Poplar Willow Forum Speakers


Leslie Boby

University of Georgia
Building a Roadmap for the Dual Benefits of Poplar: Updates from AHB and IBSS

Leslie Boby is an Extension Associate with the Southern Regional Extension Forestry office, based at the University of Georgia. Her work includes forestry extension projects focused on bioenergy, forest economics and climate change in the Southeastern United States. Leslie received her Masters Degree in Forest Ecology from the University of Florida’s School of Natural Resources and has a Bachelors degree in biology from the University of Illinois. She has worked for the Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico, conducted fire research in Alaska and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya.


Carrie Brausieck

Snohomish County Conservation District
Working Buffers in Snohomish County: A Model for Improving Ecological Function and Providing a Variety of Harvestable Products Along a Riparian Buffer

Carrie Brausieck is a natural resource planner at the Snohomish County Conservation District who works with the diverse agricultural community on a wide variety of issues. She holds a Masters in Environmental Policy and a Bachelors in Environmental Management. A native of Bellingham, Carrie left the state in 2000 to live and work in New Mexico, Germany, and Virginia where she gained experience in areas such as finance, anthropology, climate change, conservation, environmental security, environmental policy, and sustainability.


Chris Cassidy

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Environmental Policy and Regulations and Government Support

Chris Cassidy is the Acting Chief, Business Specialty Lenders Division, Energy Branch, Rural Development, at the USDA. In addition, Chris is also the Western and Pacific Region Energy Coordinator for USDA. He formerly served as Director of Business and Cooperative Programs for USDA Rural Development and was USDA Renewable Energy Coordinator for Washington State. He has been actively engaged in business, agriculture, and technology development activities for three decades. Chris has served the United States Government, the United Nations, the Cooperative Bank, and the World Bank in management capacities in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. He has also served the indigenous people of the Native American community in economic and agriculture development and remains active in community development activities. Chris has a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in International Agriculture Development.


Daniel Cassidy

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
Environmental Policy and Regulations and Government Support

Dr. Daniel Cassidy is the National Program Leader for Forestry and Bioenergy at the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). At NIFA, Daniel provides leadership for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s “Sustainable Bioenergy Program”, the joint NIFA-DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiative, the Critical Agricultural Materials Program, the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, the Sun Grant Initiative, and the McIntire-Stennis Forestry Research Program.

While in Washington DC, Daniel has served as Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy and Natural Resources in the Office of the Chief Scientist, Deputy Leader for the Forest Service’s Woody Biomass Team, Chair of the Federal Woody Biomass Utilization Group, and Co-Chair of the Hydrogen Task Force. Prior to moving to Washington, Daniel was a Post-Doctorate faculty member at the University of Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Tennessee and a BS in Forestry from Mississippi State.


Tim Eggeman, Ph.D.

ZeaChem
Energy and Other Markets for Poplar and Willow

Dr. Eggeman is the Chief Technology Officer and founder of Zeachem. He is an expert chemical process modeler and is a co-inventor of the ZeaChem process. Prior to founding ZeaChem, Tim was an independent consultant serving clients in the biofuels, syngas and Fischer-Tropsch areas. He was a process development manager at Chronopol, where he supervised a group that developed manufacturing technology to produce biodegradable plastics based on polylactic acid. He also served as the process design engineer with the C.W. Nofsinger Company, where he worked on projects in the pharmaceutical, specialty chemical, corn wet milling, corn dry milling, and petroleum industries. Tim has numerous patents, a Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kansas, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois. He is a licensed professional engineer.


Rick Gustafson, Ph.D.

University of Washington
Going Forward with Poplar and Willow – AHB

Dr. Gustafson is a professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. Rick is the primary investigator for the entire AHB project and co-leads the Sustainability Team. His research focuses on bioresource science and engineering. His lab investigates the development of integrated biorefineries that use biomass to produce a range of products, from commodity fuels to high value food additives. These biorefineries are characterized by having good process economics with minimal environmental impact. His lab uses process simulation as the major tool for process development work. Rick works with colleagues doing fundamental research to integrate state-of-the-art conversion technologies to produce globally optimized processes. Results from the process models are then used in economic assessments to determine financial viability and in life cycle assessments to evaluate the broad environmental impact of candidate process configurations. The process modeling work also extends to developing new methods to measure and control critical unit operations in biorefineries. His lab works with chemists to develop robust probes to measure critical performance variables and developing process control strategies to maximize productivity and product quality. Rick has a B. S. in Wood and Fiber Science and a Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering both from the University of Washington.


Mike Jacobson, Ph.D.

