Forwarding a Clean Future
Sometimes the story of an Aurora Coop employee doesn’t start with them, but before, with family connections. For Bill Gowen, VP of Energy, his connection to Aurora Coop started with his dad, who was the feed division manager in Aurora. “My dad always said I could buy anything I wanted as long as I found a way to pay for it.” With that advice in 1976, Bill got a job on the weekends and summers during high school at the Aurora station, pumping gas and fixing tires. In 1979, he came on full-time driving a propane truck and a few years later moved on to his real love – working on vehicles in the shop. Eventually, the station expanded into a service center and Bill has 42 years of service under his belt. Bill stated his purpose at Aurora succinctly:
It’s simple. Teamwork. We are tougher when we work together and find solutions for our customers and other divisions. We take whatever comes in front of us, and find a way. Our relationships with farmers is as important as finding solutions for them. Our relationship lets us focus individually on those farmers to encompass all their needs.
Clean Fuel is Now
Fuel the Cure is a Nebraska awareness promotion bringing attention to the benefits of cleaner-burning American Ethanol blends available throughout the state. For every gallon of ethanol-blended fuel – E15 to flex fuel E85 – purchased between October 1st-31st, 2020, the participating fuel station donated three cents per gallon with proceeds benefiting the Fred & Pamela Buffet’s Cancer Center. Aurora Cooperative donated $2,279 this year!
Growing our Family
During the height of quarantine, Aurora Coop, formerly partnering with Pacific Ethanol, Inc purchased the ethanol plant west of Aurora, NE giving them full ownership and brought the employees into the Aurora Coop family. For Adam Neville, the plant manager, tougher together is more than just words. “We had to shut the plant down about three weeks into March 2020 until early June. The change in ownership was amazing. The Coop is very committed to this facility and the employee group working here, and wants to see this investment run for a long time.” A facility employee since 2014, Adam said the easy transition into Aurora Coop helped him understand what it meant to truly be tougher together. Adam now has access to the Aurora Coop community and experienced workers for everyday or emergency needs and returns the favor as often as he can.
This plant doesn’t shut down for anything. It’s a 24/7 operation and doesn’t care what holiday or whose birthday it is. When something happens, we need to fix it. Now Aurora Coop works together always to help us succeed.
Growing Our Operation
This year, we purchased the remaining 74% of the ethanol plant complex from Pacific Ethanol, making Aurora Coop 100% owner. Today it is renamed Aurora Cooperative Ethanol, LLC. Included in the purchase are:
- 2 Ethanol Plants – 145 M annual production
- Grain Facility – 4.1 M bushel capacity
- Integrated rail facilities
This purchase was key to the expansion and collaboration of Aurora Coop and neighboring communities so that we can all continue to achieve success, especially in trying times.
Without our farmers, we are nothing. The relationship between Aurora Cooperative and the farmers means everything to the company. The Safety and Risk Management team works with every employee in the company. When the chips are down and catastrophe strikes, the Safety and Risk Management team shines. Being 100% injury free was definitely the goal at the beginning of the year. All operations changed due to the pandemic. Our employees did a fantastic job in accommodating the changes. We decreased the frequency of Gl/Auto/Property claims by 23% and the cost of misapplication claims decreased by 82%. Total severity actually decreased by 58% between the two policy years. Tougher together means getting the job done, together, no matter what. In the end, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and got it done.