PBPC2024: Circular Solutions explored the innovations, business models, and policies influencing the entire lifecycle of bioproducts in the promotion of a more circular economy.  Attendees heard from, and networked with, industry leaders, policymakers, brands, and experts through panels, keynotes, networking sessions, and more

Closing Speaker

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen

Jim Pillen

Governor of Nebraska

Governor Jim Pillen was sworn in as Nebraska’s 41st Governor on January 5, 2023.

He enters office with the goal of protecting, training, and keeping our kids in Nebraska, cutting taxes, growing agriculture, and defending our commonsense, conservative values.

Governor Pillen grew up on a farm in Platte County, Nebraska, and raised pigs with his father, Dale. He graduated from Lakeview High School.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from UNL and married Suzanne Shreve. Governor Pillen then earned a doctor of veterinary medicine from Kansas State. In 1983, he returned to Nebraska and opened a small animal practice and swine consulting practice.

Governor Pillen and his father, Dale, partnered together, raising 60 sows and 1,200 market hogs on a dirt lot on their home farm. In 1993, Jim started Pillen Family Farms. In 2003, he added DNA Genetics. In 2010, his two oldest children, Sarah and Brock, joined the business.

Pillen Family Farms and DNA Genetics are now a multigenerational family-run business, composed of over 1,100 team members. The family business operates by some basic core beliefs—do what is right, do the best you can, and treat others the way you want to be treated. 

Jim and his wife, Suzanne, have four children, Sarah, Brock, Polly and Izic, and seven grandchildren, William, Halle, Eloise, Henry, Harrison, Ava, and Thomas.

Keynote Speaker

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan Administrator, Rural Business Cooperative Service

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan

Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has served as the Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service since January 2024. From January 2022 through January 2024, she served as USDA’s Rural Development State Director for Illinois. Dirksen Londrigan has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working with community, regional, and state leaders to effect positive change.

Dirksen Londrigan is the Lead for the Illinois Basin Rapid Response Team for the Interagency Working Group (IWG) for Energy Communities. She is a lifelong resident of Springfield, Illinois, and is proud that her family members still own and operate the Centennial farm in Central Illinois where her grandmother was raised. Dirksen Londrigan graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is a former Director at the University of Illinois Springfield.

Nicole Bateman, President, Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County, Illinois

Nicole Bateman

President, Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County, Illinois

Nicole Bateman serves as President of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County, Illinois (EDC). In her role she is responsible for promoting the region's growth through new business developments and expansions. Nicole joined the EDC in 2015 and in her tenure, the breadth of economic and community development initiatives has brought over three billion dollars in constructed and committed developments to Macon County. Serving on the leadership team for the Illinois Fermentation and Agriculture Biomanufacturing Hub (iFAB), Nicole and her colleagues secured a coveted designation as a Regional Tech & Innovation Hub by the United States Economic Development Administration. She additionally manages the Limitless Decatur & Macon County community marketing campaign and the Midwest Inland Port transportation hub marketing efforts. 

Nicole’s experiences include marketing and branding in the private and non-profit sectors, business development, distribution, and communications work. She’s been recognized for her leadership in the community by being named a 20 Under 40 Recipient by the Herald & Review; “5 Local Women Making a Difference” by RE: Decatur; Featured Business Leader in the Business Journal of Central Illinois, and The List: Top Influencers by Now Decatur. She has been involved in the community in many capacities, including the Grow Decatur Leadership Team, Holy Family Catholic Church Pastoral Council, Richland Community College Foundation Chairman and Emeritus, United Way of Mid-Illinois board member, Workforce Investment Solutions board member, Decatur Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, and Illinois Economic Development Association Board of Directors and Membership Chair.  

 She graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications & Education. She moved to Decatur in 2006 and married Mark Bateman, a sixth-generation family business owner of Woare’s Inc., a materials distribution company. They have one son, Michael, and reside in Mt. Zion, Illinois.

K.C. Belitz, Director, Nebraska Department of Economic Development

K.C. Belitz

Director, Nebraska Department of Economic Development

K.C. Belitz is the Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. He was appointed to the position by Governor Jim Pillen in July of 2023.

Prior to joining DED, K.C. served four years as Chief Operating Officer of the Nebraska Community Foundation, working with NCF staff, volunteers, donors, and organizational partners to impact the future of Greater Nebraska. 

