Clean Diesel Agriculture Leaders Forum

Speaker Biographies

Paul Argyropoulos
Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Mr. Argyropoulos joined EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality’s Immediate Office as a Senior Policy Advisor in February of 2006. He is responsible for providing advice and analysis to the Office Director on a broad range of transportation program issues, with a focus on fuels. For the past 6 years, Paul worked for Hart Downstream Energy Services serving as Executive Director of the International Fuel Quality Center, Director of Federal Affairs, and Executive Director of World Refining & Fuels Conferences. Prior to joining Hart, he spent two years as a Fuels Product Associate with the American Petroleum Institute, where he provided regulatory and policy coordination among API Downstream Committees on national and state fuel regulatory and policy issues. From 1980 to 1997, Paul worked for the EPA in several areas of the Agency. However the majority of his time, more than 13 years, was spent in the Office of Mobile Sources supporting development, implementation and enforcement of federal and state regulations, including both fuel quality and vehicle emissions controls.

John B. Askew
Regional Administrator, EPA Region 7
John B. Askew, a sixth generation family farmer, lives on the family’s Century Farm near Thurman, Iowa. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from Iowa State University. John is married to Lauri Askew and has three sons: John P., a junior at Iowa State University; Nathan, a sophomore at Wartburg College; and Alex, a freshman in high school. Mr. Askew was President of the Iowa Soybean Association, the largest state commodity group in the region. During his tenure, he helped develop and implement various programs that helped producers develop Environmental Management Systems and conduct on-farm research to better manage their daily operations. He served for four years as a farming industry appointee to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, which provides risk-management solutions to the farming community. Mr. Askew serves as a township trustee in Fremont County, Iowa, and is a member of various agricultural and environmental groups.

Dr. Tracy Blackmer
Director of Research, Iowa Soybean Association
Dr. Blackmer received his B.S. in agronomy from Iowa State University, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agronomy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. While at Nebraska, Dr. Blackmer worked on incorporating remote sensing technologies into precision farming practices. After receiving his Ph.D., he was a soil scientist for the USDA-ARS at Lincoln, Nebraska. Currently, Dr. Blackmer is the director of research at the Iowa Soybean Association and the principal investigator on more than a dozen projects using advanced technologies to help improve grower profitability and reduce environmental impact.

Richard A. Bishop
Manager, Emissions Compliance, John Deere Power Systems
Richard has worked for John Deere since June 1978 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Iowa and a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University.

Michael Bowman
National Steering Committee, 25x'25
Michael is a fifth-generation native of Colorado. Throughout his adult life he has been active in the development of his home community of Wray, CO (pop. 2000). He serves on the National Steering Committee for “25x’25” and on the National Council of Advisors for the Heartland Center for Leadership Development and Holistic Management International. Michael was a member of the 2005 Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on Climate Change, served as Summit Chair for the 2006 Intermountain Harvesting Energy Network Conference and is a steering committee member for the Colorado Apollo Alliance; he also served as co-chair of Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s Energy Transition Team after the November ’06 election. He is a graduate of the Colorado Agriculture and Rural Leadership program and is a Bighorn Fellow.

Chris Cassidy
Acting Chief, Business Specialty Lenders Division, Energy Branch, Rural Development, USDA
Chris Cassidy is the Acting Energy Branch Chief at USDA National Headquarters in Washington D.C. In addition, he is 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. Cassidy has been actively engaged in business, agriculture, and technology development activities for three decades. He 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 served the indigenous people of the Native American community in economic and agriculture development and remains active in community development activities. Cassidy has a B.S. in Business and a M.S. in International Agriculture Development.

