The Second Michigan Forest Bioeconomy Conference

Thank you to everyone who attended!

Presentations are available now! Click here or on the top menu.

This year’s conference theme is “The circular bioeconomy – a viable path to a sustainable future”. The theme highlights both the circular nature of the bioeconomy and the critically important, low carbon contribution of renewable forest resources. The conference is designed to inform communities and businesses about the forest bioeconomy, identify challenges for researchers and policy makers and for MiFBI to receive input from sponsors and attendees to guide future actions and activities. 

White Pine Sponsors

Red Oak Sponsors

Exhibitor Sponsors

Conference Steering Committee

  • Mark Rudnicki – MiFBI (Chair)
  • Julie Manley – Guiding Green (Co-chair)
  • Charlie Becker – Weyerhaeuser
  • Rich Bowman – The Nature Conservancy
  •  Scott Herron – Ferris State University
  • Alper Kiziltas – Ford Motor Company
  • Christian Lenges – Dupont Industrial BioScience
  • Lori Phalen – Michigan Association of Conservation Districts
  • Akshay Trivedi – Lear Corporation
  • Matt VanSweden – Catalyst Partners
  • Joe Voss – Creative Many

Keynote Speakers

Mary Draves – Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, The Dow Chemical Company

Mary is responsible for managing Dow’s remediation organization and the implementation of Dow’s global remediation strategy in a safe, cost efficient manner consistent with Dow’s commitment to sustainability. Draves also acts as implementation leader for the Company’s ambitious ‘Valuing Nature’ sustainability goal, which aims to identify $1 billion worth of value to Dow from projects that enhance nature.

John Warner –  President and CTO, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC;  President, Beyond Benign

John is one of the founders of the field of Green Chemistry, co-authoring the defining text “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice” with Paul Anastas. He has published extensively on the application of the 12 principles of green chemistry and the need to incorporate them into product design and the chemistry curriculum. Because of his unique view of the chemical enterprises, formed from over 30 years of experience in industry, academia and entrepreneurship he has been asked to serve on several regional, national and international government initiatives in chemicals policy.

Plenary Speakers


Pia Qvintus, Technology Manager at VTT, program manager for Innovative Bioproducts growth, Business Finland

Pia Qvintus is working as technology manager at VTT for commercialization of biobased materials and technologies. She has been heading research organisations dealing with development of new biobased applications of forest biomass since 1994 at VTT; big research topics being nanocellulose development  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yctog3J7shk    and design driven applications of cellulose http://cellulosefromfinland.fi/design-driven-value-chains-in-the-world-of-cellulose/ . Today she works 50% of her time with Business Finland for promoting international growth of Finnish startups and SMEs  in the
field of bioeconomy.


Doug Singbeil, Sector Leader, FPInnovations, Canada

Doug is responsible for developing FPInnovations research strategy on bioproducts and understanding the needs of companies who make and use forest-based bioproducts. He has managed research and worked on projects across a wide range of diverse topics. These include economics and technical assessment of biorefineries in the forest sector, bioenergy and biofuels, energy management in pulp & paper mills.


Christain Lenges,  Business Development for BioMaterials, DuPont Industrial BioSciences

Christian is focused on the development and launch of growth businesses to make industrially important chemicals and materials from renewable feedstocks. He has experience in a variety of businesses and functions in DuPont including product & technology development, portfolio management & venture leadership.  


Alper Kiziltas, Research Scientist, Sustainable Biomaterials and Plastic Research Group,  Ford Motor Company

Alper’s work currently focuses on sustainable materials such as bio-based and recycled resins, natural fiber composites,and nanofillers-reinforced foams and composites


Sharon Tracy, Principal Researcher – Strategic Materials Development, Steelcase

Sharon is a strategic materials developer for Steelcase, bringing her knowledge of materials science and engineering as well as my previous experience in building materials, biomimicry, dental materials, and electronic materials to create work spaces of the future. 


Dave Meyer, Senior Business Development Manager, LanzaTech 

Dave leads commercial activities related to LanzaTech’s alcohol to jet technology. 
Manage customer relationships from initial point of contact to hand off to engineering,including opportunity evaluation, scope definition, and agreement execution. 


Jack Schinderle, Division Director, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Jack is the Director of the Waste Management and Radiological Protection Division at the DEQ. Jack came to the DEQ from a Chicago based environmental company 27 years ago. He has spent most of his time at the DEQ working in the waste programs on a wide variety of topics and issues. In addition, he has experience assisting the regulatory programs with compliance assistance and outreach, and supporting the regulated community with implementing pollution prevention opportunities.

In addition to the industry leading Keynote and Plenary speakers, we will have breakout sessions addressing key areas of the circular bioeconomy: Mass Timber Buildings, wood recycling/circular economy, policy needs, non-timber forest products, wood chemistry/lignin, wood energy, creative design, and supply chain,  areas that we believe are exciting and emerging areas of growth potential for Michigan. SEE LINK AT TOP OF PAGE TO AGENDA

Michigan Technological University is supporting the hosting and planning of this event (separate from any sponsorship) through its partner role in the Michigan Wood Innovation Team grant. This event is funded in part through a grant awarded by U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations to Renewable Resource Solutions, LLC. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free voice (866) 632-9992, TDD (800) 877-8339, or voice relay (866) 377-8642. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.