John Plaza – President/CEO/Founder
Mr. Plaza is a recognized national expert in the field of biodiesel and alternative fuels who has testified before Congressional committees and presents regularly at forums and events related to energy policy and renewable fuels in Europe, the Americas and Australasia. His expertise has been requested at global conferences to illustrate the importance of biofuels to the aviation industry, as well as the opportunities for growth with 2nd generation feedstocks.
Mr. Plaza founded Imperium Renewables in February 2004 by building Seattle Biodiesel, the first commercial scale biodiesel production facility in the Western United States. The company's core focus was to develop and build advanced technology for biofuel production which differentiated itself in the market with fuel quality, scale and sustainability.
This innovative direction helped Imperium to grow significantly over a short time period. By 2007, Imperium developed, built and now currently operates Imperium Grays Harbor, one of the largest biodiesel production facilities in the world at 100 million gallons per year.
Prior to founding Imperium Renewables, Mr. Plaza was a commercial airline pilot for 20 years, starting his career in Alaska as a bush pilot then going on to fly for Northwest Airlines for the last 10 years of his flying career.
Todd Ellis – Vice President of Sales and Business Development
Mr. Ellis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in sustainable business and economic development to Imperium's initiatives. As one of the original employees of Imperium, he has been instrumental in commissioning, staffing, and developing operational guidelines at the first biodiesel production facility in Washington.
He oversees IRI's biodiesel and co-product sales, Western State policy development, federal and state government project management, and domestic feedstock acquisition and development. Mr. Ellis works closely with local, state and federal government officials on a variety of issues affecting biofuels from the cultivation of feedstocks to downstream distribution. He has also been instrumental in developing biodiesel sales networks throughout Western States and Canadian markets.
Mr. Ellis has participated in numerous local, regional, and national biodiesel market developments and has been an active participant of the National Biodiesel Board, Washington State Ferries Biodiesel Pilot Program, Northwest Biofuels Association, and Washington State Biofuels Advisory committee. Prior to IRI, he worked as an outdoor educator with the National Outdoor Leadership School. He holds a B.A. in Humanities from Fort Lewis College and a M.A. from Antioch University Seattle's Environment and Community program.
Aaron Leatherman – Plant Manager
Aaron Leatherman is the Plant Manager of Imperium Grays Harbor. Mr. Leatherman is responsible for the overall management of plant production, quality, logistics, and maintenance departments. Mr. Leatherman manages department supervisory personnel for a positive, safe, and effective work environment. Mr. Leatherman is heavily involved with customer relations and product satisfaction. He is currently the Quality Management Representative for Imperium's BQ-9000® producer certification. Mr. Leatherman has been working with the company since its inception in 2004, and is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Biodiesel industry.
Mr. Leatherman graduated from Western Washington University with a combined bachelor's degree in Economics and Environmental Studies. Immediately after graduation, he became the first employee of the company and helped lead the development and construction of the Seattle biodiesel facility.
John Robert Gillespie – Vice President of Operations
John Gillespie joins Imperium Renewables after more than 20 years of operating and engineering experience in the chemical industry. After serving 6 years with the industry's largest design build firms, John joined Momentive Specialty Chemicals (previously Borden Chemicals), one of the largest chemical and materials companies worldwide. During his 18 years with Momentive, John served as Process Engineer, Site Leader, Regional Manufacturing Leader and most recently, Director of Production and Project Engineering for 20 plants in North America. During this time, John has led significant production and operational improvements. John holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Dayton and is a Registered Professional Engineer.