Previously, K.C. served as President of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce since 2000.  K.C. is a native of Columbus and a graduate of Columbus High School and Northeast Missouri State Univ. (now Truman University).  He and his wife Colleen are the parents of their daughter Emerson, who is a graduate of UNL and now works for an analyst relations firm.

Aimee Bissell will speak at PBPC2024: Circular Solutions

Aimee Bissell

At-Large Director, Iowa Soybean Association

Aimee Bissell is a female farmer who believes in the lifestyle created by agriculture. She began her career journey in the medical field, working as a Registered Respiratory Therapist for 21 years. In 2014, she hung up her full-time stethoscope to join her husband and two boys on the farm.

Her biggest farm accomplishment to date has been being named one of America’s Best Young Farmers and Ranchers by DTN/The Progressive Farmer in 2020.

Aimee lives in Bedford, Iowa, and participates in the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, and Common Ground Iowa.

Robin J. Bowen is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Plant Based Products Council

Robin J. Bowen

Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Plant Based Products Council

Robin J. Bowen is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Plant Based Products Council (PBPC), a group of organizations working to guide the global economy toward more sustainable and responsible consumer products and packaging through greater use of plant-based materials. Robin manages PBPC’s engagement with federal and state policymakers on legislative and regulatory issues as well as other agriculture, industry, and public policy organizations.

Robin has over 20 years of experience in public policy advocacy and education. Previously, she served as director of federal outreach for a university-based research center, government affairs counsel to an association of alcohol beverage producers, legislative director for an insurance trade association, and senior legislative assistant in the US Senate. In private practice, Robin counseled alcohol beverage producers, importers and retailers. She has developed and managed numerous public policy education programs.

Sea Briganti, Founder & CEO, LOLIWARE, Inc.

Sea F. Briganti

Founder and CEO, LOLIWARE Inc.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Sea F. Briganti is the Founder and CEO of LOLIWARE Inc., an award-winning, seaweed-based materials tech company replacing single-use plastics. A seaweed-based alternative that can replace plastic at scale has the immense potential to positively impact humanity by tackling the triple planetary emergency: plastic pollution, climate crisis, and biodiversity collapse. Moreover, this solution paves the way for a new seaweed-based economy for millions of people to benefit from, especially those living in developing countries.

With her team of master scientists, engineers, & technologists, Sea has demonstrated the capacity to utilize conventional plastic processing methods such as extrusion and injection molding to produce commercially viable, high-performance, compostable, and marine-safe seaweed-based products. LOLIWARE’s first MVP was a seaweed drinking straw launched in the Fall of 2019. Early adopters included Marriott and Pernod Ricard, along with being the official straw of the Emmy Awards and the MoMA. The company now has 9 new products in R&D and organic demand in over 82 countries across 6 continents.

Looking ahead, Sea and the LOLIWARE team are hyper-focused on rapidly obsoleting Big Plastic with seaweed to tackle plastic pollution, improve our ocean’s health, and decarbonize our future. Sea resides near the ocean as much as possible, consumes three different types of algae daily, and believes we can advance humanity towards a plastic-free future.

Alex Buck

Director of Industrial Innovation, Iowa Corn Promotion Board

Dr. Alex Buck is the Director of Industrial Innovation for the Iowa Corn Promotion Board’s biobased chemicals and plastics technologies. Alex directs R&D through process development, patent strategy development and implementation, and commercialization through licensing of all plant-based products. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board represents the interests of corn farmers through the corn checkoff, and the Iowa Corn Growers Association represents more than 7,000 dues-paying farmers and agribusiness people through the development of pro-farm and ag policies.

Max Camateros-Mann is PBPC’s Manager of Sustainability

Max Camateros-Mann

Manager of Sustainability, Plant Based Products Council

Max Camateros-Mann is PBPC’s Manager of Sustainability. In his position, he supports the development and execution of policy regarding sustainability and environmental affairs issues for PBPC.

Prior to joining PBPC, Max served as a Research Assistant for Federal Financial Analytics where his responsibilities included the analysis of bills, proposed rules, and banking agency actions to determine their impact on the financial services industry. He has also worked in research-based positions with GAP Solutions/the Foreign Service Institute, the European Research Coordination Agency (EUREKA), RE-volv, and Bentley Systems.

Max’s passion for sustainability motivated him to volunteer for RE-volv, a revolving fund offering solar power to nonprofits, and participate in an interdisciplinary research project studying the sustainability of Cuba’s agricultural system. Max’s love for agriculture and his proficiency in French led him to volunteer on organic farms in France.

