Biodiesel awards thank engineering, trucking, petroleum, firefighting champions

By | March 15, 2007
In addition to saving lives, two firefighters in San Francisco are doing their part to lead their fire department in saving the environment. Brie Mathews and Mike Ferry approached the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) administration two years ago about using a B20 biodiesel blend in the fire vehicles. The biodiesel industry thanked them, and other champions of the nation's fastest-growing renewable fuel, with awards at the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.

"Using biodiesel gives us a glimpse of what I hope is a better future for everyone," said Ferry, who has been with his department for 12 years. "We use 170,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, and all San Francisco municipal fleets combined use over 6 million gallons annually. I am very proud of the role I've played in bettering our local environment through biodiesel's decreased emissions. Biodiesel also offers health benefits to the 1,600 members on our department." He also represents the SFFD on the central working group exploring the citywide use of B20 in San Francisco. Mathews and Ferry, the Inspiration award recipients, began working together when Mathews got the idea to approach the fire department because of her personal biodiesel use.

This marks the fourth year for the annual "Eye on Biodiesel" awards, designed to recognize individuals and groups who have advanced the board's mission of public education and industry growth. Other 2007 awards and winners are:

--Innovation: Gene Hemphill/New Holland Co., manager of North American industry affairs

In 2006, New Holland approved the use of B20 in all of its equipment using New Holland engines. It is the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to announce full support of B20 in all of the diesel engines that it produces. Hemphill is a big reason for New Holland's support; he was advocating its use in the company's equipment almost a decade ago. New Holland has also supported the National Biodiesel Board's (NBB) Biodiesel Alliance recruiting efforts.

--Industry Partnership: Rod Lawrence/Magellan Midstream Partners LP, manager of quality and analytical services

Under Rod Lawrence's direction, Magellan Analytical Laboratories has been closely involved in biodiesel testing and analytical method development for more than 15 years. Lawrence's Magellan lab was the first host of the biodiesel industry's Technical Brainstorming Workshop a decade ago. Lawrence has played a leadership role in developing the industry's BQ-9000 program and ASTM specifications. Biodiesel blends are now available at nine Magellan terminals.

--Impact: Sprague Energy

A progressive Northeastern petroleum distributor has become the first petroleum company in the nation to earn the status of BQ-9000 "certified marketer." The New Hampshire-based energy wholesaler also opened the first rack-blended biodiesel terminal in New York. The terminal stores and supplies 40,000 gallons of pure biodiesel for blending in over-the-road applications and No. 2 heating oil (trademarked Bioheat heating oil) in several states.

--Influence: Bill and Cindy Mack

Bill and Cindy Mack, known and admired by U.S. truckers, have significantly increased the awareness of biodiesel in that large market. Bill Mack, XM Radio's "Satellite Cowboy," and his wife have spoken about biodiesel on their "Open Road" show the past few years. They regularly spend entire shows discussing biodiesel, often with guest Willie Nelson. The Macks also helped the NBB with the launch of the hotline 866-BIODIESEL and the promotion of and

--Pioneer: Jim Gay

The NBB also recognized a long-time supporter of the industry. Jim Gay, a founding member of the original national biodiesel organization, received the "Pioneer Award." Gay, a Rockport, Ill., farmer, was the original vice president and started his service to the industry in 1992.

For the full story on all the award winners, visit
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