Placeholder Banner

POET Founder, Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin to Receive 2017 BIO George Washington Carver Award

May 25, 2017

The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today announced that POET Founder, Chairman and CEO Jeff Broin will receive the 10th annual George Washington Carver Award for Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology. The award will be presented on Monday July 24, 2017, during a morning plenary session of the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology. The world’s largest industrial biotechnology and partnering event will be held July 23-26, 2017 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

“It is an honor to receive this award. George Washington Carver was a true visionary, recognizing the enormous potential of agriculture to meet all of our world’s needs,” Broin said. “At POET we follow that vision, seeking new ways to produce biofuels from both starch and cellulose as well as developing additional products and bioprocesses to replace petroleum-based products. We believe that the agricultural potential of the world is virtually untapped. The world is beginning to learn that we need to return to the sun, the soil and the seed.”

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section, added, “Jeff Broin is one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs in the industrial biotechnology sector. He ranks among the most influential leaders in agriculture as well. Biofuels have created new markets for agricultural products and rejuvenated rural America. Jeff Broin has positioned POET at the forefront of developing cellulosic ethanol and improving the economics of biofuel production.”

The George Washington Carver Award is also sponsored by the Iowa Biotechnology Association. Joe Hrdlicka, executive director of the Iowa Biotechnology Association, said, “Jeff Broin has created an environment at POET where new ideas thrive throughout the value chain of new economic opportunities for American agricultural producers and rural communities. His business model truly reflects the ideas and passion spawned by George Washington Carver a century ago.”

Jeff Broin led the growth of POET from a small 1-million-gallon facility 30 years ago to the current POET network of 28 biorefineries in 7 states with 1,800 team members. The network annually generates revenues of about $6.5 billion by producing:

  • 1.8 billion gallons of ethanol;

  • 10 billion pounds of distiller’s grain; and

  • 600 million pounds of corn oil.


Each biorefinery contributes an average of $200 million annually to its local community, and POET purchases over 600 million bushels of grain each year from more than 20,000 farmers. POET has achieved 800 percent growth since 2000.

POET’s contributions to the industrial biotechnology sector include:

  • Patented BPX process. The process uses enzymes to reduce heat in the production process and drastically lowers the plant’s energy needs. POET worked with biotech partners to incorporate additional enzyme developments that enable greater process efficiencies.
  • Branded distillers grain (DDGs). Broin’s focus on maintaining product consistency and his efforts in marketing POET’s Dakota Gold turned “by-products” into “co-products.” Today, these co-products improve economics at biofuel plants and improve nutrition for livestock producers everywhere.
  • Cellulosic ethanol. POET researched for years in its labs and at a pilot-scale facility to develop a process that uses corn stover to produce ethanol. POET-DSM, a joint venture with the Dutch life and biosciences company Royal DSM, built their first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant and opened it in 2014.


The annual Carver award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to building the biobased economy by applying industrial biotechnology to create environmentally sustainable products. It serves as a lasting memorial to the original vision of George Washington Carver who, over a century ago, pioneered biobased products, materials and energy derived from renewable agricultural feedstock. Industrial biotechnology is the modern-day equivalent of Carver’s vision.

Broin becomes the 10th recipient honored with the award; past recipients include:

  • Dr. J. Craig Venter, Co-Founder of Synthetic Genomics and Executive Chairman of Human Longevity in 2016;
  • Jonathan S. Wolfson, CEO of Solazyme in 2015;
  • Ellen Kullman, CEO & Chair of the Board, DuPont in 2014;
  • Dr. Jay Keasling, Hubbard Howe Jr., Distinguished Professor of Biochemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 2013;
  • Steen Riisgaard, president and CEO of Novozymes in 2012;
  • Feike Sijbesma, CEO of Royal DSM in 2011;
  • Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010;
  • Charles O. Holliday, Jr., chairman of the board of DuPont in 2009;
  • Dr. Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, Inc., in 2008.


All programs at the 2017 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology are open to members of the media. Complimentary media registration is available to editors and reporters working full time for print, broadcast or web publications with valid press credentials.

For more information on the conference please visit For assistance, please contact


Discover More
Washington, DC (November 20, 2020) – Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), issued the following statement after the Trump administration moved forward with its threat to impose…
"What a historic election for our country! For the first time in 120 years, American voter participation shattered many turnout records.    "At BIO we undertook an effort to mobilize and activate voters in our industry with Biotech Votes…
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today announced a new, strategic direction that will help guide it to achieving long-term goals while maintaining responsiveness to changing political headwinds. Announcing the new vision, mission and…