kept it low to give everyone the opportunity for ownership,” said Wendland. “Once our member/ owners numbered over 500, we became a publicly reporting company through the new rules of the SEC. The advantage of publicly reporting is that members can keep up with the company; there is openness and transparency.” Member/owners can privately trade shares on their website. Shareholders can post either a buy or sell inquiry to the group. Once a deal is made, the transfer application goes to GGE and transfers are approved at board meetings. The marketing of GGE’s ethanol is done under a marketing company called Renewable Products Marketing Group (RPMG). GGE and 15 other ethanol producers across 10 different states are part of the company. The ethanol producers pool production and have RPMG evaluate the best plant to service the customer base of blenders, oil companies and ethanol retailers. Wendland noted: “Golden Grain Energy just focuses on production. The marketing company lines up the trucks and/or rail transportation and pays us a pooled price for the ethanol.” GGE has hired a commodity specialist for the other side of its business. In addition to ethanol, the company produces both wet and dry distillers grains as a feed source for local livestock producers. The company is currently experiencing an expansion of its plant and plans to double production by May 2007. The company received its Title V permit in April 2006, allowing it to produce 150 million gallons of ethanol. In May 2006, GGE started the expansion process of building a new 40 million gallon plant onto the existing 40 million gallon plant. According to Wendland, the capacity at the original plant exceeded 60 million gallons and there are similar hopes for the new plant. “The new plant has greater effi ciencies and larger tanks and dryers,” he said. “We should have no problem maximizing our output. We have great experience optimizing production and focusing our attention on bottlenecks. We have brought refi nery processes into the ethanol industry with much success.” A recent GGE newsletter reports that much of the work currently being done for the plant Businessexcellence May 07 58 The Indeck Group of Companies is involved in the design and manufacturing of steam generation systems as required for the global ethanol industry. These include watertube package boilers, thermal oxidizers/waste heat boilers, fi retube boilers and solid fuel boilers utilizing stoker and bubbling bed technologies. In addition, Indeck also owns the largest inventory of stock boilers available for rent or purchase. Indeck Power Equipment Company “We have great experience optimizing production and focusing our attention on bottlenecks. We have brought refi nery processes into the ethanol industry with much success”
May 07 Businessexcellence Golden Grain Energy 59 expansion centers on piping and wiring. Stainless steel tanks have been completed for the fermenters, liquefaction and slurry areas. Agitators and transformers are to be delivered and installed. The new cooling tower is complete, and a contractor is on-site assembling the driers and thermal oxidizer. Corn grinders and the material handling area are complete except for some electrical work. Centrifuges have been placed, the distillation system has been placed, and all evaporators are in place, with just piping and electrical needed for those systems. Meanwhile, GGE is focused on production with an initiative in lean manufacturing. Wendland also noted that, in addition to lean, an advanced processing system installed in the plant also keeps them effi cient. “We have one of the best groups of employees that operate our facility. We are really fortunate,” he said. “Ethanol has created an overwhelming new market for corn; we almost can’t produce enough.” Wendland is glad that GGE is fulfi lling the opportunity that ethanol production brings to farming by way of market stability and profi t. “Ethanol production has a high return on investment. One bushel of corn yields 2.8 gallons of the nature to ethanol. Years ago, that ratio was more like 2.5, so technology has increased effi ciency there too,” he said. “Blenders get a $.51 credit per gallon from the federal government so that is driving growth, too.” Increased demand has also generated increased competition. “There is huge interest in building ethanol plants but older, established companies like us have claimed the best locations. Plus, the cost of building plants is at least 50 percent higher due to increased demand. Now there is a higher barrier to entry and more risk,” he concluded.