Penn State University
Building Bioenergy Opportunities Through Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Chesapeake Bay Region

Dr. Michael Jacobson is a professor of Forest Resources in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State. Dr. Jacobson carries out extension, research and teaching programs that promote sustainable management of forests and other natural resources. Core activities and interests include forest economics and finance, agroforestry, and bioenergy. He has a significant presence in international activities and teaches forest economics, international forestry, and agroforestry. He currently leads the extension and economics thrusts in the Northeast Woody/Warm-Season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio).


Henriette (Yetta) Jager, Ph.D.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Can Future US Bioenergy Production Coexist with Avian Biodiversity?

Dr. Jager is a senior research scientist in the Aquatic Ecology Group with a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee and affiliation with the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Sciences. Yetta has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications describing her quantitative research to guide conservation of fish and wildlife, while providing society with renewable energy. Her approach to simulating future policies and climate conditions uses applied models that represent realistic features of human-influenced, energy-producing ecosystems. Trained as a conservation biologist, her agent-based and metapopulation models have been used for over 15 years to support recovery of sturgeon, salmon, and eel by evaluating passage options and alternative flow regimes in river networks. She leads a bioenergy project team that has made great strides toward quantifying how sustainably managed bioenergy can improve water quality and biodiversity at regional scales, and she welcomes collaboration with related efforts.


Paul Kennedy

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Environmental Policy and Regulations and Government Support

Paul Kennedy is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist and Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Senior Land Application Specialist. He serves as the regional expert for biosolids, septage, industrial solids management, recycled water use, agronomy, soils science and as a water quality permit writer and compliance specialist for complex municipal and industrial wastewater sources.


Laura Brenner Kimes

Fresh Coast Capital
Scaling Hybrid Poplar Working Landscapes for Phytoremediation and Infrastructure

Laura Brenner Kimes is a social entrepreneur who has dedicated her career to helping build companies and programs that reduce carbon emissions and create resilient communities. She is the co-founder and Director of Ecosystem Services for Fresh Coast Capital based in Chicago, Illinois. Fresh Coast Capital is dedicated to helping cities manage stormwater and revitalize vacant land. The company provides cities with a complete set of turnkey solutions, including “working landscapes” featuring hybrid poplars that operate as green infrastructure on vacant and sometimes contaminated land and public-private financing for multi-strategy, city-scale green infrastructure plans. In her role for Fresh Coast, Laura work with the deal development team to optimize sites for maximum environmental benefit while also considering long-term end uses for an eventual harvest.

Laura has worked for the Biomass Coordinating Council of the American Council On Renewable Energy (a membership organization with over 500 members in the renewable energy and cleantech industry), the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Department of Agriculture. Laura has also worked with utility companies like Southern California Edison and Commonwealth Edison to help meet their state and corporate energy and water efficiency goals.

Laura received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Restoration and Management from the University of Maryland, College Park and her MBA with a concentration in Social Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Website: freshcoastcapital.com


Anne Kinzel

CenUSA Bioenergy
Going Forward with Poplar and Willow – CenUSA

Anne Kinzel is the COO of CenUSA Bioenergy where she helps the trains run on time in this $25 million project devoted to creating a Midwestern regional system for producing advanced transportation fuels and bioproducts derived from perennial grasses grown on land either unsuitable or marginal for row crop production. Prior to joining CenUSA, Anne served as a large trauma center and teaching hospital general counsel and as a health care policy and reform researcher. Anne currently speaks three languages English, French and health policy and is diligently learning ag and bioenergy speak.


Louis Licht, Ph.D.

President/Founder of Ecolotree Inc.
Phytoremediation: Criteria for Successful Designs and Long-Term Operation
Tertiary Year-Round Wastewater Treatment for Small Communities – Looking forward

Lou Licht is founder and president of Ecolotree®, Inc. He has synthesized past work and academic experience into a new field of environmental cleanup called phytoremediation or phyto. Beginning in 1981, he has focused his intellectual and business effort on the practical application of root zones to grow a crop while managing water and regulated pollutants. Having grown up on a family farm in Lowden Iowa, he now manages corn and soybean fields to reduce sediment and nitrate draining to streams.

Since 1990, Ecolotree has designed and installed phytoremediation systems at over 120 sites in 33 states that grow trees. Ecolotree provides the phyto alternative for covering landfills, treating municipal and industrial wastewater, leachate land application, filtering storm water runoff from farms and towns, containing and cleaning shallow polluted groundwater, and redeveloping industrial ‘brown field’ sites.