Cynthia Cory
Director of Environmental Affairs, California Farm Bureau Federation
Cynthia L. Cory is the Director of Environmental Affairs, Government Affairs Division, for the California Farm Bureau Federation. The California Farm Bureau Federation is a non-profit agricultural trade association that has more than 91,500 members in 53 counties in California. She has been associated with the agricultural community for over thirty years; the past seventeen years have been at CFBF working on state and federal matters including air quality, biotechnology, climate change, transportation and renewable bioenergy issues. Previously, she worked for several organizations over a ten-year period on short and long-term agronomic research projects throughout Africa. Ms. Cory has a M.S. in International Agricultural Development (emphasis Agronomy/Genetics) and a B.S. in Agronomy. Ms. Cory is a member of the USDA Agricultural Air Quality Taskforce and was appointed by the Schwarzenegger Administration to serve on several advisory committees including the Governor’s Environmental Advisory Task Force, the California Energy Commission’s Climate Change Advisory Committee and their Biodiesel Working Group.

Kerry Drake
Kerry Drake is an Associate Director in the Air Division of the EPA Region 9. He focuses on permitting, enforcement, and agriculture as well as general air quality issues in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento metropolitan areas of California, and in the state of Hawaii. He came to the EPA after serving for more than a decade with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Mr. Drake graduated, with honors, from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas.

Allen Dusault
Sustainable Conservation
Allen oversees Sustainable Conservation's Biofuels, Dairies and Conservation Tillage projects - and is an Associate with the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP). Allen has over 15 years of experience in renewable energy and fuels, air and water quality issues, production agriculture, waste management and land use planning - spanning both public and private sectors. His current work involves demonstrating biofuel crops can be sustainably grown in California - generating both environmental and economic benefits for the state. Allen recently spearheaded California net metering legislation. Allen began his career as an environmental consultant in Washington, D.C., moving on to senior positions with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection where he was the Director of Special Waste Program and the Biosolids Reuse Program. He went on to Laidlaw to manage the Recycling Program for the company's East Coast Division. Additionally, he ran a 25 MW biomass power plant as Executive Director of a waste authority. Allen also consulted to corporations and government agencies in California, including International Technology Corp, Santa Barbara Public Works, Browning-Ferris and Orange County. He also has experience managing one of the first natural-gas-powered truck fleets in California. Allen received an MBA from the University of Redlands, an MS in resource management from the University of Guelph in Canada, and a BS in soil science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He also studied hydrology at University of Maryland.

Jorge A. Garcia
Transportation Conformity and Air Quality Analyst, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
Jorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry and a Masters Degree in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Idaho. After graduating Jorge worked for nine years as a Regional Forest Chief for the Honduran Forest Service. Jorge also worked as a project manager for BLM in the largest rehabilitation project in the world in 1992 and has worked for Idaho DEQ for the last seven years in different areas of air quality, including: air quality monitoring, permitting and enforcement. During the last two years Jorge has been in charge of transportation conformity for Idaho DEQ and he is the current lead for the Diesel Retrofit Program in Idaho.

James Goldstene
Smog Check Program Manager, CA Air Resources Board
James Goldstene is the Smog Check program manager for the California Air Resources Board. He is also assisting with the implementation of AB 32. Prior to coming to the Air Resources Board, Mr. Goldstene held several leadership positions at the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Most recently, he was Deputy Chief/Interim Chief of the California Bureau of Automotive Repair. For nearly 8 years, Mr. Goldstene worked at the State Treasurer’s Office. He was the Director of Policy Research for the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission at the State Treasurer’s Office. In this role Mr. Goldstene was responsible for monitoring trends in municipal finance and making policy recommendations to the Commission and the State Treasurer. Prior to that, Mr. Goldstene was a manager at the California Pollution Control Financing Authority (CPCFA), also in the State Treasurer's Office. Before joining the Authority, Mr. Goldstene was a senior policy advisor to Lieutenant Governor Leo McCarthy, working on environmental and economic development issues, and a legislative aide to former Assemblyman Lloyd Connelly, where he worked on insurance, education, criminal justice and health issues. Mr. Goldstene teaches part-time in the Government Department at California State University, Sacramento. Mr. Goldstene has a bachelors and masters degree in Government from California State University, Sacramento. He completed graduate work in Politics at the University of Bristol in England.

