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.

Mike DeCamp

CEO, CoverCress, Inc.

Mike DeCamp serves as Chief Executive Officer of CoverCress Inc. He joined the company as Chief Operating Officer in 2020. Mike has over 30 years of diversified experience in agribusiness, corporate finance, law, corporate strategy, and M&A.  Mike began his career as a CPA with Ernst & Young; practiced corporate and securities law with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale in St. Louis; worked for Monsanto Company in legal, strategy and operational executive roles; founded an agricultural focused strategic advisory and transaction services firm; and lead the corporate finance, capital management, M&A and strategy functions as CFO and CIO for a production agriculture focused private equity firm in Indianapolis. Mike earned his law degree from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and a BA in business administration from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

CoverCress Logo

Neville Fernandes

Vice President, Chevron Renewable Energy Group

Neville Fernandes has more than 30 years of experience in the renewable fuels, petroleum, and chemical industries in a variety of roles, including business development, sales, marketing, EHS, and process engineering. He currently serves as Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Development for Renewable Energy Group, Inc. In this position, Mr. Fernandes provides strategic thought leadership in public policy and leads early stages of strategic business development opportunities while working closely with the REG business development and strategy teams.

Mr. Fernandes has held  managerial roles at Neste (GM & President of Neste US). Mr. Fernandes led the team that successfully commercialized renewable diesel in the US and Canada a decade ago. He also headed up the sustainable aviation fuel development project and managed the sales of sustainable aviation fuel in the US. Mr. Fernandes is a co-founder and past Chairman of the Advanced Biofuels Association based in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Fernandes holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University as well as an MBA in Marketing from the Schulich School of Business in Canada. He is also a licensed engineer with Professional Engineers Ontario.

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.

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.