A Potential Indicator

Hiring practices reveal a lot about the industry
| March 18, 2011

There might not be a greater indication that a biorefining company, Cobalt Technologies in this instance, is creeping closer to its true potential than by the people the company is bringing on. Andrew Meyer, formerly with one of Cobalt’s competitors Amyris, is now California-based Cobalt’s senior vice president of business development. Although Meyer got his start as a chemical engineer, and has worked with both BP and Chevron, his new role has nothing to do with technology advancement—a true testament to where Cobalt could be headed. Meyer’s main role is simple: tell the story of Cobalt. “If you think about Cobalt,” Meyer says, “it has been principally focused on the technology aspect of things, and now is starting to evolve the commercial area of the company.”

Meyer believes the company has been “flying under the radar,” and now is starting to have a “coming out party.” To this end, Meyer has been spending much of his time traveling, but not just to the main chemical companies. “It’s not only on the customer end of things, it’s also on the feedstock end of things,” he says. “It’s getting the sources of biomass waste (which the company specializes in),” adding that, “part of my role is to develop those relationships on both ends of the technology.” While Meyer believes the Cobalt story is unique, the biobutanol producer’s journey might only be part of a larger development, a more encompassing story, which ultimately could apply to the entire biorefining industry: showing that all those innovative ideas bred in the lab are finding their way into our everyday lives. 

—Luke Geiver