Advisory Board

Steve Csonka

Executive Director, CAAFI
Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

Steve Csonka is the Executive Director of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) where he leads this public/private consortium working toward the development, introduction and wide-spread commercialization of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) for the entire aviation enterprise. With over 27 years of broad airline and aviation OEM experience prior to taking the helm of CAAFI in 2012, Csonka is a strong industry advocate who seeks pragmatic solutions to the challenges of aviation growth – resulting in his current focus on SAF as the leading technology to allow for the near-term decoupling of carbon growth from operational growth.

Gary Haer

Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Renewable Energy Group (REG)

Mr. Haer serves as Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Renewable Energy Group and is a past Chairman of the National Biodiesel Board. As Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mr. Haer is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining effective and profitable biodiesel sales and customer service with biodiesel customers, distributors and manufacturers. Mr. Haer earned his Bachelor’s degree from Northwest Missouri State University and an MBA from Baker University.

Lauren Lurkins

Director of Environmental Policy, Governmental Affairs and Commodities Division
Illinois Farm Bureau

Lauren Lurkins serves as the Director of Environmental Policy in the Governmental Affairs and Commodities Division and has held that position since May 2013. In that position, Lauren is responsible for advocating on behalf of the organization in the promulgation, implementation and enforcement of environmental regulation impacting Illinois agriculture.  Lauren maintains liaison with various state and federal agencies, and develops and coordinates the organization’s environmental programs, communications and information. Beginning in 2006, Lauren practiced environmental law with the law firm of Hodge Dwyer & Driver in Springfield, IL.  Her previous experience includes both enforcement defense and legislative/regulatory work in all areas of environmental law on behalf of a variety of clients, including agricultural businesses and individual farmers. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Saint Louis University and earned her law degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law, with a focus on environmental law. Lauren and her husband, Matt, have one daughter, Caroline and one son, Julian.  They live in Bloomington, IL.

Jerry Steiner

CEO, CoverCress, Inc.

Jerry Steiner has been CEO of CoverCress Inc since early 2015. Prior to CoverCress Jerry was EVP for Monsanto, focused on Global Corporate Affairs including government industry and public affairs sustainability and new business models for soybeans. He spent 30 years at Monsanto and two years with the genomics startup Celera. Jerry served on the Boards of numerous industry organizations including BIO, and was aFounder of various agricultural sustainability initiatives such as Field to Market. Jerry grew up on a Wisconsin farm, received a BS in Ag Economics from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from Washington University in St Louis.

Alan Weber

Agricultural Producer
MARC-IV, Founding Partner

Mr. Alan Weber is a founding partner of MARC-IV, a consulting company that fosters the development of bio-based innovations that benefit agriculture and enhance our environment. Active with biodiesel commercialization activities since 1991, Weber assisted with the establishment of the National Biodiesel Board’s (NBB) Washington, DC office in 2006-07 and continues to provide economic & technical support to their efforts. He was appointed by the U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture and Energy to serve on the Biomass Research & Development Initiative Technical Advisory Committee in 2012. In addition to his activity with MARC-IV, Weber operates and manages his family’s farm in central Missouri. He completed his undergraduate and graduate training in agricultural economics at the University of Missouri.