Originally from Maryland, Max is a graduate of American University with bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Economics. While at American, he studied abroad in Belgium and Cuba and worked as an intern for the Corn Refiners Association.

Quentin Connealy, Farmer, Q Connealy Farms

Quentin Connealy

Farmer, Q Connealy Farms

Quentin Connealy is a 5th generation Farmer from Tekamah, Nebraska specializing in corn & soybeans, primarily under irrigation. He attended Dana College, graduating in 2008 with a degree in Interactive Media with an emphasis in business, and a minor in Spanish. Following graduation, he moved back to the family farm working as an employee for two years until he was ready to start farming his own acres. Since then, he has become an active voice in agriculture on social media.

Quentin is intrigued with agriculture technology and using it across the farm to help producers and companies adapt to each other. He also incorporates precision ag technologies to improve farm efficiency. Quentin has become a voice that farmers from across the country watch and rely on through his truthful posts and witty humor. Today he farms in partnership with his mother (Janis), uncle (Ted), wife (Jill), mini farmer #1 (Corbin), and mini farmer #2 (Willa).

Brent Crampton

Director of Partnerships, Hillside Solutions & Soil Dynamics

Brent Crampton is the Director of Partnerships with Hillside Solutions & Soil Dynamics. Hillside is a waste hauling company and Soil Dynamics is the Omaha area’s only industrial composting facility. Both work together to help residential and business customers get access to recycling and composting infrastructure. Brent spends his days helping organizations transition out of the landfilling model and into the coming zero-waste era. Brent will provide his company’s perspective on helping people acclimate to compostable serveware.

Keith Edwards
VP Business Development

Danimer Scientific

Keith Edwards

VP Business Development, Danimer Scientific

As Vice President of Business Development at Danimer Scientific, Keith focuses on growing market opportunities for the company's biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastic.

Keith joined Danimer in 2022 after nearly 18 years with BASF Corporation, where he served as Head of Specialty Polymers leading sales and marketing for packaging and extruded applications of various polymers. Prior to BASF, he served as petrochemical supply director for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, LLC (“CPChem”), a leading polymer and petrochemical product manufacturer jointly owned by Chevron Corporation and Phillips 66. Over his 30-year career, Edwards has vast experience across application and process development, packaging structure innovation, polymer manufacturing, and sales and business development. He is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Leah Ford
Global Marketing & Communications Director


Leah Ford

Global Marketing & Communications Director, NatureWorks

Leah Ford is the Global Marketing & Communications Director for NatureWorks, a world-leading company that invents and manufactures more responsible, high-performing biomaterials and applications under the brand name Ingeo™️.

In the nearly two decades that Leah has been with NatureWorks, she’s seen the market evolve to prioritize materials like Ingeo that are made from annually renewable resources, have a low carbon footprint, and enable new circular pathways in the circular economy. In her current role, Leah oversees global communications, marketing promotions, public relations, branding, and digital marketing across markets.

Leah’s passion for working on sustainable materials stems from her background in the earth sciences where her research focused on rivers and landscape evolution as well as the impacts of climate change on landscapes. In her free time, Leah likes to play pond hockey and spend time outdoors teaching her daughter how to identify the rocks and minerals they find. Leah holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and an Master of Science in Geomorphology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jamaica Gayle

Jamaica Gayle

Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Plant Based Products Council

Jamaica Gayle is the Director of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs at PBPC. In her position, she manages PBPC’s efforts to advance sustainability across plant-based product value chains. Jamaica is also responsible for representing PBPC in a broad range of industry and environmental coalitions focused on sustainability and environmental issues.

Prior to joining PBPC, Jamaica served as the Executive Director of the National Foreign Trade Council’s Global Innovation Forum, a project to elevate small businesses to help foster an inclusive policy landscape. In this role, she led the organization’s work to advance small business exports and sustainable trade initiatives. Jamaica began her career as a coordinator with the National Association of Manufacturers.

Jamaica is also a Women Leaders in Energy and Climate Fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Co-Chair of the Inclusion in Trade programming section of the Association of Women in International Trade. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Originally from Minnesota, Jamaica has a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and sustainable agriculture. She holds the following certificates: Urban Agriculture Certificate, University of District of Columbia; Nature-Based Solutions for Disaster & Climate Resilience Certificate, UN Sustainable Development; Permaculture Design Certificate.