As acceptance grows for the phyto concept, Ecolotree continues to expand its client base and application portfolio. Though a small company, clients have included: Wisconsin National Guard, US Air Force, Tyco, Waste Management, Republic Waste, Honeywell, Alliant Energy, Southern Co. Energy, Town of Coupeville WA., Port of Morrow OR., American Ordinance, CH2M Hill, KPRG, AECOM, Arcadis G&M, ERM, Stanley Consultants, and Leachate Management Services.

Dr. Licht serves as an adjunct Associate professor at The University of Iowa, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has served as lecturer and instructor for senior design projects at Oregon State University and The University of Iowa. Ecolotree colloaborates with research university faculty to create peer-reviewed phyto science literature dealing with important pollutants including: PCB cleanup from sediments, nitrogen removal from farm drainage and food processing waste water, and treatment of explosive compounds from weapons manufacturing and battlefields.

Website: www.ecolotree.com


Todd Miller

Environmental Management Analyst, City of Springfield, Oregon
Growing Poplar for Reuse Water and Biosolids Management in the Pacific Northwest

Todd Miller is an Environmental Management Analyst for the City of Springfield, Oregon and supports the Eugene/Springfield Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission’s regulatory policy and planning efforts. Todd is developing market prospects for the MWMC’s 400-acre Biocycle Farm hybrid poplar grove, which is used as a land-base for beneficial biosolids use and recycled water irrigation. Todd’s career is in water resources and environmental management.


Elizabeth Guthrie Nichols

North Carolina State University
Poplar Plantations for Water Sustainability in the Southeastern USA

Elizabeth Guthrie Nichols is an Associate Professor in the Environmental Technology and Management Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. She is also associate faculty with the NCSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. She has a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests are focused on contaminant cycling and bioavailability in forest systems. Her key interests are the protection of surface waters and groundwater quality point and non-point sources. Key to this research is the use isotopic tracers to understand water resource use by trees, fate of contaminants in vegetated systems, and the use of trees to monitor and track subsurface contamination. She also manages a research program to integrate biomass/bioenergy production with environmental protection on marginal lands. Current external funds support research for Populus for bioenergy in North Carolina and Sustainable Water for Agriculture (USDA). As an educator, she teaches undergraduate courses in Environmental Monitoring and Analysis, Environmental Forensics, Assessing Lands for Bioenergy, and the Practice of Environmental Technologies, a capstone senior undergraduate course. She teaches a graduate online, distance education course in Environmental Monitoring for NC State’s online Masters of Environmental Assessment. She directs NC States online undergraduate certificate and minor in Renewable Energy Assessment.

Website: https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/blogs/rea/


Mick O’Neill, Ph.D.

New Mexico State University
Poplar Phytoremediation Study at an Abandoned Oil Refinery Site in Northwestern New Mexico

Dr. O’Neill, Professor of Agronomy, New Mexico State University, has worked for over 30 years in the national and international agronomic/agroforestry research and development arena. This work has included stints with CGIAR Centers (ICRAF & ICRISAT), consulting companies, and universities (Arizona, Missouri, NMSU). He has lived/worked in Ghana & Burkina Faso with Peace Corps, and in Mali, Niger, Kenya, Rwanda, India, and Colombia on an assortment of R&D projects. Dr. O’Neill initiated the hybrid poplar research program at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center in Farmington, NM in 2002, based on input from growers and breeders in the Pacific Northwest. This and subsequent work has focused on adaptation and productivity of drip-irrigated hybrid poplar under the stressed environmental and edaphic conditions of the semi-arid Four Corners region, as well as the potential use of hybrid poplar as a phytoremediation species in an oil-contaminated setting. He has also worked closely with GreenWood Resources to provide Populus deltoides and P. fremontii germplasm for the company to assess water-use of these important phreatophytes. Dr. O’Neill continues to look for useful agricultural, environmental and industrial applications of Populus in the Southwest US region.


Nathan Parker, Ph.D.

Arizona State University
Supply Costs and Their Impact on Biorefinery Siting and Sizing

Nathan Parker is an interdisciplinary researcher working to understand the possible futures for alternative transportation fuels and the transition pathways to those futures. He develops simulation models to envision alternative fuels production and distribution systems, as well as to evaluate their cost, economic viability, and environmental impact. He is currently an Assistant Research Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in Transportation Technology and Policy from UC Davis and B.S. in Physics from Wake Forest University.


Tom Platt

City of Missoula, Montana
Energy and Other Markets for Poplar and Willow

Tom Platt manages a hybrid poplar plantation for the City of Missoula, Montana’s Public Works Department. He is a partner in Hybrid Energy Group LLC, a Colorado company formed to bring investment capital to small-scale renewable energy projects. He holds a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and has worked extensively with nonprofit organizations focused on energy and federal land management policy.


