Bidding farewell to a Biodiesel Ambassador and Iowa DOT legend

By Grant Kimberley | April 03, 2020

This spring marks the end of an era for both the Iowa Department of Transportation and biodiesel industry at large. David May, who served as the department’s fleet manager for two decades, has retired to pursue the next professional and personal chapter in his life.

May stands among the truly early adopters of biodiesel and has become one of its greatest champions. The department has used blends of 5 to 20 percent biodiesel in thousands of its diesel vehicles, without modification, since 1994. Iowa DOT has 900 snowplows alone, including some undergoing a technology upgrade to allow them to use 100 percent biodiesel.

Throughout his career, May has shown a deep appreciation for renewable fuels, grown within our shores with one of our most powerful and innovative resources—American agriculture. His military background helped him understand the connection between energy security and national security.

A veteran of the Gulf War, deployed in 1990 and 1991, May often said, “I saw many burning oil wells while transporting supplies and enemy prisoners. It woke me up to the direct connection between national security and our current dependence on foreign-sourced petroleum.”

It wasn’t just becoming a biodiesel user that made him special to our industry. He grew into a true biodiesel advocate, becoming a Biodiesel Ambassador (a program of the National Biodiesel Board). He mentored other fleets nationwide, served as a spokesman with the media, and represented biodiesel at fleet events throughout the country and even internationally. His deliberate, compelling voice and message made him stand out as an especially effective spokesman.

The Iowa Biodiesel Board was proud to present him with a Lifetime Biodiesel Ambassador and Champion award, on behalf of the entire industry, at our Iowa Biodiesel Day on the Hill event March 4. He will continue to serve as an ambassador, wherever his professional and personal adventures take him, and for that we are grateful.

We wish him well, and the biodiesel industry will never forget his valuable contributions to America’s advanced biofuel.

Author: Grant Kimberley
Executive Director, Iowa Biodiesel Board
[email protected]

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