Terrabon
Developing advanced biofuels for an energy hungry world.

Fast Facts

Our Strategic Partners:
Our Technologies:
Our Timeline:
  • 1995: Terrabon founded
  • 2009: Demonstration plant constructed
  • 2011: Break ground on first bio-refinery
  • 2013: Bio-refinery fully operational

Terrabon Inc.

Biofuels Digest Top 100 People

Executive Officers

Gary W. Luce Chief Executive Officer and Director
Simon Upfill-Brown, M.B.A. Chief Operating Officer
William Reynolds Chief Capital Officer
Cesar B. Granda, Ph.D. Chief Technology Officer
Malcolm F. McNeill Chief Financial Officer
Tri Nguyen General Counsel
John A. Spencer Vice President of Engineering
Robert Buchek Director
Jimmy E. Buttry Director
David S. Carrabba Director
Carl Rush Director
Mark T. Holtzapple, Ph.D. Chairman, Advisory Committee
G. Peter van Walsum, Ph.D. Advisory Committee Member
James R. Hettenhaus Advisory Committee Member
  
Gary Luce

Gary W. Luce has served on Terrabon's Board of Directors since June 2007 when he arranged and closed a large investment in the Company on behalf of a private investment group. Mr. Luce has more than 25 years of senior management strategic planning and operating experience in the energy sector. From 1989 to 1993, he served as a Practice Principal and Senior Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company, where he focused on trading and risk management strategies, supply chain management and market optimization. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Interim President, EVP and as a Senior VP with EOTT Energy Partners, LP, a McKinsey client, where he was responsible for structuring acquisitions, leases and other financial opportunities, including one acquisition that doubled the size of the business. From 1999 to 2002, he was Group Senior VP with Reliant Resources, Inc., where he was in charge of more than 300 plus personnel, responsible for green-field development projects within a $4 billion capital investment program, and directing four regional and one national strategic business units. Since 2002, he has worked in the private equity area. In 2004, he cofounded K-L Energy Partners, LLC, which focused on investments in the midstream and downstream sectors of the energy industry. Since June 2007, he has been the principal architect of the Company's technology deployment, and has led its financial and management transition from a development-stage entity to a stand-alone, operating technology company. He graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University and Stephen F. Austin State University with degrees in chemical engineering and physics. He also received an M.B.A. from Houston Baptist University.

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Simon_Upfill-Brown

Simon Upfill-Brown serves as Terrabon's Chief Operating Officer. Prior to the Company, Mr. Upfill-Brown served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GreenFuel Technologies Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a venture spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which recycled flue gas CO2 into valuable ingredients for feed, food, fuel and chemical markets. Prior to joining GreenFuel Technologies, Mr. Upfill-Brown served as President and CEO of Haltermann, Inc., a Houston provider of custom chemical manufacturing services, which was purchased by The Dow Chemical Company in 2001. He continued to serve as General Manager of Dow Haltermann Custom Processing, which generated approximately $230 million in annual sales, until 2008 when the unit was spun out from its parent. He also previously served as Vice President and General Manager of International Powder Coatings, Inc. and as Marketing Director for International Paint (USA) Inc. After completing his B.S. degree from Stellenbosch University in South Africa in 1975, Mr. Upfill-Brown began his career as a bench chemist. He moved into sales and marketing and served in executive leadership roles in the coatings, chemicals and renewables industries. He earned a M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1985.

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Simon_Upfill-Brown

William Reynolds serves as Terrabon’s Chief Capital Officer (CCO) where he leads the executive leadership team to manage financing efforts for Terrabon’s biorefinery projects and oversee fundraising activities at the corporate level. Previous to his position with Terrabon, he was the chief financial officer of Halite (formerly known as Canatxx), a privately held pre-revenue project company developing renewable energy projects; served as interim chief financial officer for TAQA, a publicly-traded integrated international energy corporation active in exploration, oil and gas production, gas storage, LNG re-gasification, gas transmission, power generation and water desalinization; and held several senior finance positions with companies including Nexia Strategy/Marabalis, Prisma Energy International, Integrated Electrical Services, Peoples Energy Corporation, MCN Energy Group and Amoco Corporation. He was also an executive professor for the University of Houston EMBA program. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at The University of Tulsa and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

