(803) 252-7128 afoa@fatsandoils.org

Intro to fats, greases, & feedstocks

The AFOA’s first full-day educational course

October 15, 2024 – Nashville, TN

Taught by industry professionals and leaders, this introductory course is designed to provide new entrants to the business with a overview of the fats and oils industry.  From market analysis and risk assessment to the intricate processes of handling animal fats and used cooking oil to the emerging space of renewable fuels, this course covers a wide spectrum of topics essential to anyone working in this dynamic sector.  If you are looking to broaden your foundational knowledge of the industry, then this introductory class is for you!

This course strikes a balance between providing a high-level overview of the fats and oils industry and delving into the intricacies of each topic to keep participants engaged and eager to learn more.  Through interactive discussions, real-world examples, and dialogues with each presenter, participants will gain practical insights and a better understanding of the ever-changing fats and oils industry, and ways that they can get involved.

Immediately following the course, attendees will have the unique opportunity to network and forge friendships during closing reception, hosted by the AFOA.

The AFOA’s 2024 Annual Meeting will be held October 16 and 17 at the same location as the IFGF – at the OMNI Hotel.  The AFOA leadership hopes that IFGF attendees will register for the Annual Meeting and take advantage of all that the agenda has to offer – ample opportunities to connect and network, multiple engaging educational sessions/panels, and numerous occasions to build partnerships and friendships at social events.

Ready to Register?

The OMNI Hotel in Nashville will host the inaugural course on October 15.  Upon registering for the class, attendees will be sent a direct link to book their hotel room at the OMNI using the AFOA’s discounted group rate.

2024 Presenters

Jack Bandy

Jack Bandy

Executive Coach, Leadership Facilitator

Jack is an accomplished Executive Coach and Leadership Development Facilitator, with a proven track record of designing development programs for individuals and organizations. His passion for helping people find their personal way forward and achieve their goals is evident in the hundreds of people he has coached to emerge as leaders.

Jack is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF). In his spare time he enjoys reading, paddleboarding, jigsaw puzzles, and enjoying time with his granddaughter.

Jack will share his input on leadership and association and industry involvement.

Dani Charles - Veriflux

Dani Charles - Veriflux


aDani Charles is the co-founder of Veriflux, the only U.S. EPA-funded platform for end-to-end renewable traceability, circularity and bio optionality. Mr. Charles is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and technologist who has designed, developed and deployed multiple innovative solutions to solve complex technical challenges across both the private and public sectors. He has been invited to speak in front of multiple U.S. Congressional Committees, has worked closely with Federal and State government agencies, has been featured in articles, on radio and on podcasts, and is frequently asked to present in front of industry groups on topics such as renewable energy, technology and innovation.  Dani has the unique and strategic ability to apply technology and innovation to solve complex technical challenges.  Dani is also a very strong and capable leader.

Outside of work, you can find Dani spending time with his family and friends, playing competitive sports (mostly basketball, though he says his body is telling him it’s time to switch to golf/pickleball), or hiking.  Dani also enjoys a good book/podcast on history, geopolitics, or philosophy, or a biography/deep dive into a trailblazing company or innovator (e.g., Acquired Podcast).  If he’s not found doing the above, Dani is most likely cheering for the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggest, and the Colorado Avalanche.

Dani will be presenting on UCO – the definition, aggregation process, uses, regulatory information, and more.

Lindsey Chism - Norfolk Southern

Lindsey Chism - Norfolk Southern

Director of Marketing - Grain

Lindsey has worked for Norfolk Southern for over a decade.  During her time there, she has served as the Plastics/Chemicals Marketing Manager, the Corn/Agriculture Marketing Manager, the Director of Marketing for Agriculture and Consumer Products, and she now serves as the Grain Director of Marketing.

Lindsey received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Chapman University.  She is known for her leadership, marketing planning, superior negotiation, and relationship development skills.

Lindsey will be speaking on the Logistics (Land) Panel.

Jessica Hecht - MPB Commodities Brokerage, Inc.

Jessica Hecht - MPB Commodities Brokerage, Inc.

Director of Commercial Operations

Jessica plays a critical role at MPB Commodities as the Director of Commercial Operations. She brokers but also manages various customers supply chains by providing them with long term strategic planning, mid-term pipeline organization, day to day tactical execution oversight and commercial support.  Within the evolving commodities landscape, this role and her experience augments and positions MPB’s customers for the best long term strategic supply chain approach, by balancing needs and seeking to optimize economics across the industry.

