Renewable fuels are a constantly changing landscape in many facets, and Ginger Laidlaw, vice president at the Alternative Fuels Council, serves as a valuable resource to those in the fueling industry. She has extensive knowledge of fuels, regulations and compliance and is passionate about her work.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard is a pretty unique federal government regulation in that it promotes locally produced fuels, provides an economic benefit to those who are blending renewable fuels, all while supporting clear air in our environment. It’s a win, win, win,” Laidlaw said.
About nine years ago, Laidlaw began working for the RIN management program under the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI) and had the opportunity to learn a lot from Jeff Hove, a renewable fuels expert who has become a fuels specialist at the Alternative Fuels Council, as well as clients who were blending. “Following PMCI, I worked at an engineering firm that worked with renewable fuel producers to register their fuel with the EPA and qualify RINs under the EPA’s quality assurance program,” she said.
Laidlaw also gained experience working as an environmental scientist at Tetra Tech, and has worked as an environmental consultant. “Reading, interpreting and applying state and federal regulations were the foundation of my experience as an environmental consultant, and it has obviously carried over into my role here with the Alternative Fuels Council,” she said.
While doing field work, Laidlaw said she learned how to be adaptive, flexible and innovative with how she collected data as well as problem solve on the fly with limited resources. “Now, it is nice to be on the side of helping clients increase profits instead of telling them we are going to do an excavation on their site to remove contamination,” she said.
Earlier in her career, Laidlaw had the opportunity to work as an environmental specialist for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “I was honored to serve as an environmental steward of my state during the floods of 2008. My position at FEMA allowed me to act as a liaison to state and local community leaders and federal agencies for practical environmental compliance applications during the recovery phase of the disaster,” she said, adding that the experience helped her become more comfortable working with the EPA and many other federal regulators.
That experience has been helpful for Laidlaw’s role at the Alternative Fuels Council, which provides compliance tools for the Renewable Fuel Standard including a RIN management system. “We often need to challenge proposed rules and the application of them to truly have a clear understanding and provide the best possible guidance to our clients,” she said.
Laidlaw said her favorite part of working at NATSO has been learning more about the truckstop and travel plaza industry, meeting and re-connecting with members, working with the NATSO staff and taking a deep dive into the fuels industry.
“I have enjoyed learning the ins and outs from the point of renewable fuel production to blending into transportation/heating oil markets, from the Renewable Fuels Standard to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard,” she said.
Because the renewable fuels industry is constantly changing, it is important to stay connected, Laidlaw said. She works to stay connected with industry leaders, producers, blenders and regulators and enjoys sharing her knowledge with NATSO members.
“The NATSO Connect conference is such a great opportunity for the Alt Fuels Council to have productive and meaningful conversations with members and exchange some really valuable insights,” she said. “Also due to NATSO’s national representation, we have great partnerships with several other key national organizations representing the fuel industry.”
Laidlaw and her husband, Jamie, have a three-year-old daughter, Rose, and a seven-year-old son, Sam. They love the outdoors and especially like to camp.
“My passion is biking, although it is hard to come by at this point in my life,” she said, adding that she has completed more than seven weeklong Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa races, which average about 500 miles. “I was part of the Dream Team that mentored at-risk youth to train and ride RAGBRAI. I also once did a 100-mile ride around Lake Tahoe to raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. It was the most beautiful way to see Lake Tahoe.”
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