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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Oct. 8-9: Bioenergy Conference Speakers

Don Shelby, Will Steger among speakers to give talks free to public.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 10-1-2012

Mankato, Minn. — The International BioEnergy Days Conference being held at Minnesota State University from Sunday, Oct. 7 through Tuesday, Oct. 9 is hosting several speakers of public interest. As a service to the community, the general public is invited to participate in the following conference presentations. Admission is free.

Monday, October 8, 2012
9:15-9:45 a.m. – Colleen Landkamer; Minnesota State Director, USDA Rural Development
“Renewable Energy Spurs Job Creation and Innovation”
Ostrander Auditorium, Centennial Student Union

Landkamer was appointed by President Obama to serve as Minnesota’s USDA Rural Development State Director in July of 2009. Since her appointment, Rural Development has invested over $3 billion throughout Minnesota. As state director, Landkamer oversees a loan and grant portfolio that invests in rural housing, infrastructure, business, job creation and renewable energy. Prior to her appointment as state director, Landkamer served for 20 years as a Blue Earth County commissioner and is a former president of the National Association of Counties.

Monday, October 8, 2012
11 a.m.-noon – Fran Swain; Strategic Development Manager for POET
“The Future is Now - Integrated Biorefineries”
Ostrander Auditorium, Centennial Student Union

Dale Wahlstrom, president/CEO for LifeScience Alley (LSA) and BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota (BBAM) will lead a discussion following Swain’s talk. for LifeScience Alley is the largest state-based life sciences trade association in the U.S., and BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota is a nonprofit organization to advance bioscience-based businesses in Minnesota. Prior to this, Wahlstrom held high-level positions at Medtronic for 24 years. He serves on several advisory and governance boards and has received multiple awards in leadership excellence. In 201, Wahlstrom was selected by Twin Cities Business Magazine as one of “200 Minnesotans You Should Know.” He has 11 patents in medical device technology. Wahlstrom has a master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor’s degree in engineering and technology from St. Cloud State University.

Monday, October 8, 2012
7 p.m. – Don Shelby, BringMetheNews, former news reporter and WCCO anchor
“Breaking away: Achieving Energy Security with Renewable Resources”
Ostrander Auditorium, Centennial Student Union

Don Shelby has been a reporter and television anchor for 45 years. Before retiring from daily journalism in 2010, he worked for 32 years as anchor, investigative reporter, and environmental correspondent for WCCO-TV. He has won three national Emmys, the Columbia-duPont, the Scripps-Howard, the National Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, and has twice won the George Foster Peabody. He was honored in 1983 with the top award for investigative reporting by the International Radio and Television News Directors Association. He has been awarded more than two dozen regional top honors from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Associated Press and United Press International. Shelby is also the author of “The Season Never Ends: Wins, Losses, and the Wisdom of the Game.” Since his retirement, Shelby continues his work in environmental journalism, with work published in “MinnPost,” “Salon,” and the “Huffington Post.” He is a member of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team roundtable, and currently serves on the board of Minnesota GreenStar, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and is the Capital Campaign Chair for the Washburn Center for Children.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
8:45 p.m. -9:30 p.m. – William Strauss; President of FutureMetrics
“The Dollars and Sense of BioEnergy”
Conference Room 255, Centennial Student Union

William Strauss and his consulting firm FutureMetrics are globally recognized as the leading experts in the production and use of renewable bioenergy. Strauss is the president and founder of FutureMetrics, LLC. He is also a co-founder and a director of Maine Energy Systems. He is the chief economist for the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (Washington, D.C.) and the chief economist for the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. Strauss is the recipient of the 2012 “International Excellence in Bioenergy” award. He has master’s in business administration degree (specializing in Finance) and a doctorate in economics and earthy systems science – both from the University of New Hampshire.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
12:15 p.m. -1 p.m. – Will Steger, Arctic and Antarctic Explorer
“Linking Economics to My Personal Observations on Climate Change”
Conference Room 255, Centennial Student Union

Will Steger is a formidable voice calling for understanding and the preservation of the Arctic, and the Earth. Best known for his legendary polar explorations, Steger has traveled tens of thousands of miles by kayak and dogsled over 40 years, leading teams on some of the most significant polar expeditions in history. But what distinguishes Steger is his tireless conviction to take his eyewitness accounts and experiences from these explorations and share them with others, in order to better themselves and the environment.

Cost to attend the full conference was $325 until Sept. 21 and $400 beginning Sept. 22. The conference will begin with a kickoff open house at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7 in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom, followed by conference meetings on Monday, Oct. 8 and Tuesday, Oct. 9.

For more information, a complete conference schedule and to register to attend, call 507-389-5414 or visit the website at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, a system of 31 public colleges and universities with 54 campuses in 47 communities throughout the state of Minnesota.

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