Written by The Business Journal Staff
RUSS TEALL, PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
Education: JD from UC Berkeley; BA from UC Santa Barbara
Family: Married with two children
How did you first get involved in the biofuels business, Russ Teall?
I read an article in 1993 about a guy that went around the world in an inflatable boat running on biodiesel. I then called an 800 number in the article to find out more about biodiesel. The newly formed National Biodiesel Board picked up the phone, and ended up hiring me to do a marketing study.
What are the most important issues facing your industry today?
Conventional fuels are well entrenched with respect to regulations, making it difficult for biofuels to break in without any sort of preferences or subsidies. It is due time to create a level playing field for biofuel.
Having recently built the world’s first fully sustainable liquid biofuel facility in Fresno County, and being in the process of developing the world’s first ‘Zero Net Energy Farm,’ it appears your company is in full-blown expansion mode. Where do you see Biodico 10 years from now, Russ Teall?
In 10 years, we will see Biodico’s “Zero Net Energy Centers” (ZNECs) throughout the United States and some internationally. ZNECs produce economically viable, fully sustainable biofuel and energy based on local resources.
Did you and your company play an active role in helping to pass California’s landmark climate change laws and where does the effort to continue to reduce GHG emissions go from here?
Yes, we were involved helping pass S.B. 32 and A.B. 197 as part of a statewide trade association for biodiesel and coalition of other biofuels. The next step is to fill in the details of how the law’s goals are attained.
Do you think California would be as “green” as it is today without leadership from Governor Brown — and are you concerned that California’s next governor may not be so supportive of biofuels, Russ Teall?
Gov. Brown has been very influential implementing green initiatives in California. Biofuels will be an important part of any new governor’s agenda to support economic development, energy security and the environment.
How should GHG reduction funds be used in California?
GHG reduction funds should be spent on biofuel development in the San Joaquin Valley to support job growth and improve some of the worst air quality in the United States.
What was the best advice you ever received and who did it come from?
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life. “ Henry David Thoreau
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career, Russ Teall?
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, president and founder of the Energy and Resources Institute, and recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.
What are your roots in the Central Valley?
I started doing a bioremediation project at Red Rock Ranch with John Diener in 2003.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Russ Teall?
I was a bag boy at a department store where I learned to show up on time and work hard.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Russ Teall?
I like to go hiking in the Sierras.