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Cesar_Granda

Cesar B. Granda, Ph.D. obtained B.S. and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University. His research has focused on the biotechnology and waste utilization areas, including enhancements to the MixAlco® technology, and he has been involved in the development of SoluPro, a method for producing a highly digestible protein hydrolyzate from waste proteinaceous materials. He has worked in the field of biomass conversion to chemicals and fuels since 1997, conducting research in almost all unit operations of the process. He has considerable research experience in the sugar industry, authoring many technical publications and patents covering the preservation of sugarcane juice for processing into sugar and ethanol, the development of an efficient sugarcane juice extraction system to handle high-fiber cane varieties, pretreatment of sorghum and sugarcane fiber to increase their biological digestibility, enzymatic degradation of sugarcane fibers into simple sugars for the production of ethanol, mixed-acid fermentation of lignocellulosic residues, energy-efficient dewatering of fermentation broths, conversion of organic-acid salts into chemicals such as ketones (e.g., acetone), and acids (i.e., acetic acid) and conversion of organic acids and salts into alcohols (e.g., isopropanol and ethanol). He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society. Dr. Granda serves as the Company's Chief Technology Officer.

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Malcolm_McNeill

Malcolm F. McNeill has served as a financial consultant to the Company, providing assistance in the areas of accounting and financial planning. He began his career on Wall Street, working with the New York Stock Exchange and certain member firms in the areas of compliance, institutional trading, and investment banking. From 1977 to 2000, he worked in public accounting with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and in financial management and transaction structuring with a number of public and privately-held firms engaged in exploration and production, natural gas transmission, independent power development, and telecommunications. Since 2000, he has worked in the private equity area focusing on the midstream sector of the energy industry, and as a financial consultant to a number of smaller, emerging companies engaged in transportation services, structured investments, and bio-refining. He received a B.S. in mathematics from the Virginia Military Institute and earned a M.S. in accounting at Long Island University. Mr. McNeill serves as the Company's Chief Financial Officer.

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Tri_Nguyen

Tri Nguyen serves as General Counsel for Terrabon. Nguyen manages legal standards, policies, procedures, initiatives and regulatory compliance within the organization. As part of Terrabon's management team, he works to foster the achievement of Terrabon's business development and goals. Nguyen's experience includes advising entrepreneurs on entity formation and general corporate matters and start-ups on angel and venture capital funding, private securities offerings, and general business and commercial transactions. He has also counseled mid-market and public companies on general corporate matters, commercial and business transactions, and acquisitions and dispositions of assets and entities. Previous to his position with Terrabon, Nguyen was a senior attorney with Phillips & Reiter, PLLC where he provided various legal services, including outsourced general counsel services, to established companies and start-ups. Prior to Phillips & Reiter, he was the managing shareholder of Tri Nguyen Law Office PC and initially began his career as an associate at Andrews Kurth LLP. Nguyen has served as a member of the board of trustees for the Houston Lawyer Referral Service and on the board of directors for the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association. He has also served as a Vice President of Programs for Asian American Bar Association and Co-Founder/Chief Articles Editor for the Houston Business and Tax Journal. Nguyen graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Houston where he received a Bachelor's degree in journalism and his Juris Doctor from the university's Law Center.

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John_Spencer

John A. Spencer has served as V. P. of Engineering for Terrabon since May, 2009. Mr. Spencer has more than 33 years of engineering experience working in research, manufacturing and design roles primarily in the petrochemical business. For 30 years Mr. Spencer worked at The Dow Chemical Company as research engineer, manufacturing engineer and process engineer in numerous chemical plant technologies. He has extensive experience in isocyanate, polyether glycol, ethylbenzene and styrene production processes. He has acted as the Lead Process Engineer for world scale ethylbenzene, styrene and polyisobutylene capital projects located in the United States and overseas. In May, 2005 Mr. Spencer retired from Dow and joined S&B Engineers and Constructors as a senior staff engineer where he worked on several refinery and petrochemical capital projects, two as lead process engineer. In August, 2008 Mr. Spencer joined Terrabon as the Senior Process Engineer before becoming V. P. of Engineering. Mr. Spencer has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University and has been a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas since 1998.

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Robert J. Buchek has served on Terrabon's Board of Directors since October, 2009, representing the interests of Valero Energy Corporation. Since January, 2008, Mr. Buchek has managed advanced biofuels business development activities for Valero with a focus on technology partnering, project development and venture investments. He joined Valero's Alternative Energy organization after serving in Valero's Corporate Development and Strategic Planning group. Prior to Valero, he was a management consultant in Accenture's strategy consulting practice, where he advised Fortune 500 and government clients on issues ranging from technology strategy to post-merger integration. He graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin Business Honors Program and received an M.B.A. from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

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Jimmy E. Buttry received his undergraduate degree from Mary Hardin Baylor University, and his M.B.A. from Hardin Simmons University. He is a retired professional airline Captain who began his career in the United States Air Force, serving as a C-130 tactical aircraft commander from 1972 to 1979. He then worked as a flight officer for American Airlines for two years before joining the United States Navy. He served as an instructor pilot, flight leader, NATOPS Examiner, and primary curriculum training officer for the U. S. Navy. From 1984 until his retirement from the Navy Reserve in 1990, Mr. Buttry was a C-12 aircraft commander. In 1984, he returned to American Airlines and served as a Check Airman, FAA Aircrew Program Designee, and flight crew examiner for B-727 and S-80 aircraft until his retirement in 2005. He represents the interests of Ogden-Chaparral Limited Partnership.

