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New CVEC top exec no stranger to the industry

By Tom Cherveny

West Central Tribune

BENSON -- Mike Jerke will succeed Bill Lee as the general manager of the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, the company announced.

The company operates a 48 million-gallon-a-year ethanol plant in Benson, is the majority owner of Frontline BioEnergy LLC and recently joined as one of nine owners purchasing the 100 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Janesville.

Jerke brings seven years of experience in ethanol plant management with Quad County Corn Processors, a 29 million-gallon-per-year, farmer-owned ethanol company located in Galva, Iowa.

He began serving as the plant's general manager in 2001, and led it through construction, startup and the subsequent seven years of operation. He currently serves as vice president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, as director of the Renewable Fuels Association and as the chairman of the Renewable Fuels Foundation.

Jerke previously held management positions with several cooperative grain companies in Iowa and Illinois. He is a 1989 graduate of Iowa State University with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business management.

Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company Chairman Dale Tolifson said Jerke has "a strong combination of ethanol industry experience and farmer cooperative values that make him a good fit with our company."

Jerke will begin his new role in mid-October.