The Annual ACE Conference

Join ACE for the 31st Annual Conference!


Contact Shannon Gustafson at or 1-605-334-3381 ext. 16 with questions regarding the event.

Renaissance Depot Hotel

Minneapolis, MN

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Contact Chuck Beck at or 1-605-334-3381 to learn about sponsorship opportunities!

Click Here to View Available Sponsorships



Grit Wins: Updates from ACE Leadership

ACE leadership will discuss the successes of the last year and highlight upcoming projects and opportunities we are working on for ACE members.

Speakers: Duane Kristensen, ACE Board President (representing Chief Ethanol Fuels), Brian Jennings, ACE CEO, Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President


Keynote: Senator Amy Klobuchar (Invited)

Minnesota Senior Senator Amy Klobuchar has been a stalwart supporter of the U.S. ethanol industry, and a champion for biofuels in the U.S. Senate.

Keynote: USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky (Invited)

USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky has played a leading role in discussions among Administration officials regarding biofuels policies.


E15 and Flex Fuel: How’s that working out for you?

Members of ACE's Marketer Advisory Panel (MAP) talk about what works and what doesn't work in E15 & flex fuel retailing, where they would like our help and where they'd like us to get out of the way, what they're hearing from other retailers and how they view the future of biofuels.

Speakers: Glen Badenhop, American Freedom Energy and Bob O’Connor, Jetz Convenience Centers


How Can Exports Overcome Tariffs and Tensions?

Exports have been a bright spot for the ethanol industry but can the success continue given escalating tensions and tariffs?  Speakers will address export destinations, demand drivers, and the status of trade negotiations and tariffs.


Future Fuels

This panel will provide an overview of future demand for liquid fuels and electricity in the U.S. with emphasis on how ethanol can increase its share of the domestic marketplace based on high-octane and low-carbon qualities.

Stay tuned for additional general session speakers and topics...



Telling Our Story

Speaker: Sue Retka Schill, WriteOH Editor & Writer

Building support for ethanol is critical for its future—and that includes in your backyard. Strengthening ethanol’s image in your community and region can only be done by you. From this session you’ll take home a list of new ideas to try at your plant, in your community.


Corn Oil to Renewable Diesel: Proven Product Diversification Strategy for Tomorrow's Biorefinery

Speaker: Adam Belyamani, Saola Energy LLC and Dean Camper, Saola Energy LLC

In an era where ethanol plant margins are volatile, it is evident that there is a need for product diversification. One of the product streams that ethanol plants can enhance is their corn oil, which can be achieved by adding a bolt-on diesel plant utilizing proven technologies. Renewable diesel is a drop-in fuel that can be used in the same infrastructure as petroleum diesel.  Several major cities in California are already using 100% renewable diesel which will be eligible to capture D4 RINs, biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits, and Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits. This presentation will go through the renewable diesel process and economics, highlighting the differences and benefits of renewable diesel compared to biodiesel.


Workforce Management and Benefits Trends and Insights

Speaker: Connie Lindstrom, Christianson PLLP

Labor costs account for only a tiny fraction of the cost of operating an ethanol plant; however, good hiring practices, effective employee accountability, and attractive benefits are the key to putting together successful teams that work together to achieve your plant’s productivity and profitability goals. In this session, we will first explore data gathered from ethanol plants across the country, as part of Christianson’s 2017 special labor survey, to provide insight into current standard practices and get some background on what’s happening around the country regarding compensation and benefits.


Tax Reform One Year Later

Speaker: Donna Funk, KCoe Isom

With the passage of the most comprehensive tax reform package in decades, it is time to take a deep look into some of the key provision that will impact the ethanol industry.  The changes range from tax rates, expensing elections, entity structures as well as understanding which provisions last long-term vs those that expire after just a few years.  We will also explore how states are responding in light of tax reform.


Kernel Fiber Ethanol: Opportunities in a Low Carbon Market

Speaker: Jim Ramm, EcoEngineers

Kernel fiber ethanol is completing its fourth year of production with additional facilities in Kansas and Wisconsin announcing construction plans and many producers performing plant trials or seeking pathway registrations.  Jim has been a leading renewable energy consultant in the development of kernel fiber and will share his insights into this developing market including:  USEPA quality requirements for registration; ASTM Standard Practices for Converted Fraction Determination; USEPA Q-RIN quality and LCFS Verification programs; and,  LCFS pathways and market updates.