Timothy G. Rials

Professor and Director, Forest Products Center and Southeastern Sun Grant Center – University of Tennessee
Going Forward with Poplar and Willow – IBSS

A native of McComb, Mississippi, Tim Rials received his undergraduate degree in Forest Management Science from Mississippi State University in 1980. He then transferred to Virginia Tech where he earned both Masters (1983) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees from the Department of Wood Science and Technology. Tim then joined the faculty at the University of California-Berkeley as assistant professor, conducting research on renewable materials. In 1988, he moved to Louisiana accepting a research scientist position with the USDA-Forest Service, Southern Research Station in Pineville. After 8 years of experimentation around wood-polymer interfacial properties and adhesion, Tim accepted the role of Project Leader of the wood utilization research unit.

Five years later, Tim moved to The University of Tennessee, accepting the position of Professor in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, and Director of the Forest Products Center. At UT, Tim expanded his research into vibrational spectroscopy of wood and related materials while working to coordinate the Forest Products Center’s overall program and vision. In 2005, he assumed the role of director for the Southeast Sun Grant Center, effectively broadening the research effort to consider bioenergy and bio-based products. A fellow in the International Academy of Wood Science and member of the American Chemical Society, Tim continues working today to advance the efficient use of wood and biomass to strengthen the bioeconomy in Tennessee and the Southeast.


Andrew Rodstrom, Ph.D.

GreenWood Resources, Inc.
Woody Biomass and Certification Programs

Dr. R. Andrew Rodstrom is the Plantation Protection & Certification Manager for GreenWood Resources, Inc. Dr. Rodstrom leads the Integrated Pest Management program for the GreenWood Tree Farm Fund in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Rodstrom oversees global certification compliance activities and the global attestation process for all properties. Dr. Rodstrom has 15 years of experience in biological science and research. He holds a Ph.D. in Entomology from Washington State University and a B.S. degree in Biology from Hope College in Holland, MI.


Michael Shell

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Environmental Policy and Regulations and Government Support

Michael Shell is an Economist in the Transportation and Climate Division within the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Michael works on lifecycle analysis of biofuel pathways in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), a program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. EPA’s lifecycle analysis for the RFS2 includes emissions related to feedstock production and transportation, fuel production and distribution, and use of the finished fuel. The results of these analyses are used to determine if the fuel pathways meet the GHG reduction thresholds as required by the Clean Air Act.


Rich Shuren

GreenWood Resources
Dedicated Hybrid Poplar Plantations as a Critical Component of the Supply Chain of Pacific Northwest Refineries

Richard is Director of Tree Improvement Operations at GWR. He began his career with the Crown Zellerbach Company working on conifer forest regeneration projects. In 1983, Richard participated in establishing the first hybrid poplar research plantings near Boardman, OR and later worked in poplar tree improvement. In 2000, he started directing GWR’s Westport, OR Tree Improvement Station, where he oversees a program of hybrid poplar breeding and testing that distributes improved plant material to GWR’s global operations. Richard graduated from Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California in 1976 with a B. S. degree in Forestry.


Bob Simmons

Washington State University
The What, Where and How of Contaminant Removal in Poplar Plantations

Bob Simmons is WSU Extension’s Olympic Region Water Resources Regional Specialist. He has over 23 years of experience in providing community based natural resource stewardship and conservation programs focusing on water quality in the Puget Sound region. Through his work he has developed and provided wide range of outreach programs, including community workshops, factsheets, websites, videos, newspaper articles, and radio programs. He has served as the chairperson of the Washington Governor’s Council on Environmental Education, led the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s PNW Watershed Management Education Program, and currently serves as WSU Extension’s State Water Resources Program Leader.


Jason Smesrud, P.E.

CH2M
Optimizing Poplar Water and Nutrient Use for Water Quality Benefits

Jason Smesrud is a principal agricultural/water resources engineer and serves as the global technology leader for agricultural services at CH2M. His is based in Portland, OR and has worked with several municipalities in Oregon on the development and operation of poplar tree plantations for the beneficial reuse of recycled water and biosolids over the last 20 years. Jason is registered as a Professional Engineer, Certified Professional Soil Scientist, and Certified Water Resources Examiner.


Brian Stanton, Ph.D.

GreenWood Resources, Inc.
Poplars and Willows for Phytoremediation and Land Reclamation

Dr. Stanton is the Chief Science Officer at GWR. He has more than 25 years of experience in poplar genetics and is an internationally recognized expert. His research has produced some of the finest breeding collections of Populus deltoides, Populus trichocarpa, and a variety of Asian Tacamahaca poplar. Brian has overseen hybrid varietal development for poplar commercial tree farms in the U.S. as well as varietal testing in Chile, China, and Europe. Brian is past chair of the Poplar and Willow Working Party for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and the past chair for the Society of American Foresters Genetics and Tree Improvement Working Group. Brian received a B.S. in biology from West Chester State College, an M.S. in forestry from the University of Maine, and a Ph.D. in forest resources from Pennsylvania State University.