Jessica’s biggest strengths are communication and her ability to collaborate. She believes that communication is key and very much enjoys advising leading companies on ways to navigate today’s logistical challenges and develop winning strategies for tomorrow’s opportunities. She benefits by adding value to a team environment by striving to be empathetic but also problem solving to find the common goal.

Jessica enjoys spending her time outside the office at the gym, both weight training and walking. She is also passionate about traveling with her family. She loves visiting new places and making memories with her husband and kids. When she is not at the office or gym, she is most likely on the sidelines cheering her daughter on at a Field Hockey game or her son at Lacrosse.

Jessica will be moderating both Logistics Panels – Marine and Land.

Christian Hildebrand - Stratas Foods

Christian Hildebrand - Stratas Foods

VP Supply Chain

Christian began his career on the trading floors of the CME and CBOT over 15 years ago. He developed and executed trading strategies around fundamentals and market dynamics in cattle, hogs, corn, wheat and the soy complex. In early 2018, he began with Stratas Foods to help lead their commodity risk management team.  As the Vice President of Supply Chain at Stratas, Christian oversees the procurement and delivery of raw materials to Stratas’ eight production facilities in the United States, plus he oversees a variety of co-manufacturing relationships.  Christian enjoys discussing the inter-connectedness of the global commodity markets and how they affect one another.  He likes to focus on fundamentals and similar scenarios, noting Mark Twain’s quote “History never repeats itself but it does often rhyme.”

Outside of the office, you can find Christian spending time with his family: wife, three children, plus one on the way!  Christian also enjoys golf, coaching his kids, and excersizing with friends.  Unfortunately, Christian has played his final competitive basketball game, but he is still a huge college basketball fan – Go Illinois!

At this year’s Introduction to Fats, Greases, and Feedstocks, Christian will be “Connecting the Dots” on Markets/Risk.

Don Johnson - BWC Terminals

Don Johnson - BWC Terminals

Vice President, Commercialization

Don received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Houston.  He has worked in the fats and oils industry for over 2 decades.  Currently, Don is the Vice President of Commerical and Business Development at BWC Terminals, where he has worked for the past seven years.  Don is responsible for developing bulk liquid storage and logistics solutions for BWC’s customers with a focus on developing integrated supply chain solutions for customers across the agriculture, refined products & petrochemicals, renewable fuels and inorganic chemicals industries.  Having decades of industry experience in trading, transportation and product distribution helps to facilitate in-depth discussion to achieve efficient and effective solutions that unlock incremental underlying value for BWC’s customers.

Don enjoys actively seeking opportunities to continue building strategic relationships with industry stakeholders, port and railroad associations and leaders in emerging markets to equip BWC with the latest information that will help facilitate continued growth of the company’s bulk liquid storage and logistics footprint.

Don will present on the Logistics (Land) Panel.

Tim Norling - POET

Tim Norling - POET

Portfolio Strategy Manager

Tim manages the distillers corn oil sales and execution for POET, the world’s largest bioethanol producer. He works alongside his team to maximize value for POET’s sustainable feedstock through various markets. Tim utilizes his agricultural background and analytical mindset to accomplish his daily tasks with his team.

Outside of the office, you can find Tim enjoying a plethora of outdoor activities with his family, row crop farming, hunting, or flying his drone.

Tim will be presenting on DCO – the aggregation process, uses, and regulatory information.

Brian Owens - PBF Energy

Brian Owens - PBF Energy

Vice President of Renewable Feedstocks

Brian is currently the Vice President of Renewable Feedstocks at PBF Energy in the Woodlands, Texas.  Brian is the President of the American Fats and Oils Association (AFOA) as well as the Immediate Past President of the National Institute of Oilseed Products (NIOP).  All together, Brian has more than 30 years of experience in trading agriculture commodities both domestically and internationally, as well as experience in supply chains, and procurement activities.

In his spare time, Brian officiates high school wrestling and lacrosse.  He also enjoys fishing and playing golf.

Brian will offer his input on leadership and association and industry involvement.

Chris Peterson - HERO BX

Chris Peterson - HERO BX


In his role at HERO BX, Mr. Peterson oversees the operation of a multi-site manufacturing backbone as well as back-of-the-house administrative functionality supporting the refineries. His focus is in commodity risk management, including procurement of raw materials and regulatory matters such as State and Federal excise taxation and EPA Clean Air Act program compliance. Mr. Peterson was hired by HERO BX in 2007 to implement a commodity risk management program prior to the startup of the flagship Erie, PA plant and has been promoted several times, finally to his current position in 2016.