Robert Grott
Interim Director, Northwest Biofuels Association
Robert is Executive Director of Northwest Environmental Business Council, which is acting as the host for the Northwest Biofuels Association during its startup phase. Before joining NEBC, Robert ran Stirling Power, which focused on renewable energy projects using waste gas from landfills and wastewater treatment plants. Prior to that, he spent 12 years as a business consultant doing research and business planning for a wide variety of clients, ranging from utilities and government agencies, to technology startups and non-profits. Earlier, he managed special projects for a PacifiCorp subsidiary and the Port of Portland.

Roger A. Isom
Vice President and Director of Technical Services, CA Cotton Ginners and Growers Association
Roger A. Isom is currently the Vice President & Director of Technical Services for the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, and have been since 1992. Prior to that, he worked for the Fresno County and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Districts. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Board of the Ag Energy Consumers Association. In 2000, he was appointed to the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Air Quality Task Force as an agricultural organization representative specializing in air quality. He is a member of the Dust Emission Joint Forum appointed by the Western Governors Association. He is also a Registered Environmental Assessor with the State of California, and graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1988.

Greg Johnson
Leader, Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team, West National Technology Support Center, Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA
Since 2004, Greg Johnson has served as the Leader of the Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Technology Development Team at the West National Technology Support Center of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Johnson obtained his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from North Carolina State University in 1991. He also holds a masters degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin (1979), and a bachelors of science degree in atmospheric science from Oregon State University (1977). From 1997 until 2004 Dr. Johnson served as the Applied Climatologist for the USDA-NRCS, National Water and Climate Center, also in Portland. From 1979 to 1991 Greg spent twelve years as an Agricultural Meteorologist with the USDA Extension Service, on the Horticultural Science Department Faculty at North Carolina State University. Dr. Johnson has authored numerous publications in the atmospheric science and statistical climatology fields. He is a native Oregonian and enjoys hiking, golf and biking. He will celebrate his 25th anniversary with his wife Elizabeth (an avid Tar Heel fan) in October, and has two sons--one a junior at Biola University in La Mirada CA, and one a sophomore at Western Oregon University.

Arlen Lancaster
Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA
Appointed August 23, 2006, Arlen Lancaster heads the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the primary agency for voluntary conservation on working agricultural lands. As the thirteenth Chief for the agency, he directs the work of 12,000 employees and manages a budget totaling nearly $3.2 billion. Before joining NRCS, Mr. Lancaster served as USDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations. Previously he worked for the Congress in a variety of positions including senior policy advisor for Senator Mike Crapo, staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Forestry, Conservation, and Rural Revitalization and staff member for Senator Robert Bennett. He played a key role in crafting the conservation title of the 2002 farm bill. As NRCS chief executive officer, Mr. Lancaster guides the agency in helping people help the land through locally-led, cooperative conservation programs. Under his direction, NRCS works with private landowners and partners to conserve, maintain, and improve natural resources, which supports sustainable agriculture and enhances the environment. NRCS conservation partnerships provide public environmental benefits such as a cleaner environment, clear and abundant water, increased biological diversity and a scenic landscape. A graduate of the University of Utah, Mr. Lancaster is the first Asian American Chief of NRCS. He is an avid fly fisherman and outdoorsman. He and his wife Staci live in Alexandria, Va.

Brian Lindley
Executive Director, No-Till on the Plains
Brian is the Program Coordinator for No-Till On The Plains. He has an extensive agricultural background and has farmed and ranched for many years. Brian was a member of Kansas Agricultural and Rural Leadership Program (KARL) Class V through Kansas State University and has served in a number of leadership capacities statewide.

