Emperor of Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

Ron Fagen Fagen Here’s a nice column from Pioneer Press on Ron Fagen, founder of Fagen, Inc, one of the largest ethanol design/build firms in the country.

According to the piece, Brian Jennings, executive director of the American Coalition for Ethanol in Sioux Falls, S.D., says Fagen’s company is building seven of every 10 ethanol plants in the country. “Ron and his company are central to the U.S. ethanol industry,” says Jennings.

Fagen is an unabashed cheerleader for ethanol. “I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to the farmer since the combine,” is a favorite phrase of his.

Ethanol’s been a very good thing for Fagen Inc., too. The company expects to record sales of at least $750 million for the fiscal year ended Saturday, up from $420 million in 2005. Ron Fagen projects sales of around $1 billion for fiscal 2007. He says the company has enough backlog to stay busy until 2010.

Fagen Inc. has built 46 ethanol factories. Another 27 are under construction, and nine more are slated to begin rising by the end of the year.

But Fagen’s bet on ethanol doesn’t end there. Ron Fagen is a cofounder and 25 percent owner of US BioEnergy, an ethanol manufacturer that has its main offices in Inver Grove Heights. Two months ago, US BioEnergy disclosed plans to raise up to $300 million in an initial public offering. Fagen also has equity stakes in all the ethanol plants his company has built since 2001.