PBPC’s Executive Director, James Glueck

James Glueck

Executive Director, Plant Based Products Council

As PBPC’s Executive Director, James Glueck leads the organization’s advocacy for a shift toward a more circular bioeconomy through greater adoption of renewable, plant-based materials. He works to educate stakeholders on programs and policies that will support the growth of the plant-based products industry, helping to harness its environmental and economic potential to deliver a more sustainable future.

Prior to joining PBPC, James served as Vice President at the Torrey Advisory Group, where he advised and represented clients across the food and agriculture value chain on engaging federal legislative and executive branch officials and stakeholders on policy issues including sustainability, supply chain, health and hunger, research, regulation, and production agriculture.

Previously, James held many positions with the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, including Staff Director and Policy Director where he led teams responsible for oversight, presidential nominations, and bipartisan, bicameral legislative efforts including reauthorization of the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills and COVID-19 emergency relief packages.

James has also worked for Senator Mike Johanns, Bunge North America, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An alumnus of Texas A&M University, Glueck holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural development with a minor in business and a certificate in Spanish.

In his spare time, James enjoys gardening, staying active outdoors, and traveling. He is a sought-after speaker in the food and agriculture sectors.

Florencia Goren, Chief Revenue Officer, Beta Analytic

Florencia Goren

Chief Revenue Officer, Beta Analytic

Florencia Goren, Chief Revenue Officer for Beta Analytic, joined Beta in 2011. Her primary role involves developing a growth strategy for multiple laboratory services. As head of Sales and Marketing, she leads an international group based in various locations and manages global operations. Florencia also leads the regulatory department and works closely with the technical experts for the various Carbon-14 standards. Florencia obtained a Master of Science in Nature, Society & Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford.

Brendan Ihde, Director, Business Development – Chemicals & Feedstocks, Virent, Inc.

Brendan Ihde

Director, Business Development – Chemicals & Feedstocks, Virent, Inc.

Brendan is the Director, Business Development – Chemicals & Feedstocks at Virent, a Madison, Wisconsin, based technology development company in the renewable fuel and chemicals industry. An engineer by background, Brendan spent the majority of his career in the petrochemical industry supporting various consumer and industrial applications. Today, Brendan supports the development and deployment of Virent’s BioForming® process to produce aromatic chemicals supporting global applications in plastics, fibers and films.

Ian Jacobson, President, Eco-Products will speak at PBPC2024: Circular Solutions

Ian Jacobson
President, Eco-Products, PBC

Ian Jacobson is the President of Eco-Products, PBC, a leading provider of environmentally responsible foodservice disposables. With a professional and personal commitment to Zero Waste initiatives, Jacobson brings a broad perspective on national and regional efforts around waste diversion from both the public and private sectors. He also serves as Board Treasurer for Eco-Cycle, a Colorado non-profit focused on innovating, advocating, and implementing Zero Waste solutions. Jacobson lives in Boulder, CO, with his wife and three children.

Gregory Jaffe, Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs, Office of the Secretary, USDA

Gregory Jaffe

Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs, Office of the Secretary, USDA

Gregory Jaffe is the Senior Advisor for Regulatory Affairs in the Office of the Secretary at USDA. In this role, Greg works on a broad portfolio of issues that include bioeconomy, biotechnology, biofuels, pesticides, PFAS, food safety, and scientific research and development.

Before joining USDA, Greg worked for many years at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, where he managed their Biotechnology Project. Earlier in his career, Greg worked for seven years as a Trial Attorney for the US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and for four years as Senior Counsel for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Enforcement Division. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Government from Wesleyan University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Sam Kieffer
Vice President, Public Policy
American Farm Bureau Federation

Sam Kieffer

Vice President, Public Policy, American Farm Bureau Federation

Sam Kieffer serves as the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Vice President, Public Policy. In this role, he leads the AFBF government affairs, advocacy and economics teams in advocating for farmers and ranchers with Congress and the administration.

Kieffer previously served as the Chief Administrative Officer of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, where he led a staff of more than 80 professionals in representing and serving farm and rural families across Pennsylvania. He began his career with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau in 2005 and held several positions within the organization including Regional Organization Director, National Government Relations Director, and Manager of the Government Affairs & Communications Division. Kieffer is also a 12-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, where he served as a logistics officer.

Kieffer grew up on a family grain and beef farm in Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dickinson College, a master’s degree in public administration from Widener University and a master’s degree in business administration from Delaware Valley University. He is also a recipient of FFA’s Honorary American Degree.

