Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Blank brings more than three decades of experience in directing substantial growth, building high performance teams, and executing strategic plans.
Prior to joining Summit Carbon Solutions, Mr. Blank led the successful development of GFG Ag Services LLC, an agricultural services business connecting United States production agriculture to the globe. During his time with GFG Ag, Mr. Blank led the efforts of implementing capital through 12 strategic transactions as well as two essential greenfield projects.
In 2010, Mr. Blank was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Twin Rivers Technologies (TRT), North America, an agricultural processing company where he established and grew TRT’s organizational infrastructures and facilities.
In 2006, Mr. Blank co-founded Alternative Energy Sources, Inc., a publicly traded company founded to design, build, and own assets in the renewable fuels industry producing and marketing fuel grade ethanol and dried distiller grains for feed industry. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer directing funding initiatives and establishing a Board of Directors including a US Secretary of Agriculture and previous global President of a Fortune 500 agricultural company.
Prior to his tenure at Alternative Energy Sources, Inc., Mr. Blank progressed within Archer Daniels Midland, a $64B global business procuring, transporting, storing, processing, and merchandising agricultural commodities and products.
Mr. Blank graduated from Iowa State University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Powell has extensive global project execution and operating experience across a diverse array of energy related businesses. Mr. Powell leverages his broad project management capabilities to deliver on Summit Carbon Solutions’ mission to capture, transport and permanently store more than 10 million tons of CO2 per annum.
Most recently, Mr. Powell served as Chief Operating Officer of Greenfield Midstream, an independent midstream energy company which owns and operates pipeline, storage, and distribution assets. Prior to Greenfield Midstream, Mr. Powell was Vice President of Projects & Engineering of Liquid Pipelines for Kinder Morgan, one of the largest developers and operators of pipeline infrastructure in the US, and before that he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Hiland Partners, a diversified midstream energy company that was acquired by Kinder Morgan. Previously, Mr. Powell was with BP, where he led the development and delivery of several multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects in the US, Brazil, and Oman. Jimmy graduated from Oklahoma State University.
Mr. Vilsack is a former partner at Iowa’s largest law firm where he focused on commercial and business matters, specializing in negotiating business agreements, resolving business disputes, and advising clients about strategic legal and business issues.
Before joining the law firm, Mr. Vilsack worked as in-house counsel for MidAmerican Energy Company and as a prosecutor in the Polk County Attorney’s Office. Mr. Vilsack has considerable trial experience, having served as lead counsel in more than 30 jury trials as a prosecutor. Mr. Vilsack started his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald E. Longstaff, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
Mr. Vilsack received his B.A. from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, and he graduated with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Pirolli brings 20 years of experience of international agricultural sales and trading experience with over half his career focused on biofuels. Mr. Pirolli’s background in biofuels and entrenched industry relationships enable Summit Carbon Solutions to execute on its vision to capture, transport, and store CO2 from biorefineries, and accelerate biofuels towards net zero emissions.
Most recently, Mr. Pirolli served as Senior Vice President of Trade and Processing for The Andersons, a diverse agribusiness holdings company with biofuel, grain and agronomy assets. Prior to The Andersons, Mr. Pirolli was Vice President, Fuels at Kum & Go, a Midwest-based convenience store chain with more than 400 locations across 11 states. Mr. Pirolli began his career with ADM, where he held commercial leadership roles in grain, feed products, and renewables both domestically and internationally. Jim graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne and holds an Executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
Executive Vice President
Mr. Boeshans is a seasoned executive with a diverse background of management and operations experiences in the energy industry. Throughout his career, Mr. Boeshans has led strategic initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint and improve the competitiveness of the operating companies he has managed, including carbon capture and storage.
Most recently, Mr. Boeshans was President and General Manager of BNI Energy, a value-added energy services and infrastructure company headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, operating as a subsidiary of ALLETE, a diversified, publicly-traded energy company with a market cap of more than $3.5 billion. Prior to overseeing BNI Energy, Mr. Boeshans held multiple operations roles across the company. Previously, Mr. Boeshans held engineering and operations roles with Washington Group International, an integrated engineering, construction, and management services firm. Mr. Boeshans received his undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University and completed the University of Minnesota Carlson School Executive program. Mr. Boeshans has served on the North Dakota EmPower Commission since 2014, an energy policy commission appointed by the Governor of North Dakota. In 2018, Mr. Boeshans was named Chairman of the Lignite Energy Council. He is the Chairman of the Bismarck State College Foundation Board and was appointed to the National Coal Council by the US Secretary of Energy in 2019.
VP of Government Affairs
Prior to Mr. Ketzner’s leadership role at Summit Carbon Solutions, he founded Ketzner Strategies in Des Moines, Iowa, successfully navigating local, regional, and national clients through legislative processes. In addition to his legislative efforts, Mr. Ketzner has been instrumental in developing targeted strategies for his clients to drive stakeholder and public engagement. Prior to founding his company, Jake served as Chief of Staff for Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds, and Lt. Governor, Adam Gregg, helping steer the administration’s priorities including historic tax reform, innovative workforce initiatives, record education spending, balancing the state’s $7.3 billion budget, and expanding healthcare for farmers and small business owners.
Mr. Ketzner was a longtime aide to then Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, and Lt. Governor, Kim Reynolds, as the administration’s legislative liaison and policy advisor. Mr. Ketzner received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business.
Senior Strategic Advisor
Ms. Wyrsch, a retired chief executive, has been president of wind energy and natural gas pipeline businesses in North America, and has served as a senior executive for three major investor-owned utilities, providing both electric and natural gas services across the US. In those roles she has had oversight responsibility for the construction and operation of large infrastructure projects, including wind farms, natural gas pipelines, gas processing and storage facilities, and electric transmission and distribution. Additionally, she has had oversight responsibilities for legal and regulatory matters.
In addition to her energy company leadership, Ms. Wyrsch was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (advising the Department of Homeland Security); by President Barack Obama to the National Petroleum Council (advising the Department of Energy) and by the Governor of Wyoming to the Wyoming Energy Resources Council. She currently serves as an independent director on the boards of public companies in the energy, industrial and financial services sectors, bringing strategic, operational, legal and governance expertise to these businesses. She has also served at the executive level on the boards of the American Wind Energy Association and the Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Association.
As Senior Strategic Advisor to Summit Carbon Solutions, Ms. Wyrsch provides oversight, leadership and insight into the structure, development, construction and implementation of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project.
Senior Policy Advisor
AMB. Terry Branstad
Mr. Branstad has spent his career in executive and leadership roles at the local, state, national, and international levels. Following three terms in Iowa’s House of Representatives, Mr. Branstad was elected as Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor in 1978. In 1983, he was elected Governor of Iowa, a position he would hold for a total of 6 terms, covering over 22 years, making him the longest-tenured governor in American history. In 2017, Mr. Branstad was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. Ambassador to China, a position he held from 2017 to 2020. During his tenure, historic trade agreements were executed resulting in significant purchase commitments for the agriculture, manufacturing, and energy industries.
In addition to serving as U.S. Ambassador, Branstad has also served as the Co-Chair of the Council of Governors appointed by President Barack Obama, as Commissioner and Chairman respectively of the White House Fellows Program and Commission for Excellence in Special Education appointed by President George W. Bush, and as Trustee of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Branstad has also served on numerous corporate and not-for-profit company boards.
As Senior Policy Advisor to Summit Carbon Solutions, Mr. Branstad provides oversight, leadership, and guidance on public policy matters affecting stakeholders in the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project.