Michael Marsh
Executive Director, Western United Dairymen/Western United Resource Development, Inc.
Michael Marsh is the CEO of Western United Dairymen/Western United Resource Development, Inc. A graduate of the University of Wyoming with degrees in history and accounting, Mike brings a unique perspective to the management of Western United. Having worked extensively in the areas of farm, ranch and estate taxation, Mike takes a disciplined business approach to the activities of the association. Accountability and results-oriented decision making have been key to the manner in which he addresses issues. Mike has been with Western United since 1999 after having worked with California's almond industry for the previous seven years.

Elin Miller
Regional Administrator, EPA Region 10
Elin D. Miller is the Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10, which has jurisdiction in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced the appointment of Ms. Miller to serve as Regional Administrator, effective October 30, 2006.With over twenty years experience in environmental and agricultural issues, Elin brings a wealth of knowledge to the Agency. Most recently, she served as President and CEO of Arysta Life Science North America & Australasia, a crop protection company based in Tokyo. From 1996-2004, she held various positions at the Dow Chemical Company including Global Vice President of Public Affairs, Vice President of Global Pest Management and Vice President of Asia Pacific. Prior to joining Dow, Elin served as the Director of the California Department of Conservation, where she was responsible for regulating oil and gas production, as well as the state's mining, recycling and agriculture land conservation initiatives. She also served as the Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation at Cal EPA. She has served as the Chair-Elect for the Sponsor's Board of the Future Farmers America, was a member of the President's Cabinet at California Polytechnic State University, was on the board of the American Farmland Trust, and was the Chair of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment. Elin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy/Plant Protection from the University of Arizona where she was a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and was recently recognized with their 2006 Outstanding Alumni Award in her profession. She and her husband Bill own a working farm in Umpqua, Oregon

Wayne Nastri
Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9
Wayne Nastri, a lifelong westerner, was appointed Regional Administrator for Region 9 in October 2001. Mr. Nastri has led the Region to real progress in meeting the west's environmental challenges, especially in improving air quality in the Central Valley and Southern California and in protecting of scarce water resources throughout the arid west. Clear communication, strong enforcement and accountability to the public for a measurable "bottom line" have been the hallmarks of his tenure. A strong proponent of partnership as the best route to environmental protection, Mr. Nastri has launched many creative collaborations to protect the health and environment of all those who live in the Pacific Southwest. Most recently, Mr. Nastri partnered with EPA's Seattle region to launch the West Coast Diesel Emission Reduction Collaborative which will speed voluntary reductions of diesel emissions from ports, trucks and other federally regulated sources in a significant assault on one of the west's gravest air quality problems. Mr. Nastri also created EPA's Southern California Field Office in Los Angeles -- a major improvement in EPA's local presence for the region's largest metropolitan area. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Nastri held various environmental leadership positions, including Board membership for California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (covering Southern California), as well as participation in advisory boards for California's state air quality and waste management agencies. His fifteen years of environmental consulting experience culminated in his presidency of Environmental Mediation Inc. before accepting his position at EPA.

Jean-Mari Peltier
President, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Jean-Mari Peltier is President of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Prior to joining NCFC, Peltier served in the Bush administration as counselor for agriculture policy for the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Peltier has also served as president of the California Citrus Quality Council, executive director of the California Pear Advisory Board, president of the California Pear Growers and director of public and government relations for the California Grape and Tree Fruit League. In addition, she has served as a director or board officer for a wide range of agricultural and trade organizations including the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship, Minor Crops Farmer Alliance, Future Farmers of America Foundation, Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee on Trade, Agricultural Council of California, and Capital Agri-Women.

Cory J. Reed
Manager, factory marketing for large row crop tractors, John Deere Waterloo Works
Cory Reed has worked for John Deere since June 1988 and holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Miami University of Ohio and a Juris Doctor degree from Ohio State University.