John Krohn grows corn and soybeans in northeast Nebraska.

John Krohn

Grower Board Member, Nebraska Corn Board

John Krohn grows corn and soybeans in northeast Nebraska.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in agronomy, John was the production supervisor for a Cargill grain elevator before an opportunity allowed him to join the farm operation full-time. He is the fifth generation to operate his family’s farm. The Krohn family grows corn and soybeans in the Boone County area which includes some land that has been in his family for over 120 years.

John represents District 7 on the Nebraska Corn Board since 2021. He serves on the National Corn Growers Association’s Stewardship action team. Outside of the farm, John serves on the Board of Directors for Country Partners Cooperative and is in a stakeholder group with the Lower Loup Natural Resources District for drought management.

John received the Governor’s Excellence in Agriculture Conservation Award in 2022 and the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts’ Outstanding Water Conservation Award in 2022. John practices sustainable production methods within his operation including being 100% no-till since 2004 and using cover crops for over 12 years. His goal is to continually improve the health of the soil and have as close to zero erosion from his fields as possible.

Steve Kuiper

Farmer, Director, Iowa Corn Growers Association

Steve Kuiper has been farming for over 30 years growing corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in Marion County. He worked in manufacturing at Vermeer for 30 years and holds an associate degree from Indiana Hills Community College.

Steve serves as the Iowa Corn Growers Association Director representing District 8 and as the chair the Research & Business Development Committee.

He has been a part of a local ethanol plant promotion and participates in a local growers group that develops specialty markets and agricultural investments. He also serves on the board of the Marion County Farm Bureau.

Steve enjoys farming and spending time with his wife, Melinda, their children and grandchildren.

Gustavo Lombardi, Director of Business Development, Braskem

Gustavo Lombardi

Director of Business Development, Braskem

Prior to joining Braskem, Gustavo worked for Henkel, leading the industrial adhesives division in Brazil, and worked at the flexible packaging division for Bemis in Brazil.  

Gustavo holds a bachelor’s degree in Polymeric Material Engineering from the University of Sao Carlos in Sao Paulo/Brazil. He furthered his education by obtaining a Business Administration specialization at the University of Berkeley, California.

Mark Remmert, CEO of Green Dot Bioplastics

Mark Remmert

CEO, Green Dot Bioplastics

Mark Remmert is the Chief Executive Officer of Green Dot and serves on the Board of Directors.

Remmert was CEO of Styron Corporation based in Horgen, Switzerland, from its inception in July 2009. Styron was a $5 billion, wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co, and the world leader in its top two products – polystyrene and S/B latex.

In his 30-year career with Dow Chemical, Remmert assumed a variety of commercial and business leadership roles in the United States, Europe, and Asia. For two years prior to Styron, Remmert held the dual roles of global business director for Polycarbonate and Compounds & Blends, and general manager of Dow Fiber Solutions (DFS), also based in Horgen, Switzerland.

From 2001-2007, Remmert served as President, and Chairman of LG-Dow Polycarbonate Ltd., based in Seoul, South Korea. Remmert was responsible for the launch of the new company and guided the company to unprecedented growth. He also served for 10 years on the Board of Directors of Sumitomo Dow Ltd. in Japan, and LG Dow Polycarbonate Ltd., in Korea.

Remmert holds a bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics from the University of Wyoming.

Jason Robinson

CEO, Evoco, Ltd.

Jason Robinson is CEO of Evoco, a global leader in sustainable materials. A pioneer in the industry, he is focused on creating better performing, responsible and ecological products. His expertise in engineering and science has prepared him to charter this new territory and challenge the status quo every step of the way. He is a proud recipient of the Canada's Clean50 Award for his leadership in climate technology and the work him and his team are doing at Evoco. Jason is dedicated to uncovering new approaches in a full 360 view of innovation, he is closing the loop on unsustainability, for good.

Valerie Sarisky-Reed

Director, Bioenergy Technologies Office, Department of Energy (DOE)

Dr. Valerie Sarisky-Reed is the Director of the Bioenergy Technologies Office within DOE.  She oversees efforts to improve performance, lower costs and accelerate market entry of bioenergy technologies.  The Office manages a budget of approximately $280 million annually, working with DOE's national laboratories, academia, and industry to meet aggressive goals that will grow the US bioeconomy. 

