BBI International co-founder, ethanol industry veteran dies

Posted July 13, 2009, at 2:05 p.m. CST

With great sadness, the family of BBI International President and co-founder Kathy Bryan announced Monday that the well known ethanol industry veteran died Saturday at her home in Salida, Colo., after a hard fought battle with cancer. Bryan, 63, was the publisher of Biodiesel Magazine, Biomass Magazine and Ethanol Producer Magazine, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the latter for several years.

Kathy was born Aug. 29, 1945, in St. Petersburg, Fla., to Weldon and Verla Hulse and was youngest of two children, the eldest being her sister Barbara. She graduated from Mound High School in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota. Kathy married Rudiger Graf in 1966, with whom she raised six children on a small farm in Watertown, Minn. Kathy remarried in 1992 to Mike Bryan and lived in St. Louis before moving to Cotopaxi, Colo., where they lived for seven years before taking up residency in neighboring Salida.

Together, Kathy and Mike co-founded BBI International as a renewable fuels consulting business. The global headquarters was in Cotopaxi for seven years before the business relocated to Salida in 2004. Kathy played an instrumental role in shaping the company into a leading international publications, conference and technical services company for the bioenergy industry. She was a well-known and respected figure in the renewable fuels industry and instrumental in the growth of the renewable fuels movement in the United States and around the world. She was an influential member of numerous industry, agricultural and environmental committees and organizations. Her passion was to forge relationships between industry and communities to help grow rural economies and protect the environment.

In May of 2008, Kathy was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer, which ultimately took her life. She is survived by her husband, Mike; six children, Stephanie, Angela, Nicole, Edric, Gabriella and Ariana and three step-children, Randy, Joe and Tom; 14 grandchildren; sister, Barbara; two nieces and a nephew, Christiana, Erika and Benjamin.

She was loved by all who knew her and left a legacy of "doing the right thing," undying enthusiasm, and deep respect and support for all she knew-family, friends, colleagues and community alike. Her spirit will live on forever.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Steam Plant Theater in Salida on Sunday at 3 p.m. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers and gifts, those who would like to make a contribution to Kathy's Memorial are encouraged to send funds to "Kathy Bryan Memorial Fund," Collegiate Peaks Bank, P.O. Box 1226, Salida, CO, 81201, phone: 719-539-1308. All proceeds will be donated to the Chaffee People's Clinic, which provides quality health care for people who live or work in Chaffee County and have low-income and no health insurance.

Please visit to read our in-depth story on Kathy's longtime commitment to renewable energy, her life, and her lasting legacy to the biofuels industry.