POET sends fourth mission team to Kenya

Monday, July 25, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (July 25, 2016) – For the fourth year in a row, POET team members, family and supporters traveled to Sultan Hamud, Kenya to support the all-girls boarding school Travellers’ Oasis Centre.

The mission trip, organized by the Sioux Falls-based Seeds of Change Foundation, aims to nourish the souls, minds and bodies of some of Kenya’s brightest, but most vulnerable girls by providing them with a quality, faith-based education in a safe environment. The POET team returned in June having helped staff lay the foundation for the school’s new kitchen and dining hall. They also visited the homes of several students and worked on arts, crafts and games with the 150 girls at the school.

“I’ve worked at POET for nearly 20 years and can’t think of another time in which I’ve been so proud to work for this company,” said Rod Pierson, Vice President of Operations. “A 10-day trip isn’t that long in the grand scheme of things, but those 10 days changed my heart, changed the way I interact with my fellow team members and opened my eyes to the opportunities we have to serve others.”

“There is so much need in the world, and I’m proud that we have been able to take the unique skills of our POET team members and put them to use helping girls in Kenya gain access to a brighter future,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said.

Below is a list of 2016 trip participants and locations:

• Courtney Heitkamp – POET LLC, Sioux Falls, SD
• Kate Slattery – POET LLC, Sioux Falls, SD
• Rod Pierson – POET Plant Management, Sioux Falls, SD
• Barb Nyreen – POET LLC, Sioux Falls, SD (and grandson Joe Bauer)
• Shawna VanVoorst – POET LLC, Sioux Falls, SD
• Brenda and Ben Pinkerman – Sioux Falls, SD
• Darren Youngs – Project LIBERTY, Emmetsburg, IA
• Andrew Williams – Project LIBERTY, Emmetsburg, IA
• Lisa Sprang – POET Biorefining – Hudson, Hudson, SD
• Mike Primrose – POET Biorefining – Macon, Macon, MO
• Karley Ramsey – POET Ethanol Products, Wichita, KS
• Mitch McGonigal – POET Biorefining – Jewell, Jewell, IA
• Kari Cook – POET Biorefining – Alexandria, Alexandria, IN
• Robert Upham – POET Biorefining – Leipsic, Leipsic, OH
• Nicholas Perko – POET Biorefining – Cloverdale, Cloverdale, IN
• Dana Syrus – POET Biorefining – Cloverdale, Cloverdale, IN
• Robin and Mary Herbon – Fremont Industries, Minneapolis, MN
• Abe, Diana and Juliana Hughes – Sioux Falls, SD

In years prior, POET team members built greenhouses to provide the girls with an opportunity to grow and sell their own produce, as well as a new dormitory. To learn more about the projects and how to get involved with the nonprofit Seeds of Change Foundation, please visit

About POET

POET, one of the world’s largest ethanol producers, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 28-year-old company has a production capacity in excess of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from its network of 27 production facilities. POET, through its joint venture with DSM, also operates a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit