Building the Winning SAF Super Bowl Team – Running Back
Sustainable aviation fuel is a big business opportunity. Millions of dollars are being poured into SAF, especially for woody biomass sourcing, contract preparation, feedstock processing and chipping and finally, delivery and storage. It is critical that the Project has hired the right people and has them in place to cross the “goal line” for the Team.
For the leading players who are making moves in the SAF industry (see our previous blog post), it’s clear you need a solid Team in place to make sure all the moving parts get developed correctly, executed properly and followed up on thoroughly.
At Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, (“NWABF”), our Team is staffed by industry professionals with solid, documented successes. Each of these Pros are formerly seasoned entrepreneurs, with incredible talent in each of their respective roles. We liken our team structure to that of an NFL football team, with an Owner, General Manager, Coach, Various Position Players and Teammates and Referees, (Industry Lawyers who know the rules).
In a series of blog posts in the weeks and months ahead, we will highlight some of the committed players on our Team. For this first one, we will focus on Chris Whitworth, our team’s running back (aka Project GM) for Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels LLC.
Chris Whitworth: Running Back
(aka Project General Manager)
Chris Whitworth, our Project General Manager, is a versatile entrepreneur who has worked and developed businesses in multiple industries. He knows how to take the ball and run with it.
A resident of Grays Harbor, Washington, which is near the Project, Chris is in charge of the on-site management and presence for the initial SAF project. He has successfully set up feedstock supply agreements with continuity, handling property acquisition, initiating the government and Port contacts, handling permitting processes and working within the local community to create a strong culture of interaction and participation as the project progresses and develops.
Chris believes airline demand is a big factor driving the interest in SAF, as evidenced by repeated articles appearing almost daily throughout the industry. “The demand is now a real entity, because of the mandates s that have been put into place for airlines to use SAF,” Chris says. “That’s why Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s most successful airlines, agreed to the industry’s largest Offtake Agreement to date, with NWABF for the Renewable SAF we will produce. The idea of using forest slash and woody biomass for energy has been around for quite a while, but we’re able to take it to the next level and utilize it to create premium jet fuel,” Chris says.
Chris graduated from the University of Washington as an English and History Major, was president of his fraternity and played varsity soccer at UW, three years as Captain. This is further proof of his ability to function as a good Teammate, Chris is a star at his position and in his field. He’s organized and well-connected. He knows all the other Players in the League when it comes to the forestry industry, (aka our League), for the equipment providers, game plan creators, field facilitators, and League rule-makers (aka gov’t agencies). Colleagues see him as open, friendly, and immune to complaining of hard work and tough times.
“Some people can “carry the ball” a lot more times than others, take the physical and emotional beating better than others and still succeed. Chris is that guy,” says Dave Smoot, Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels Manager. “To execute our game plan, I needed a guy that could go out and find me Land and Feedstock now, get commitments in writing, and then get the approval on certain project sites, (playing fields). Chris has done that masterfully.”
NWABF is moving toward the end zone with its plans to produce millions of gallons of renewable biofuel. Stay tuned for the next blog post on one of our teammates helping to drive our team to the Super Bowl of SAF. Exciting developments in the months ahead!
David P. Smoot
David Smoot has an extensive background in Project Development, including the Financing and Technology Integration for those Projects. Mr. Smoot also held positions of upper management with leading companies in the Computer Software and Hardware industries, including the Financing and Leasing industries specifically related to those industries prior to moving into the renewable energy industry which morphed into renewable fuels. Smoot has created a turnkey solution model not yet seen in the industry.