Business Briefs

By Anna Simet | July 11, 2017

Uzelac hires vice president, general manager
Uzelac Industries Inc., manufacturer of design-build rotary drying systems, is pleased to announce the hiring of Mike Hobbs as vice president and general manager.
Before joining Uzelac, Hobbs served as operations manager at Rockwell Automation. He began his career at Siemens, where he held engineering, project management, sales and management roles. He later served as general manager at Avanti Wind Systems. A Wisconsin native, Mike graduated with honors from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology. He is a LEED-accredited professional and a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin.

Aries Clean Energy hires Witt, Gardner 
Mark N. Witt has joined Aries Clean Energy’s executive management team as chief financial officer, bringing more than 35 years of experience in the industry. Witt spent 10 years helping formulate financing and growth solutions for multiple companies as founder and president of Commercial Energy Services in Houston, Texas.  Prior experience includes financial management positions at British Petroleum, Goldman Sachs and KPMG. 

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Witt also completed the investment management program at the London Business School, and the executive program at the University of Virginia. He has served on the board of directors for Green Biologics, K3 Oil & Gas, Mainland Resources, Virginia Gas Company and BP Federal Credit Union.

Also joining Aries Clean Energy is Ben Gardner, who will serve as vice president of engineering, directing all efforts in design, construction and operations, as well as the company’s ongoing research and development programs.

Gardner, recently a consultant to several energy companies, provides Aries with almost 20 years of progressive engineering, project management, project controls, commissioning/startup and plant manager experience. His career path in the power and chemical industries includes Southern Company Services, Range Fuels, and RTI International. As an independent resource, he has worked on the technical and management teams at such industry pioneers as Agilyx Corp., Sundrop Fuels and Brightleaf Power.

ABFA salutes first chairman, founding member on retirement
Following many years of service to the biofuels industry as the first chairman of the Advanced Biofuels Association and CEO of Virent, Lee Edwards retired, effective April 30.

One of the founding members of ABFA, Edwards joined the association in 2008. Edwards brought with him 25 years of global energy experience at BP, including his roles as CEO of BP Solar, president of BP Pipelines, North America, chief information officer for Downstream, and vice president of BP Global Brand.

Virent has named Stacey Orlandi as CEO following Edwards’s departure. Most recently, she was vice president of technology for Novel Processes and New Energies at Royal Dutch Shell, and previously with BP, where she held numerous roles, including Cherry Point Refinery manager, refining technology development manager and refining supply manager.

Lignetics Acquires Marth Companies
Lignetics Inc. has acquired Marth Companies, including its wood pellet manufacturing plants in Marathon, Athens, and Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and Marth Transportation trucking assets. Lignetics is the largest residential wood pellet manufacturing company in the U.S., now having a production capacity of approximately 650,000 tons annually. The company has nine plant locations in Maine, Oregon, Idaho, West Virginia, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Former UK energy minister joins REA board
Baroness Verma, former U.K. energy minister, has joined the Renewable Energy Association as an independent nonexecutive board member, looking at the strategic role of renewables and clean tech in the U.K. and trade opportunities for British services and manufacturing in emerging markets.

As energy minister during the coalition government, Verma took the Energy Act 2013 through the Lords, before becoming minister at the U.K. Department for International Development in 2015, with responsibilities that included climate and environment.