ABO Announces 2021 Algae Industry Awards

algaeurope.org   Women of Algae
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) recognized the winners of the 2021 Algae Industry Awards recently, during ABO’s Annual Algae Biomass Summit. Executive Director, Dr. Rebecca White, made the announcement of this year’s outstanding leaders, companies, and innovations all at the forefront of efforts to develop new technologies and commercial markets for renewable and sustainable products derived from algae.

This year, ABO added an additional award, the Pinnacle Award, to recognize exceptional dedication and service, beyond the call of duty, to advance the algae industry. In further recognition of the inaugural winner’s service, the full title of this award was chosen going forward as the Barb Scheveel Pinnacle Award. It will be given to future recipients as the highest honor the ABO bestows on an individual or organization.

The Algae Industry Awards recognize excellence in the following areas and the 2021 winners are:


Pinnacle Award

Barb Scheveel, Administrative Coordinator, ABO
Barb is quite simply, the heart and soul of the ABO. She witnessed, recorded, and shared the story of this organization and our industry from its beginnings. Originally focused primarily on biofuels, ABO has blossomed to include all algae and all products, supporting commercialization across the various sectors. Barb has an incredible amount of institutional knowledge and memory, which she uses to solve virtually any problem. Members describe Barb as the pillar, den mother, linchpin, backbone, and most poignantly, the soul of the ABO. In the words of John Benemann, “I can say that without her, we would not be here, most likely not be at all.”


Breakthrough Product

Algae-C, API platform
Algae-C has developed a unique platform to produce important molecules for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and beauty industry using “designer algae.” The innovation allows for production of these molecules or ingredients at a low cost and in an environmentally sustainable manner. Additionally, this innovation will benefit all the algae industry as it is a platform technology that through partnerships will bring more high value products and revenue to the industry.


Product of the Year Award

PhycoTerra® ST (Seed Treatment) from Heliae
PhycoTerra® is part of Heliae® Agriculture’s microalgal product family that has been applied to over a million acres of farmland worldwide. This global impact is not only making a breakthrough for soil health and regenerative agricultural practices but helping bring microalgae to the forefront of the carbon and climate change discussions with industry leaders and policy decision makers.


Mid-Career Excellence Award

Zackary Johnson, Professor, Duke University
Dr. Johnson’s group broadly studies the abundance, diversity and activity of marine microbes, and his research focuses on the marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus. This strain is the most abundant phytoplankton in the open oceans and an excellent model marine microbe, Dr. Johnson’s group operates at the Marine Laboratory as part of the Nicholas School of the Environment, at Duke University.
 


Unsung Hero Award

Max Gangestad, Chief Operating Officer, Gross-Wen Technologies
Max has been with Gross-Wen Technologies from the beginning and has dedicated his professional career to its success. His guidance during difficult times and situations has been key to many projects, and GWT would not be where it is today if it were not for him. Max’s associates say he deserves the unsung hero award because he is the glue that keeps the team all together. If it were not for his dedication to GWT and perseverance through difficult situations, GWT would be very different today.  The success of GWT has raised the profile of algae in wastewater treatment significantly, and that is a success for the industry overall.


Outstanding Contributions to the Industry

Glenn Jensen, VP of Operations, Cyanotech Corporation
Glenn Jensen has been pioneering the commercial production of spirulina since 1984 when he became employee number three for Cyanotech Corporation on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. With the mind of an engineer and entrepreneur, Glenn’s professional career as an executive in Manufacturing and Operations has contributed to Cyanotech’s success as a world leader in the production not only of spirulina but of astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Ami Ben-Amotz, CSO of NBT Ltd., Israel, and Emeritus Professor
In 1981, Ami Ben-Amotz became the Founder and Chief Scientist of Nature Beta Technologies Ltd, (NBT), the commercial Dunaliella plant in Eilat, Israel. In 2012, he founded Seambiotic Ltd, a joint collaboration with the Israeli Electric Company using de-sulfuring coal burning flue gas and turbine cooling seawater to grow Nannochloropsis. Today, Ami Ben-Amotz is Emeritus professor of the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute, and the Weitzman Institute of Science, Israel; Chief Scientist of NBT, Israel; and Chief Scientist of Nikken Sohonsha Co., Japan.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Amha Belay, CEO, Algae4All
Dr. Belay was Sr. Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Earthrise Nutritionals for over 25 years and has been engaged in outdoor spirulina biomass production for food, feed, and nutraceuticals for over 40 years. At Earthrise, he oversaw all scientific, technical, and regulatory aspects of spirulina production. He has numerous publications, including an authoritative book on spirulina, and is considered a pre-eminent global expert in microalgae and its uses. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Applied Phycologist Award from the International Society for Applied Phycology, for his significant and continued and outstanding contribution to the field of applied phycology (the science of algae).


Leadership Through Service Award

Dr. Charles J. O’Kelly, Director of Applied Research, Cyanotech
Dr. O’Kelly received his Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Washington. His work in Hawaii began at the University of Hawaii, Manoa where he managed a 1500-strain collection of cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, and algae. His expertise extended into algal strain isolation and characterization, as well as harmful algal blooms. He served as the Director of Research for Cellana LLC before joining Cyanotech Corporation in 2015 where he founded the R&D Department and has championed its mission to support all aspects of Cyanotech’s spirulina and Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae production.


Champion of Algae Award

Mark Allen, President, Accelergy
Mark Allen is one of the founding members of ABO and has served twice as Board Chair for the organization. Over the past 15 years, Mark has been one of the most passionate and effective advocates for the algae industry. He was a key player in the founding and startup of the ABO, as well as playing an instrumental role in advancing policy efforts and helping to secure millions of dollars for the algae industry. Mark helped ABO through a time of transition, stepping in to lead the organization in the absence of an Executive Director for more than a year. He provided steady and consistent leadership for the organization, as well as serving as an enthusiastic representative of the industry in policy arenas.


 

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