Jon Scholl
Administrator for Agricultural Policy, EPA
Jon Scholl was appointed Counselor to the Administrator for Agricultural Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August of 2004. In this position, he advises the Administrator on agricultural issues and serves as a liaison with agricultural organizations and agencies. Mr. Scholl joined EPA after 25 years with the Illinois Farm Bureau where he most recently held the position of Executive Assistant to the President. Beginning in 1979, his tenure at the Farm Bureau included stints as director of public policy and director of national legislation where he worked with legislators on the state, regional and national levels. He earned a B.S. degree in agricultural science from the University of Illinois. He currently serves as the chairman of the Illinois FFA Foundation and is a member of the University of Illinois Agricultural and Consumer Economics Department Advisory Board.

Lori Stewart
Deputy Director, Transportation and Regional Programs Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Transportation and Air Quality
Lori Stewart is Deputy Director of the Transportation and Regional Programs Division, in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality at EPA. Ms. Stewart’s division focuses on innovative emission reductions programs such as the National Clean Diesel Campaign, the SmartWay program, and Best Workplaces for Commuters as well as working with States to incorporate mobile source reduction programs (including cleaner fuels) in State Implementation Plans and to meet transportation conformity requirements. Ms. Stewart joined the EPA transportation programs in 1995, and has been with the Environmental Protection Agency in a variety of positions for more 20 years.

Randy S. Swanson
Manager, Marketing Services, John Deere Power Systems
Randy S. Swanson has worked for John Deere since 1979 and holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from University of Minnesota.

Randall von Wedel
Principal Biochemist, BioSolar
Randall von Wedel is the founder and principal biochemist for CytoCulture International, an environmental microbiology laboratory and consulting firm on the San Francisco Bay. More recently he also created the BioSolar Group of technical consultants working to develop renewable fuel strategies for corporations, government fleets and other countries. Dr. von Wedel pioneered environmental research (including the first marine toxicology studies ever performed on biodiesel), marketing and distribution of biodiesel in the Bay Area since his first experiments were conducted over 12 years ago in November, 1993. Dr. von Wedel is a graduate of Dartmouth College (BA 1974 in biology and chemistry) and received his Doctorate in Biochemistry (Ph.D. 1981) from the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. After 5 years of research in neuroscience and cell culture, he founded CytoCulture in 1986 as an environmental biotech research and consulting firm to address public health issues associated with water, soil and air pollution. Dr. von Wedel worked under grants from the United Soybean Board and USDA to develop an oil spill cleaner “BioSolvent” made from soybean oil methyl esters similar to biodiesel. The “CytoSol” process proved to be effective in removing spilled crude oil from shorelines, marshes, beaches and ships in field studies and oil spill simulations conducted at Texas A&M, Corpus Christi. Dr. von Wedel has been the Principal Investigator managing biodiesel research contracts, the development of marine biodiesel programs under an NREL grant, and the establishment of the first B-20 fleet in California at the University of California Davis campus. In 2000, CytoCulture was awarded the contract to provide biodiesel to the Channel Islands National Park Service as the first B-100 fleet of research vessels and shore-based diesel equipment to run continuously on pure biodiesel. Earlier that year, CytoCulture launched the first B-100 truck fleet in California at the Curbside Recycling Program of the Ecology Center in Berkeley. After 17 months of running all its city diesel vehicles on B-20 as a pilot study set up by CytoCulture, the City of Berkeley became the first municipality in North America to dedicate all 192 diesel powered vehicles to run entirely on B-100. A year later, Kyoto, Japan followed this example. Dr. von Wedel has been involved in the start up and operation of retail B-100 fueling stations including the first B-100 station on the continent opened with World Energy in May, 2001. New stations are now being developed around the Bay Area to replace the original San Francisco station. He has served for three years as a consultant on technical and regulatory affairs for the NBB. Dr. von Wedel is currently completing a Feasibility Project for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to evaluate the potential for local production, distribution and use of biodiesel in fleets, ferries, generators and other applications of the Bay Area that would significantly lower exhaust emissions. He is a technical advisor and consultant to the City of San Francisco and several corporations.