Leadership is defined in Webster’s dictionary as the following: the office or position of a leader, the capacity to lead, or the act or an instance of leading.
POET has often been described as an industry leader. We’ve been called a “biofuels behemoth,” an “industry powerhouse” and an “ethanol giant” in various instances in the press.
I believe the reason for this is more than the size of our company or the number of gallons we produce; POET has always made every effort to do the right thing — not only for ourselves, but for our industry and the world.
That’s one thing that Webster’s fails to mention: A true leader blazes a trail and invites others to follow rather than leaving them in the dust.
There were many times over the last 30 years that we could have chosen to just take care of ourselves and not the biofuels industry as a whole, but we have always made our best effort to do what was right for both the industry and for agriculture.
I truly believe the results of those actions speak for themselves when you look at the success we’ve encountered to date.
We have had the opportunity to lead not only from a political standpoint — establishing POET PAC, the largest political action committee in the industry — but also by launching several state ethanol trade organizations and helping to initiate Growth Energy, the largest advocacy organization for biofuels and agriculture in the world.
In addition, we have pioneered some of the best technology for bioprocessing in history and created the business model and organizational structure that was adopted by many other ethanol producers. We also established the first successful banking relationships in biofuels, which eventually led to major expansion in the industry.
We created some of the first successful marketing divisions for multiple facilities, the first major research and development division in the history of the industry, and one of the only distillers grain research entities in the world. And now we are leading the way in the creation of cellulosic ethanol technology.
How did we become a leader in this industry? By investing in the greatest talent, cultivating company values, partnering with the right allies, understanding that the success of agriculture is imperative to the success of biofuels, and — perhaps most importantly — upholding our faith even in the toughest of times. In other words, we didn’t do it alone.
Someone once told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” and in our case, that has often been true. We believe it’s a good thing because it has led to the advancement of an industry that is now exporting technology and bioproducts all over the world to clean up our air. We continue to transition fuel production from a process that uses dead, decaying matter that belongs underground to one in which energy is grown from the surface of the earth, where it can truly be in sync with nature and the world around us.
We are proud to have been a part of the origination and growth of this industry, and we believe the best is yet to come. We will continue to do everything we can to maintain a leadership role in driving the future of biofuels and agriculture to create a more sustainable world for future generations.