Prior to joining HERO BX, Mr. Peterson was employed by Rent-Way, Inc., a publicly-held specialty retail firm as Divisional Finance Manager for nine years. In that role, Mr. Peterson was responsible for financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting, and internal financial reporting to executive management and the Board of Directors. Mr. Peterson played an integral role in attracting and securing a nearly $300 million refinance of the company’s debt in 2003. Mr. Peterson worked in a similar role for STERIS Corporation, a global manufacturer of medical equipment, for four months prior to accepting his position with HERO BX. Mr. Peterson holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees (Business Communications and Accounting) from Penn State University, and a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from Gannon University.

In his spare time, Chris can be found collecting, restoring, and racing cars.

Chris will be presenting on Renewable Fuel: Biofuel versus Renewable Diesel, value stack, carbon intensity, and the production process.

Scott Peterson - Odin Marine Group, LLC

Scott Peterson - Odin Marine Group, LLC

Ship Broker

Scott has enjoyed an accomplished 30+ year career in the shipping industry.  He is currently employed by the Odin Marine Group where he has been handling the bulk ocean/liquid freight requirements of his clients for the last 19 years.  Prior to Odin Marine, he worked at Stolt Tankers for 15 years, where he sailed as an Officer on their chemical ships, worked in port operations, ship operations, chartering, and finally as the General Manager of their offices in South Africa.

As a graduate of SUNY Maritime College, he holds a B.E. in Electrical Engineering, as well as an MBA in Finance and International Business from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Scott lives in Connecticut with his wife and three sons, and enjoys watching his sons sporting events, skiing, shooting sports, and hunting.

Scott will share his expertise on the Logistics (Marine) Panel.

Felipe Pineda - Cherokee Freight Lines

Felipe Pineda - Cherokee Freight Lines

Chief Operating Officer

Felipe Pineda is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in operations management, particularly in the logistics sector. With a background in senior operations management at Penske Logistics, Felipe has honed his skills in optimizing processes, ensuring efficiency, and driving results.

Known for his strengths in problem-solving, creativity, adaptability, and communication, Felipe has consistently demonstrated his ability to tackle complex challenges and lead teams to success. His strategic approach to problem-solving coupled with his innovative mindset has contributed significantly to the growth and success of the organizations he has been a part of.

Outside of the office, Felipe enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends. He is a passionate baseball enthusiast and enjoys following the sport closely.

Felipe will present on the Logistics (Land) Panel.

Mike Richardson - Cargill

Mike Richardson - Cargill

LCI Feedstock Trading Lead

Mike Richardson graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Sciences, Ag Economics, and Agri Business.  He began his career at CHS, Inc. as a wheat merchandiser.  Mike then transitioned to the what product line manager at West Plains Co. and Horizon Milling, LLC.  Mike now works for Cargill where he is the Low Carbon Feedstock Trading Lead.  Over Mike’s 11 years at Cargill he has worked as the senior rail merchant and tropical oils desk lead before entering his current position, building a new sector within Cargill centralized on Feedstocks for Renewable Fuel production.  Mike is also the chairman of the AFOA’s Rules Committee.

Outside of work you can find Mike spending time with his family – his 16 year old son, 12 year old daughter, and his wife of 18 years.  Mike and his family own 7 horses and they spend much of their time at equestrian competitions.

Mike will share an Industry Rules Overview.

John Robertson - American Commercial Barge Line

John Robertson - American Commercial Barge Line

Director of Liquid Sales

John works for American Comercial Barge Line and has 12 years of experience working in the Inland Waterways Transportation and Logistics Industry.  He primarily focuses on the renewable sector and shippers moving soybean oil, cooking oil, tallow, corn oil, renewable diesel, biodiesel, and ethanol.

Outside of work, you can find John spending time with his family, exercising, or playing golf.

John will offer his input on the Logistics (Marine) Panel.

Andre Thionville - Thionville Surveying Co., LLC

Andre Thionville - Thionville Surveying Co., LLC


Andre will present on the Logistics (Marine) Panel.

Trent Weatherly - Montana Renewables

Trent Weatherly - Montana Renewables

Procurement Director - Renewable Feedstocks

Most recently Trent developed a procurement program for a start up renewables plant in Great Falls, Montana, for Calumet, known as Montana Renewables.  Trent holds the responsibility for all purchases of feedstock and all logistics related to inbound products.  Trent is known to be decisive and resilient, bringing an “old school” approach to trading and excelling in challenging scenarios.

Outside of the office, Trent can be found spending time with his family, doing some work on the farm, looking for Chevrolet muscle cars, or cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Trent will be presenting on Animal Fats – sources, uses, and more.


P.O. Box 11035

Columbia, S.C. 29211


M-F: 8:30 AM – 5:00PM
Eastern Standard Time