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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the President’s Events Today in Missouri and Illinois

12:20 PM (TOUR)//1:00 PM (REMARKS)

The President will tour POET Biorefining in Macon, MO and talk to workers about what they are experiencing during these tough economic times and share ideas for rebuilding our economy in the long term.  Secretary Vilsack will accompany the President on the tour.  The audience will be made up of approximately 70 employees and 30 White House guests.

Elected Officials Expected to Attend

Governor Jay Nixon
Secretary of State Robin Carnahan
Attorney General Christ Koster
Mayor of Macon Doug Bagler

Tour Guide

Steve Burnett, General Manager, POET Biorefining – Macon, will lead the tour.

Steve Burnett has been the General Manager of POET Biorefining – Macon for 10.5 years, assuming his present position half way through the construction phase of the plant, in October, 1999.  He was fortunate to be able to hire every person who has ever worked at the plant, an accomplishment many managers never get to achieve in their entire working lifetime.  Steve has seen this ethanol refinery’s production increase from 15 million gallons per year, to its present 46 million gallons per year of ethanol. Steve’s experience includes 35 years of managing people and processes.  His background includes management positions in the feed milling and food processing industries, plant and utility construction, as well as a 7 ½ year stint with the USDA – Soil Conservation Service.  Steve is a 1974 graduate of Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, with a Bachelors degree in Agri-Business.  The Burnetts live on a small hay farm in Macon County. 


Provided by POET

POET Biorefining – Macon produced its first ethanol in May of 2000, starting with an annual production capacity of 15 million gallons. Three years later, the plant expanded its capacity to 46 million gallons per year and added the production of Dakota Gold Distillers Grains and carbon dioxide. The Macon facility was the first ethanol plant in the state of Missouri and currently employs 45 people.  A partnership between the plant and Macon Municipal Utilities, that started in 2003, earned an EPA ENERGY STAR AWARD for Combined Heat & Power (CHP) in 2007.

The plant purchases 16 million bushels of corn from 650 local farmers, which annually produces:

  • 46 million gallons of ethanol, which primarily goes to St. Louis and Palmyra, MO
  • 140,000 tons of high protein animal feed, called Dakota Gold distillers grains, that is sold to area farmers
  • 94,000 tons of C02 which is sold to soft drink companies, food processers, water treatment facilities – to name a few

For more information, visit

4:00 PM

Later in the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks on the urgent need to pass financial reform and discuss how strong Wall Street reform will protect American families on Main Street in Quincy, IL at the Oakley Lindsay Civic Center. There will be approximately 2,000 people in the audience. 70% of the tickets were distributed Tuesday on a first come, first served basis. The other 30% were distributed by the White House to elected officials, community leaders, etc. 

Elected Officials Expected to Attend

Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias
Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Secretary of State Jesse White
Comptroller Dan Hynes
Speaker of the House Michael Madigan
Mayor of Quincy John Spring


Pastor James Hailey will deliver the Invocation.

James is the pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church located at 905 Oak Street, Quincy.  Pastor Hailey has been pastor for the past four years.  Prior to his Quincy assignment he served as pastor in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Stacey Staff will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

Stacey, wife and mother of three, is the daughter of Quincy Mayor John Spring and is very active in the Quincy community.

Monica Scholz will sing the National Anthem.

Monica is the Music Director for Quincy Notre Dame High School.  She also serves as the Music Director for St. Peter Church in Quincy.  Monica is very active in civic and arts organizations in the Quincy community, particularly with the Quincy Community Theater.

Secretary LaHood and Secretary Vilsack will both deliver brief welcome remarks.