Biodiesel board names industry veteran as new CEO

By Sara Wyant

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Oct. 31, 2016 - After conducting a search effort that attracted nearly 300 applicants, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) selected as its new CEO an individual who was already deeply familiar with the organization.

The NBB named Donnell Rehagen as the trade group's chief executive. Rehagen was named interim CEO in June after serving 12 years as NBB's chief operating officer.

“We couldn't be more excited to elevate Donnell to the permanent position of CEO,” NBB Chairman Ron Marr said in a release. “His detailed knowledge of our organization and deep understanding of our industry certainly leads to a smooth transition. But the main reason we have asked him to take on this position is his proven ability to think strategically about our issues and apply creative solutions that lead to success.”

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As COO, Rehagen managed the implementation of NBB's $14 million annual budget and the day-to-day responsibility of managing the organization's program managers, staff and contractors. Additionally, Rehagen has led the annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, which is scheduled for Jan. 16-19 in San Diego.

Prior to joining NBB in 2004, Rehagen was the fleet administrator for the Missouri Department of Transportation where he was responsible for all aspects of the department's $400 million fleet including implementation of their biodiesel (B20) use program. 

“Donnell will be just the fourth chief executive to lead NBB in our nearly 25 years as the country's largest trade association representing the biodiesel industry,” Marr said. “It's that kind of stability in our leadership and our commitment to providing our membership the tools to be successful that has helped make biodiesel a 2 billion-gallon-per-year industry.”

Rehagen said he is excited for the opportunity take on new responsibilities to help the industry meet current challenges and prepare for more growth ahead.

"I have a passion for this industry,” Rehagen said. “I'm proud to be a part of the team that has helped lead biodiesel's growth to become the first advanced biofuel to reach full commercialization, but I also recognize the challenges we face. It is incumbent upon us as an organization to define and manage a path that ensures we continue the industry's ascent.”

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The 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard's volume requirements for biodiesel are expected to be announced by the end of November and Rehagen said he's hopeful the EPA will recognize the national benefits that will be realized by increasing biodiesel's requirement to 2.5 billion gallons.

Additionally, Rehagen said he will immediately continue the task he began as interim CEO of helping to coordinate members' visits to Capitol Hill at the end of November. NBB is pressing Congress to provide a long-term extension of the biodiesel tax incentive and convert it from a blender's credit to a producer's credit to keep the focus on domestic production.

Donnell has a master's in public administration from the University of Missouri - Columbia and a bachelor's in computer information systems from Southwest Missouri State University.

He was born and raised in Jefferson City, where he and his wife Shelly have raised four children of their own. They are also the proud grandparents of two young grandsons.

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