Tom Buis, Co-Chair of Growth Energy
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Tom Buis joined Growth Energy in March 2009 and served as the CEO of the organization until July of 2015. Prior to joining Growth Energy, Buis was elected National Farmers Union’s 13th president. Buis had been with the organization since March 1998, previously serving as vice president of government relations. Buis served for nearly five years as senior agriculture policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. In addition, Buis worked for U.S. Rep. Jim Jontz, D-Ind., for nearly five years as legislative assistant and legislative director. He was also special assistant for agriculture to U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind. Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1987, Buis was a full-time grain and livestock farmer in Putnam and Morgan Counties in West Central Indiana, with brothers Mike and Jeff, who continue to operate the family farm.

Jeff Broin, Chairman and CEO, POET, LLC
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Jeff Broin is the Chairman and CEO of POET, the largest producer of biofuels worldwide. The 28 U.S. plants, designed and constructed by POET, have a combined annual production capacity of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol. Mr. Broin grew the company from one small plant to the current comprehensive network of facilities, and simultaneously founded and built joint management, marketing, research and design companies that continually work with the POET network of plants. POET has also been a pioneer in the area of cellulosic biofuel technology. POET recently built and operates Project Liberty, one of the first cellulosic ethanol plants in the U.S. Mr. Broin has been heavily involved in biofuels advocacy and promotion on both the federal and state levels for more than 25 years.

Board Members

Gen. Wesley K. Clark (Ret.), Wesley K. Clark & Associates
General Wesley K. Clark joined Growth Energy as co-chairman in January 2009. He graduated first in his class at West Point and retired as a four-star general after 38 years in the U.S. Army. General Clark commanded at the battalion, brigade and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions. He finished his career as NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe; during this time, he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing. General Clark serves as Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark Associates, a strategic consulting firm, and participates in a number of international and domestic organizations and corporations.

Steve Bleyl, Executive Vice President – Ethanol Marketing, Green Plains Trade Group
Steve Bleyl joined Green Plains as Executive Vice President – Ethanol Marketing in July 2007. He previously served as Chief Executive Officer of Renewable Products Marketing Group LLC, an ethanol marketing company, building it from a cooperative marketing group of five ethanol plants in one state to seventeen production facilities in seven states. Prior to that, Mr. Bleyl worked for over 20 years in various senior management and executive positions in the fuel industry with Mobil, Phibro and Koch.

Greg Breukelman, President of POET Nutrition, POET, LLC
Greg Breukelman joined POET in January of 2007 as the Senior Vice President of Communications where he has been responsible for POET’s overall communications strategies, branding and public relations. Recently, Mr. Breukelman was named President of POET Nutrition, which markets co-products produced at the 28 POET Biorefineries. These products include POET’s Dakota Gold branded distillers grains and Voila branded corn oil. Additionally, he continues to be involved with POET’s communications strategy and is actively involved in a number of industry initiatives including Prime the Pump and the American Ethanol Steering Committee.

Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO, Richard Childress Racing
Richard Childress is the Chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, a 12-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. A former NASCAR driver himself, Mr. Childress got his start in 1969 and earned 76 top-10 finishes in 285 races before handing over driving duties to Dale Earnhardt in 1981. Together, they established RCR as one of the premier teams in all of motorsports. Mr. Childress is also proprietor of Childress Vineyards, owns Yadkin River Angus, a Black Angus cattle ranch and is an avid outdoorsmen with a strong commitment to wildlife preservation.

Ray Defenbaugh, President and CEO of Big River Resources, LLC
Raymond Defenbaugh is a founding member, President, CEO and Chairman of Big River Resources, LLC, a tristate ethanol organization with facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. In addition to serving as president of Big River Resources Cooperative, he also sits on the board of Absolute Energy, LLC, is a delegate to the U.S. Grains Council, and is a member of The National Grain and Feed Association. Mr. Defenbaugh has farmed, banked and taught vocational agriculture in Illinois, as well co-op development, business plan development and business techniques in Moldova and Russia. He holds a Master's in economics and has been awarded the Prairie Farmer Master Farmer Award.

Kyle Gilley, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs, POET
Kyle Gilley joined POET in July 2012 as the Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs. Mr. Gilley is responsible for developing strategies and managing resources that advance the business objectives of POET and the renewable fuels industry. Prior to joining POET, he held public policy and business development positions for Lennox International, Inc., in Richardson, Tex. Mr. Gilley received his Bachelor of Business Administration, Management from Baylor University.

Mark Marquis, CEO, Marquis Energy, Inc.
Darrell L. “Mark” Marquis has served as a member of the board of managers of Marquis Energy since co-founding it in 2005, and as Chief Executive Officer and President. In addition to co-founding Marquis Energy, Mr. Marquis co-founded Marquis Management and certain other affiliated Marquis entities, which serve an important role in the ethanol production process at the facility. Mr. Marquis has founded and led 11 businesses over 39 years across various ethanol-related sectors such as grain procurement, risk management, logistics, trucking, rail, barge, construction, agriculture, project financing and energy. 

Mitch Miller, CEO, Carbon Green BioEnergy, LLC
Mitch Miller currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director for Carbon Green BioEnergy, LLC and is the President of Iroquois Bio-Energy Company, LLC and Managing Partner of NUVU Fuels. Mr. Miller has had an extensive history in the ethanol industry dating back to 1994. Mr. Miller’s education has been in Process Plant Technology from Bismarck State College and Technical Business Management from Southwest State University in Minnesota.

Dan Sanders, Vice President, Front Range Energy
Dan Sanders is the Vice President of Front Range Energy, an ethanol production facility located in Windsor, Colo. After helping to form Front Range Energy in 2004, Mr. Sanders led the development of the company which started production in mid-2006. He has over 10 years of experience in the ethanol industry and has been active in promoting biofuels through both public relation and educational campaigns in Colorado, and industry advocacy work on Capitol Hill. Mr. Sanders holds a business management degree from Arizona State University.

Rick Schwarck, President, Absolute Energy, LLC
Rick Schwarck was born and raised on a family farm in Mitchell County, Iowa and is still involved in the family farm. Since its inception, Mr. Schwarck has served as the President, Chairman and CEO of Absolute Energy, LLC, an ethanol plant located near St. Ansgar, Iowa. Prior to co-founding Absolute Energy, LLC, Mr. Schwarck had a successful, 30 year financial services career. He was co-owner of The Schwarck Agency, LLC, an insurance and investment firm. Mr. Schwarck was a 30-year member of the National Association of Insurance and Investment Advisors. Mr. Schwarck was a Certified Senior Advisor and Registered Representative of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also serves as Board Member of the Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG), Board Member of the RFA, Governing Board Member of Growth Energy, Director of America’s Renewable Future and is the Secretary of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association; Founder of Further Fuels LLC, and is involved in numerous other activities in support of agriculture and the ethanol industry.

Kip Tom, Managing Member, Tom Farms, LLC
Kip Tom is the Managing Member of Tom Farms, LLC, one of Monsanto’s largest seed producers as well as one of Indiana’s largest grain commodity production businesses. He also serves as President of CereServ Inc. In addition to being active in Agri-Business operations in Indiana for the past 42 years, Mr. Tom has also served as a crop production consultant to various companies in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Today he leads finance, strategy and production operations for Tom Farms and CereServ in the U.S. and Argentina.