NBB In Sight

Expansion of NBB's Washington, D.C., Office: Reinforcements Have Arrived
By Joe Jobe | May 25, 2007
In March 2006, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) launched its Washington, D.C., office. Scott Hughes, who had managed governmental affairs with a focus on state regulations, assumed the role of the Washington, D.C., bureau chief as director of governmental affairs. Alan Weber had also agreed to a year-long tour-of-duty in Washington, D.C., to help make the NBB office launch successful. These two biodiesel all-stars had a full plate in assuming responsibility for the biodiesel industry's many federal legislative and regulatory priorities. With the help of Gordley Associates and Washington Council Ernst & Young (WCEY), there was an impressive set of skills and resources to work together to address the many policy challenges.

Over the course of the past year, this team has done a magnificent job launching the NBB's D.C. shop, and supplementing the industry's contract lobbying efforts and those of our partners such as the American Soybean Association (ASA). However, some major changes are occurring. Weber has recently returned to Missouri after being based in D.C. for a year. Hughes will be returning to his St. Louis home base, and Mark Palmer of Gordley Associates accepted a committee staff role with the House Small Business Committee.

This month, we are announcing the addition of some new members of the biodiesel regulatory team who will be providing some powerful reinforcement to the industry's voice in Washington, D.C. Manning Feraci has accepted the position of vice president of federal affairs and will direct the NBB's Washington, D.C., office. Manning previously served as the chief of staff to Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., along with Rep. Pomeroy, D-N.D., has been the primary champion of biodiesel in the House of Representatives. Manning has served as a House Ways and Means Committee member for over 14 years.

The NBB is also proud to welcome Larry Schafer to the regulatory team. Schafer, of Diamond Group LLC, has joined the team during this very critical time of the 110th Congress, providing immediate additional resources to the industry's effort. He has a strong history in renewable fuels issues, having served in legal and legislative counsel roles for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the Renewable Fuels Association and Rep. Pomeroy. Schafer was instrumental in helping engineer, pass and implement the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and the renewable fuels standard in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

As director of governmental affairs, Hughes will continue to serve in the NBB's Washington, D.C., office through the end of the summer, at which point he will transition into focusing on the growing level of state regulatory and legislative activities associated with biodiesel.

Andrew Brandt of consulting firm Marc-IV also serves as policy support analyst in the NBB's D.C., office. Prior to joining Marc-IV, he worked on the Washington, D.C., staff of U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.

This announcement represents the conclusion of an eight-month recruiting effort. Although it took more time than we had hoped, Hughes and I are elated at the results. Feraci and Schafer are the best two candidates we could have possibly hoped for, and they will make an extraordinarily skilled and effective team in Washington, D.C.

Here are the other biodiesel troops in D.C.:

Gordley Associates is a government relations firm specializing in legislation and regulatory policies affecting agriculture and related industries. It has a successful, long-standing relationship with the ASA, NBB and the biodiesel industry. Gordley Associates has been at the center of biodiesel policy efforts since the NBB's beginning.

Founder John Gordley has extensive experience working in the legislative and executive branches of government. Gordley's areas of expertise include farm policy, agricultural trade policy and biotechnology. He has played a major role in every national farm bill since 1981.

Tom Hance recently took on responsibilities previously overseen by Palmer. He will handle a portfolio that includes biodiesel, conservation and transportation issues. Most recently, Hance served as the federal policy director and head of the Washington (D.C.) Office for Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode Jr., R-Va., who served on the House Agriculture and Appropriations committees.

Janet Kopenhaver, president of Eye (on Washington LLC,) has over 20 years of experience in the governmental relations field. Kopenhaver has been serving as the federal regulatory consultant to the NBB for over three years. In this capacity, she closely monitors proposed federal agency regulations and grant programs for their impact on the biodiesel industry.

WCEY is a legislative and regulatory advocacy services firm specializing in tax, budget, energy and environment issues.

Tim Urban is a partner with WCEY. Urban's areas of expertise include tax and budget issues. He has been advising the biodiesel regulatory team since the beginning of the biodiesel tax credit campaign in 2002. He also has extensive experience in this field, having worked for the tax-writing authority in the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee.

Tara Bradshaw provides clients with integrated communications, media relations and government affairs strategies. She has a strong background in tax policy, budgets, economic policy and health care issues.

Karen Coble Edwards heads KCE Public Affairs Associates, which will continue to provide public affairs services to the NBB from Washington, D.C. Since 2000, Edwards and Melissa Narins have provided public, government and media relations counsel to the NBB.

The reinforcements are here, but we've retained the wisdom of our original commanders. We feel new ammunition is forthcoming in many of our efforts in the nation's capitol, and we are ready to put it to use.


Joe Jobe
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