The profitability of corn ethanol processing, the costs and benefits of ethanol as a fuel source, the impact of the ethanol boom on rural America and the future of the biofuel industry will be among topics explored at a conference on the economics of ethanol from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the main auditorium of the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the medical school campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
Free and open to the public, the conference kicks off with a keynote address by Mark Stowers, vice president of research and development with POET Energy. Stowers explores the evolution of the ethanol industry in the United States and challenges facing the industry.
Geared for non-technical audiences, the conference also includes sessions on the environmental effects of ethanol production, energy balance with fossil fuels, effects on food prices, subsidy rate relative to oil and gas, and effects on farm production decisions.
Speakers include nationally recognized scholars and business leaders, such as Paul Gallagher, Department of Economics, Iowa State; Douglas Tiffany, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota; Jason Henderson, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City – Omaha Branch; Jerry Taylor, CATO Institute; Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association; and Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri – Columbia.
The program is sponsored by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and two WUSTL research and policy centers: the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy and the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability.
Mike Edgerton is Monsanto’s Technology Lead for Corn Ethanol and Quality Traits. Mike is responsible for supporting the on-going business initiatives in corn quality traits and developing new opportunities in the ethanol and feed markets. Mike holds a Ph.D. in protein engineering and molecular genetics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in molecular biology from UC-San Diego.
Steven M. Fazzari is associate director of the Weidenbaum Center and professor of economics in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. His research explores two main areas: the financial determinants of investment and R&D spending by U.S. firms and the foundations of Keynesian macroeconomics. He has won numerous teaching awards and is especially honored to have received the 2002 Missouri Governor’s award of excellence in university teaching, the 2007 Emerson Award for teaching excellence, and Washington University’s distinguished faculty award, also in 2007. Fazzari received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1982.
Paul W. Gallagher is an associate professor in the economics department at Iowa State University. He has published numerous articles and given dozens of presentations about various aspects of bioenergy markets and industry during the past 10 years. Gallagher received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Minnesota. He teaches courses on policy analysis, agricultural trade and econometrics at Iowa State.
Thomas Garrett is assistant director of the Economic Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His areas of interest are public finance, regional economics and public choice. Garrett received a Ph.D. in economics from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shippensburg University.
Jason Henderson joined the Omaha Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in August 2006 as Branch Executive. In this role, he serves as the Bank’s regional economist and representative in the state of Nebraska. Prior to being promoted into this position, he served as Senior Economist with the Center for the Study of Rural America at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Jason began his second stint at the Bank in 2001 after completing his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University. He has a M.S. degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Central College in Pella, Iowa.
Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes is the MSMC endowed professor of agribusiness strategy and the director of the Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center (EMAC) at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His research, teaching and outreach focus on the economics and policy of agrifood biotechnology and other agribusiness innovations. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Athens, Greece, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Florida.
Seth Meyer is an analyst for the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). He is also research assistant professor within the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. A native of Eastern Iowa, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in community and regional planning and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Iowa State University. He earned his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Himadri Pakrasi is the Director of the International Center for Advanced Renewable Energy and Sustainability (I-CARES) and the George William and Irene Koechig Freiberg Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Pakrasi earned a doctorate in biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1984. He earned a master’s in physics from the University of Calcutta in 1976 and a master’s in biophysics from the University of Rochester in 1980. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Presidency College in Calcutta in 1973.
Martha Schlicher serves as the vice president of technology and business development at GTL Resources plc. In this role she oversees the adoption of smart plant and second-generation technologies at GTL Resources existing ethanol production facility and merger and acquisition activities. Prior to joining GTL, Martha led the successful start up and industry utilization of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center (NCERC). Martha earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Indiana University; a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Max Schulz is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment. His work focuses on the practical application of free-market principles in energy debates at the international, federal, and state levels, with a particular examination of the intersection of energy, the economy, and the environment. He received bachelor’s degree in history from Vanderbilt University.
Mark D. Stowers joined POET in October 2006 as the vice president of research and development. In that capacity, he is responsible for overseeing scientific and technology advancement for the company, including cellulosic ethanol. Stowers came to POET from MBI International in Lansing, Mich., where he has served as president and CEO since 2001. Stowers graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology from North Carolina State University. He completed post-doctoral studies at Cornell University’s Boyce Thompson Institute.
Jerry Taylor is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. As a senior fellow, he challenges the “market failure” critique of free markets as they pertain to energy policy and environmental protection. Under his direction, the Cato Institute has become an influential critic of federal and state environmental policy. Taylor is active on the lecture circuit and one of the most frequently cited experts in energy and environmental policy in the nation.
Douglas Tiffany is a research fellow in applied economics at the University of Minnesota. He works on energy-related topics, including biomass fuels and energy requirements of agricultural production. Collaborating with others he has estimated the economics of using biodiesel to reduce emissions in underground mines, biodiesel production economics, ethanol plant economics, the grain flow patterns of Minnesota, and impacts of the Kyoto Accord on Midwestern agriculture. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics at the University of Minnesota.
Rick Tolman serves as chief executive officer of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), a producer directed trade association headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Tolman was recognized as the 2008 Agribusness Leader of the Year by the National Agri-Marketing Association. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and received his master’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University.
Murray Weidenbaum is honorary chairman of the Weidenbaum Center and Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He is known for his research on economic policy, taxes, government spending, and regulation. In 1981 and 1982, he was President Reagan’s first chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. Earlier, he was the first Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Nixon administration. He is the author of nine books. His latest is “The Competition of Ideas: The World of the Washington Think Tanks” (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2008). He received a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York; a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.