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Biogas: Our People –
Jacob Stern

September 6, 2023

We’re excited to present some of the incredible members driving our Biogas innovations. To kick off this miniseries, let’s hear from the team’s lead, Jacob Stern (VP, RNG Project Delivery).

Describe your journey to the Biogas team at Montrose:

The path from growing up in Kansas City to working at Montrose looks a little different than others within the group. After graduating from Kansas State University, I worked in operations and on projects globally with Archer Daniels Midland’s oilseed business and Koch Industries’ Ag and Energy Solutions business. Both of these organizations provided great opportunities to work with a diverse array of people and gave me wonderful perspectives on the challenges that businesses face.

My time spent with ADM and Koch showed me that industrial challenges needed people with diversified knowledge to work as a team to solve non-technical issues such as economic decision-making, enabling human action, and implementing complex project plans. The work I did was the most fulfilling when it delivered tangible value.

From these experiences, I looked at Montrose as a great opportunity to deploy these skills for a cause that means a lot to me: leading within an industry that is emerging as a solution to the global challenges of energy, water, and nutrient security.

How have you witnessed the Biogas team evolve over time?

I think that our most significant success to date has been our ability to excel in times of macro issues out of our (relative) control: the Covid-19 pandemic and the complexities of inflation and supply chain challenges.

The project team, when I joined the organization in August 2021, was focused on constructing the Dairy Manure to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) facility with Opal Fuels and initiating detailed engineering and procurement of equipment for the Del Rio RNG project. The immediate challenges of the team, for the first time, were focused on two initiatives at one time, requiring coordination of “muscles” the team hadn’t exercised before. The work that existing members did to onboard Jacob Ewers and myself to the core Del Rio project activities at the same time as commissioning the Sunoma project was outstanding.

More recently on another project, we experienced some challenges with logistical issues on electrical components. It is well known how opaque these issues tend to be and how hard it is to put forward an actionable plan to address them, but our team of engineers, project, procurement, and construction managers implemented a very intense root cause assessment and stayed resilient in removing roadblocks. The electrical work was completed safely to the satisfaction of the client.

Describe the Biogas team in one word:

Centered. The complexities of the work that we do, combined with the diversity of market, regulatory, and stakeholder needs, requires a focus on vision, team alignment, and results-oriented solutions. The team’s background and skill sets enable a culture of collaboration that feels special to us. As we continue to grow and evolve to serve the market, I know that we will adjust to meet the ongoing challenges associated with our business.

What are you most excited about for the future of the Biogas team?

I am looking forward to seeing how the lessons learned over the past five years get implemented into new projects. We are focused on process and design improvements and have made great strides in competitive procurement, construction, and commissioning strategies. Our ties to other capabilities within the broader Montrose Environmental organization such as lab testing, leak detection, permitting, and general environmental consulting is a great platform to grow. When I look at the variety of biogas projects here in the US, I think we deliver a product to our clients that is uniquely “One Montrose”. Our team is proud of the work we do, and it shows.

In the broader Waste-to-Energy/Value lens, Montrose is focused on developing a platform of solutions to address a variety of feedstocks and differentiated technologies to support an array of revenue-generating opportunities. One example of this development is the recent investment in the Swiss company TreaTech. The environment that we live in faces many challenges with soil, water, and air. We want to address these issues today and deploy solutions to build a greener future.

Jacob Stern
Vice President of RNG Project Delivery
Jacob Stern joined the Biogas team in 2021 as the Vice President of RNG Project Delivery. He has worked in the engineering field for over 15 years and holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Kansas State University.

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