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David S. Carrabba is a co-founder of the Company and has served on its Board and as its President since inception. He received a B.A. in management from Texas A&M University and since has successfully developed and expanded many of the Carrabba family's holdings in manufacturing, oil and gas, real estate and farming. Since 1988, he has served as President of Gooseneck Trailer Mfg. Co., a multi-million dollar manufacturing company employing 150 people, as President of Highland Interests, Inc., a commercial and residential real estate development holding company, and as President of GSI Oil & Gas, Inc., a diversified exploration and production company. Since Terrabon's inception, he has played a critical role as the primary contact person with the University, handling the interface with Dr. Mark T. Holtzapple and his research team. He also manages Terrabon's relationship with the University's Office of Technology Commercialization on licensing matters.

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Carl Rush joined Terrabon’s board of directors in 2012 representing the interests of Waste Management, Inc. where he is a senior vice president of Organic Growth. He is responsible for finding growth opportunities that are synergistic with the company’s objective of maximizing value from waste, including converting them into biofuels, renewable chemicals and energy. Waste Management established a strategic relationship with Terrabon since the company’s initial investment in the company in 2010. Before joining Waste Management, Carl was president and CEO of The GNI Group for 15 years. He received a Bachelor’s degree in business and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Christian University.

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Mark T. Holtzapple, Ph.D. is widely credited as the inventor of MixAlco, and many of its critical processes and mechanical components. He is currently a professor and chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at Texas A&M University. From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Holtzapple served in the United States Army, attaining the rank of captain. During that time, he performed research on water desalination and microclimate cooling, a method for cooling soldiers encapsulated in chemical protective clothing. In 1986, he became an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University where has been well recognized for his excellent teaching and has won a number of awards. He has authored nearly 100 technical articles and reports plus a widely used engineering textbook. He has over 70 issued patents, numerous pending patents, and over 80 patent disclosures. His research interests include fuels and chemicals from biomass, food and feed processing, water desalination, air conditioning, high-efficiency engines, jet engines, and vertical-lift aircraft. He has been nationally recognized for his research, winning the President's Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1996 and the coveted Sigma Xi Walston Chubb Award for Innovation in 2006. He is chair of the Company's Advisory Committee and will continue to play an important role in assisting the Company in optimizing and deploying its technologies. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his doctorate in the same discipline from the University of Pennsylvania.

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G. Peter van Walsum, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Maine. Dr. van Walsum has authored over 25 papers and technical articles, has made over 60 technical presentations to scientific, engineering and industrial groups, and he has been responsible for over $1.4 million in awards and grants from federal and private sources. He received his B.A. in geology, cum laude, from Williams College, a Bachelors degree in chemical engineering, with distinction, his Masters of Engineering from McGill University, and his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from Dartmouth College.

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James R. Hettenhaus co-founded CEA, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in commercializing industrial applications of biotechnology. Since 1997, he has successfully led projects across the cellulosic biomass supply chain to accelerate biomass commercialization to ethanol, chemicals and other value added products. His assignments have included defining innovative methods for sustainable harvesting, transporting and storing biomass feedstock, assessing logistical solutions for transporting multi-million ton quantities of feedstock and product, bio-refinery site selection, and the 'sugar platform' possibilities for production of chemicals, fuels and materials. His clients have included the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a number of start-ups and Fortune 50 companies. Prior to co-founding CEA, Inc. in 1993, he served as a process engineer with Monsanto, a plant manager with Anheuser Busch, Director of Operations with Nabisco-Brands, and Executive Vice President with G-b USA and International Bio-Synthetics (Divisions of Royal Gist-brocades, Delft, NL). He has authored or co-authored a number of publications covering biomass commercialization, and several reports for the National Renewable Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and he has made numerous presentations to investment, scientific, and government forums on such topics as feedstock logistics and bio-refinery operations. He received his B.S. Ch. E. from the University of Wisconsin, and his M. S. Engineering from St. Louis University. His professional affiliations include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Association for Corporate Growth, Society for Industrial Microbiology, American Chemical Society, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

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