Global Protein Demand Fulfilled by Ethanol Facilities

Speaker: Neal Jakel, Fluid Quip Process Technologies

Diversification is the hot topic at any ethanol board meeting these days, but how to diversify is the challenge.  Global protein demand is drastically short on high quality protein feed ingredients and getting shorter each year. Demand for animal based protein feed ingredients continues to rise as the world population grows and income increases.  A new,, large and sustainable feed source is needed both domestically and globally. FQPT will walk through the critical steps of creating a viable and proven commercial product while highlighting pitfalls when introducing a new product to the market. This presentation will focus on the global market demand for protein, and include an overview of new product commercialization pathways and the net corn evaluation methodology.


Combined Heat and Power; Transforming Ethanol Plants Profitability, Carbon Intensity and Value

Speaker: Bernie Hoffman, CEO, TotalGEN Services, LLC

The installation of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system at an ethanol plant can result in additional revenue from two sources; lower electric and steam costs and additional carbon revenue, improved operations, safer operations, and plant market value. This session will cover why CHP is relevant to today’s ethanol producers and walk through the benefits producers could see if they incorporate a CHP system.


Strategic Planning for Ethanol Plant Boards of Directors

Speakers: John Christianson, Christianson PLLP and Donna Funk, KCoe Isom

Ethanol plant board members provide critical leadership and support to management, staff and shareholders. This session will provide ethanol plant board members with techniques on strategic thinking and provide guidance on how to use those methods of strategic thinking to guide their company’s future.


New Technology Opportunities to Increase Profitability and Efficiency

Speakers: Paul Kamp, Whitefox and Andrew Ledlie, Solenis

New technologies continue to provide ethanol producers with opportunities to improve profitability and efficiency.  This session will feature two new ACE members, Whitefox and Solenis, who will introduce producers to their unique technologies.

Whitefox will provide a brief background on the technology development, a comparison of the efficiencies between membrane dehydration technology and molecular sieves, and take the audience through the customer journey from baselining to completed installation and start up, and the demonstrated savings verified by operating data from existing installations at Pacific Ethanol (CA), Pine Lake Corn Processors (IA) and a review of the benefits seen at other Whitefox installations.

Solenis will demonstrate how the next generation of monitoring and control systems optimize water, chemical and energy consumption by measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in real time and then adjusting treatment parameters to continuously respond to changes in the system. The outcome for this presentation will be a much better understanding of Performance Based Control technologies available to the ethanol industry today, and the impact that they have on the economics and sustainability of critical cooling systems in an ethanol plant.

2018 ACE Conference Sponsors

  • Welcome Reception Sponsor

    Welcome Reception Sponsor
  • Breakfast Sponsor

    Breakfast Sponsor
  • Name Badge Lanyard Sponsor

    Name Badge Lanyard Sponsor
  • Breakfast Sponsor

    Breakfast Sponsor
  • Lunch Sponsor

    Lunch Sponsor
  • Silver Sponsor

    Silver Sponsor
  • Media Sponsor

    Media Sponsor
  • Supporting Sponsor

    Supporting Sponsor

2017 Annual conference

2017 ACE Conference Testimonials

“The ACE Conference draws a lot of board members and CEOs of ethanol plants and offers great networking opportunities. The smaller size of the conference lends itself to the development of business relationships across the industry.” Pam Miller, Siouxland Ethanol, LLC Board Chair and Director of Investor and Industry Relations
"The ACE Conference was excellently planned, topics built on each other and the breakout sessions were informative. It also kept moving along without dragging it out and covering the same subject over and over. The presentations were informative on topics key to our industry with speakers who are actually doing things to create opportunities in our industry.” Rob Davis, Board Chairman at ACE member ethanol plant, Cardinal Ethanol

“The ability to get to meet colleagues and suppliers from the industry and discuss issues in a more relaxed manner is probably what struck me most from attending your conference.” Jim Galvin, CEO and Director, Lakeview Energy

“ACE was the first time we have been able to connect directly with ethanol producers on a national level. That connection enables us to develop relationships, strategic supply agreements, and connect the dots in the supply chain. We also have been educated on the issues and struggles the ethanol industry has and will face. As a retailer, we stand willing and able to drive the industry forward.” Randy Gard, Executive Director of Bosselman Enterprises
"I appreciated the grassroots atmosphere and the non-commercialized nature of the presentations.” John Phillips, Senior Sales Manager, Kemin Industries

“The ACE guys and gals know how to throw a great party complete with knowledge, insight, recognition, ideas and comradery. Truly the smart people were in the room. I learned a lot!” Bob O’Connor, Owner, JETZ Convenience Center

Press Conference with ACE Board President Duane Kristensen & Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts at 2017 Conference

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