Peter Tittman, Ph.D.

UC Berkeley, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Supply Chain Optimization

Dr. Peter Tittmann received his Ph.D in Geography from the University of California, Davis in 2011. Peters research at UC Davis followed two primary lines of interest: application of remote sensing and geospatial tools to biophysical characterization of forests, and modeling forest bioenergy systems. Peter currently works at the Center for Forestry in the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley where he manages the Wood Resources and Forest Biomass Utilization Group which combines applied research in forest bioenergy systems with public education and outreach focused on current and emerging markets and technologies for utilization of biomass residuals from forest products manufacturing and forest management activities.


Patricia Townsend, Ph.D.

Washington State University Extension
Building a Roadmap for the Dual Benefits of Poplar: Updates from AHB and IBSS

Dr. Townsend is a Regional Extension Specialist and Educator at Washington State University. Patricia is playing an active role in strengthening extension network and capacity, developing outreach materials and conducting research on the experience and needs of extension professionals regarding biofuels. She completed her Ph. D at the University of Washington (UW) working closely with local landowners on tropical forest restoration and conservation in Costa Rica. While at UW, Patricia also worked on the environmental impacts of biofuel feedstocks. Currently, she is happy to be providing outreach to build a sustainable biofuel system in the Northwest.


Mark Vander Meer

Watershed Consulting & Bad Goat Forest Products, Missoula, Montana
Energy and Other Markets for Poplar and Willow

Mark Vander Meer assists in the stewardship of the Missoula Hybrid Poplar Plantation. He is a forester, restoration ecologist and soil scientist with Watershed Consulting LLC. This firm specializes in ecologic restoration of damaged lands and waters. His restoration work is aimed at degraded forests and streams, abandon mine sites, and severe disturbance. He manages a native plant nursery. Mark also operates a sawmill and wood shop under the banner of Bad Goat Forest Products. Bad Goat uses the by-product of their forest restoration work to mill rough-cut boards and beams. These products are vertically integrated into their timber-framing endeavors.


Timothy A. Volk, Ph.D.

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Development and Implementation of an Alternative Vegetative Cover System Using Shrub Willows in Central, NY

Timothy A. Volk, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Northeast Woody/warmseason Biomass (NEWBio) Consortium, and Senior Research Associate in the division of Forest and Natural Resource Management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His areas of specialty include management and sustainability of short-rotation forestry, agroforestry, phytoremediation, and international forestry.


Ken Windram

Administrator for the Hayden, Idaho Area Regional Sewer Board
Growing Poplar for Reuse Water and Biosolids Management in the Pacific Northwest

Ken Windram is the Administrator for the Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board in Hayden, Idaho. He has 38-years of experience in wastewater treatment and plant operations from 50,000 gpd to 450 mgd. The Hayden Area Regional Sewer Board owns a 450-acre reuse farm with 250 acres in livestock crops and 55 acres in poplar trees. In addition to reuse water, the livestock crops also receive biosolids. The USDA Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Hayden project site is at located on land at the reuse farm.


Sarah Wurzbacher

Penn State University
Energy and Other Markets for Poplar and Willow

Sarah Wurzbacher is a Penn State Extension educator based in northwestern Pennsylvania who holds degrees in environmental science and forestry. Currently, Sarah co-leads the extension team for the NEWBio Project, a multi-state, USDA-funded initiative dedicated to expanding agricultural biomass energy and bioproducts in the American Northeast. Her areas of interest include biomass feedstocks from forest management as well as perennial grass and short-rotation woody crop systems, especially those grown on marginal or underutilized agricultural land in the region. The extension component of the NEWBio Project provides outreach and linkages between academic, federal, nonprofit, and private industry stakeholders engaged in northeastern bioenergy pursuits.


Colleen Zumpf

Argonne National Laboratory
Changing the Bioenergy Equation with Willow Buffers in the Agricultural Midwest

Colleen Zumpf is a research associate at Argonne National Laboratory, USA. She holds a Master Degree in Environmental Biology (2015, Governors State University, USA) and a Bachelor Degree in Environmental Science and Biology (2012, Monmouth College, USA). Her research includes a focus on water quality and bioenergy production in agricultural landscapes, as well as the evaluation of plant response in water limited environments. Her research interests include land management impacts on ecological systems and community ecological dynamics.