I have to say I am trapped in Orlando at the ninth annual National Biodiesel Board Conference. I’m in a bar that is supposed to be a sailboat under a dome that is decked out like a rainforest.
I missed the alligator feeding. Again. I missed it the last time I came to NBB in Florida too.
Tonight at the annual Superbowl party I bumped into a bunch of people I know. And a bunch of people who know me.
Standing at the bar, waiting for a local beer to come my way, I bumped into Jim Malloy from Malloy Biodiesel in Rhode Island. He’s a distributor who built a house out of cob with the help of hundreds of volunteers. And he’s a guy who has steered his multi-generation family oil distribution business in the direction of sustainable fuel.
Jim completely “gets it.” He’s a current day Scott Nearing, without the uptight rules and regulations.
And I bumped into Mike Haas from the USDA. He’s the guy who once brought me a vial of squirrel fat for us to turn into fuel. I once made the claim in the press that I could “make fuel from a dead squirrel.” Mike was backing me up on that.
Todd Hill from Promethean Biofuels is here. He’s founded a “business to business” cooperative and is a long time survivor in this industry.
I had a great conversation with Don Scott, who manages sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board.
A common thread that winds through many of these conversations is the influence Piedmont has offered. Jim does a lot of outreach and education on his energy reduced lifestyle. And he tells me he dropped the use of Powerpoints because of us. I stand by my claim that Powerpoint is the death of public speaking, and I have no doubt that Jim can deliver a talk based on raw charisma.
Both Todd and Don have been to Piedmont, and both credit us with informing their thinking on sustainability, and on community scale production.
It’s weird. I wouldn’t think a Superbowl party in Orlando would be an affirming event for me. I don’t follow football. And I don’t frequent big fake resorts. But I have to say it is edifying to be constantly encountering friends of our project while simply waiting for a beer.
The trade show starts tomorrow. We’ll see how I feel after a day of booth duty, after which I generally find both my feet and my back begging for a break…