She has more than 30 years of experience in addressing energy and environmental issues faced by the United States and globally, including most recently as a lead for the Sustainable Aviation Grand Challenge Team.  The efforts of this team have already increased the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel in this country and has the potential to reduce carbon emissions from aviation travel by 80-90% by 2050. 

Valerie holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgetown University and is a graduate of the Department of Commerce’s Senior Executive Service Career Development Program.

Eric Smith leads government investments in innovation and technology economies

Eric Smith

Tech Hubs Director, U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Commerce

Eric Smith leads government investments in innovation and technology economies through EDA’s Tech Hubs program, which aims to strengthen our economic and national security by enabling the industries of the future to start, grow, and remain in the U.S.

Eric was in-house counsel in fintech before joining government at the Patent and Trademark Office, focusing on wireless technologies. Earlier at EDA, he helped start its first innovation-centric program and improved EDA’s digital infrastructure. At NASA, Eric led digital services as Chief Customer Officer for SBIR/STTR, building software to manage more than $200 million in annual small business R&D.

Eric was (mostly) raised and educated in Indiana, is a member of the New York Bar, and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. He holds a J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in computer science and mathematics from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Diana Thomas
Sustainability Manager

Diana Thomas

Sustainability Manager, BioLogiQ

Diana Thomas is the Sustainability Manager at BioLogiQ and a professional dedicated to circular solutions, food system improvement, and strategic communications. With a comprehensive understanding of system complexities, Diana is committed to overcoming the challenges associated with transitioning away from the linear model of "take, make and dispose," particularly within organics recycling and the interconnected systems of foodservice and product manufacturing.

Drawing from her diverse work experiences, including roles as the Account Manager for CMA, Sustainability Coordinator for Sodexo, and Project Coordinator for Resource Synergy, Diana has honed her skills in systems thinking. She has developed a holistic and pragmatic perspective on responsible waste management and recognizes that achieving a truly circular economy requires coordinated efforts across various sectors.

Alex Truelove, Legislation & Advocacy Manager, Biodegradable Products Institute

Alex Truelove

Legislation & Advocacy Manager, Biodegradable Products Institute

Alex joined BPI in 2022 as the organization’s legislation and advocacy manager, having previously directed U.S. PIRG’s (Public Interest Research Group) zero waste program. He remains passionate about waste reduction, public policy, and working with others to incrementally solve messy environmental problems. Alex has lived in Denver, Colorado since 2017, where he enjoys abandoning recipes in the kitchen, making music with others, and avoiding bears in the wilderness. His favorite author, at the moment, is Isaac Asimov.

Greg Wilson, Founder, HempWood®

Greg Wilson

Founder, HempWood®

HempWood® Founder Greg Wilson says that his passion for nature stems from his upbringing. “I have been blessed to be born into a lineage of outdoorsman. My father and grandfather have taught me to live off the land and the importance of putting mother nature first.” Greg went on to get a degree in civil engineering and left the United States to work in the bamboo flooring mills of Anji, China. During his fourteen-year career, Greg was tasked with researching biomaterials to make hardwood. He tested over 200 plant species using an algorithm he developed in college and discovered HempWood. To date, the HempWood headquarters resides in Murray, Kentucky where operations are focused on carbon negativity, sustainability, and healthy materials. As the first USDA Certified BioPreferred hardwood flooring made in America, Fibonacci, LLC continues to pioneer the way for healthy, sustainable building materials.

Austin Vaillancourt
Manager of Technical Business Develpoment


Austin Vaillancourt

Senior Business Manager of Biofuels and Bioproducts, Verity Carbon Solutions, Gevo

Austin Vaillancourt is a business development professional with 15 years of experience in the renewable fuels and energy space. Since joining Gevo, a next-generation "low-carbon" fuel company focused on the development and commercialization of renewable alternatives to petroleum-based products, Mr. Vaillancourt has held several roles within the business, both technical and otherwise. In his current role as a Senior Business Manager, Mr. Vaillancourt leads the biofuels and bioproducts channel as part of the Verity Carbon Solutions business unit where he works to identify and nurture strategic relationships with partners or potential customers as well as assist in the development of a strong pipeline of new business opportunities through direct or indirect customer contact and prospecting. Prior to joining Gevo, Mr. Vaillancourt held several positions at Southern Research Institute where he served as the Analytical Leader on Fulcrum BioEnergy's pilot-scale process development unit designed to catalytically convert synthesis gas to mixed alcohols. Mr. Vaillancourt has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.