Sather entered the ethanol industry after retiring from a career in education in Wisconsin. He became a founding member of Ace Ethanol in Stanley, Wisc., and served as the Director of Government Relations for 17 years. Sather served on committees and boards at the national, state, and local levels, including both the Renewable Fuels Association and the American Coalition for Ethanol. Bob was born in Eau Claire, Wisc. in 1934, and he and his wife, Ruth, recently celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary.
As a tribute to Bob Sather, the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) is renaming its annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC) scholarship, which pays for students to attend the NEC, as the “Robert Sather Memorial NEC Scholarship” in his honor. Bob represented Ace Ethanol on the RFA board for more than a decade, and was the RFF chairman for many years.
“It is only fitting that we rename this scholarship in Bob’s honor, as he was primarily responsible for creating the NEC scholarship when he served as chair of our foundation,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “As a director of financial aid for the University of Wisconsin system, Bob helped many students achieve their goal of going to college. But to Bob, helping young people learn and pursue higher education wasn’t just a job—it was a lifelong passion that began with his first job as a math teacher. Bob brought that passion for learning to the ethanol industry and RFA, where he helped guide our foundation’s educational programs and encouraged greater outreach to students of all ages. We will miss Bob’s sharp wit, his creative ideas, and his leadership. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s wife, Ruth, and the rest of their family, as well as the entire team at Ace Ethanol.”
At the 2019 National Ethanol Conference, I had the opportunity to interview Sather about the future for cellulosic ethanol and how the ethanol industry has grown over the years.