People, Places, and...

Biodiesel Pioneer Honored with Award

The American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) presented Steve Howell with the prestigious AOCS Fellow Award at the society’s annual meeting in May. He was one of five recipients.

Howell has served as the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB’s) technical director since shortly after the board’s inception in 1992, and is credited with helping to navigate the emerging biodiesel industry through an obstacle course of technical challenges. Those include completing health effects testing, establishing ASTM International standards, and securing original equipment manufacturer approval, to name just a few. 

As a chemical engineer, Howell emerged from a career with Proctor and Gamble (P&G) in the early 1990s to pursue the potential of biodiesel as a renewable energy source. P&G was one of the first producers of biodiesel and Howell was at the vanguard of production technology. Recognizing his unique skills as a scientist, collaborator, and communicator, the NBB recruited him to lead its national technical program. Howell is also president of MARC-IV Consulting, Inc.

To be named a fellow is one of the highest forms of recognition conferred by AOCS, explained Mike Haas, a United States Department of Agriculture researcher and past president of AOCS.   

“It’s also rare for a person who is not directly involved in research at a university or a national lab, where they would generate a trail of publications by which evaluators can assess impact, to be named an AOCS Fellow,” Haas said. “In its history, AOCS has named only about 85 people as fellows, and their names constitute some of the very best in the fats and oils professions from around the globe. Steve Howell deserves to be among them.”  

H.J. Baker Expands Reach in Brazil

H.J. Baker & Bro., Inc. has purchased Rumiphos Industria e Comercio de Sal Mineral e Racoes located in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Rumiphos has been producing free-choice minerals and protein supplements for ruminants for more than 10 years and has a strong reputation for producing quality products. In addition, H.J. Baker has purchased Mineral Fanton Industrial e Comercio Ltda., located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, an established producer of free-choice minerals for beef cattle, and feed for cattle, horses, and sheep. Fanton, a well-known farm mineral company, has been operating for 28 years in eight Brazilian states and has a strong reputation for high quality products and outstanding customer service.

H.J. Baker is a fourth-generation, family-owned firm that creates protein blends for the dairy and poultry industries. The acquisitions of Rumiphos and Fanton are part of H.J. Baker’s strategy to establish a stronger presence in international agricultural emerging markets. The company has been active in Brazil for more than a year.

Valley Buys Maryland Rendering Operation

Valley Proteins, Inc. has purchased a poultry by-product rendering and used cooking oil plant in Linkwood, MD, from Allen Biotech, LLC. The facility employs about 40 people and will be expanded by Valley Proteins to increase the volume of poultry material processed in the Delmarva area.

According to Valley Proteins President J.J. Smith, the plant was called Eastern Shore Rendering Company until Darling International sold it to Allen Family Foods in 2003. Allen changed the name to JCR Enterprises and they operated the facility until the company sought bankruptcy protection in 2011. The plant was sold at a bankruptcy auction along with Allen’s poultry plants, feed mill, and other facilities to a South Korean company that operates in the United States as Allen Harim Foods.

JBS Acquires XL’s US Operations

JBS USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brazil’s JBS S.A., has completed the purchase of certain United States operations of XL Foods. JBS USA assumes ownership of a beef packing plant in Omaha, NE, and a beef packing plant in Nampa, ID, each with a capacity to process 1,100 head of cattle per day. The facility in Nampa is currently idle and the company has no immediate plans to reopen the facility.

The transaction completes the agreement between JBS and XL Foods first announced in October 2012.

Kastalon Celebrates Milestone

Kastalon has experienced huge growth over the past 50 years. From mixing materials in coffee cans in a borrowed space the size of a one-car garage to using state-of-the-art mixing and molding equipment in a 50,000 square foot facility, the DeMent family has continually reinvented itself as a custom polyurethane manufacturer.

The story began when a Southside Chicago, IL, man by the name of Robert DeMent heard about this new material called polyurethane and was willing to risk everything he had to get his own business started. Like any new start-up business, the first few years were tough. In lieu of paid employees, many times “Big Bob” brought parts home for his sons to finish.

Fast forward 50 years. After several moves and expansions, it is those two sons who now own the company and are strategically planning for the next 50 years. According to Bruce and Mike DeMent, co-owners, “The history, formation, size, and scope of Kastalon is based on the creativity, energy, and imagination of its employees who funnel their energies and expertise for the betterment of the product we supply our customers.”

June 2013 RENDER | back