Ohio State Attends First Bioeconomy Conference

Nov. 13, 2017

Ohio State Attends First Bioeconomy Conference

by Casey Needham

Over 40 Student Delegates, Faculty Mentors, and Leadership Team members of the Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE) have just returned from ABLC Next, a conference dedicated to the most important issues in the bioeconomy, in San Francisco, California. Ohio State was represented by Associate Professor Leah McHale, Ph.D., and Sustainable Plant Systems major, Keeley Overmyer.

CABLE is a nationwide organization of universities focused on training students to pursue leadership positions in bioeconomy-related careers. The Ohio State University is leading the program and overseeing a $2.8 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Overmyer is one of 20 Student Delegates, aided by a Faculty Mentor, spending a year in leadership training that includes one-on-one mentoring with current industry leaders, feedback on career preparation and academic training, internship and externship opportunities, and workshop and conference participation.

During the conference, October 16-18th, McHale and Overmyer were presented with a unique opportunity to connect with existing bioeconomy industry professionals while furthering the CABLE program goal of leadership education. ABLC Next aims to be an action event with unparalleled networking and visualization. It’s a place where industry professionals within the emerging bioeconomy can discuss the latest technology and trends.

A key benefit for the CABLE group in attending ABLC Next was the first-hand access to high-ranking executives of top bioeconomy companies and government agencies. From LanzaTech, DSM, and Aemetis to the USDA and the Department of Energy, the conference had tremendous value, especially for CABLE Student Delegates, who seek to learn more about the bioeconomy and become future industry leaders.

CABLE was created to develop bioeconomy industry leaders who will be ready to fill bioeconomy careers. Those future jobs include chemists, engineers, and scientists among others. Program Director Dennis Hall of The Ohio State University notes “The advanced bioeconomy is critical to a more sustainable future for society but largely invisible to all but few college students. The ultimate goal is to equip more students with the knowledge and leadership skills necessary for successful biobased enterprises.”

CABLE Student Delegates have been split into four Working Groups that align with their education background and professional goals. Keeley Overmyer is part of the State of the Industry Working Group that is led by two facilitators from the CABLE Leadership Team to assist throughout the year. Overmyer met her group at ABLC Next and was provided the first of many leadership development training sessions she will receive throughout her year assignment.

As Overmyer and this current cohort of CABLE Student Delegates progresses throughout the year, they will continue to receive close interaction and support from bioeconomy professionals. CABLE is intent on expanding the leadership education of students and aiding them in achieving their goals of becoming future bioeconomy professionals.