Lincoln, Neb. – When Steve Sorum took a job with the Nebraska Ethanol Board in 1978, there was no ethanol fuel industry. Thirty-nine years later, Nebraska has 25 ethanol plants producing more than 2 billion gallons annually and he is saying farewell.
When Sorum, a native of Alliance, Nebraska, finished school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he was looking for employment. Ron Kelly, a family friend and member of the first Ethanol Board, mentioned they were looking for someone “with a working knowledge of state governments.” Having worked for the Nebraska Legislative Council all through school, Sorum thought he could contribute.
His first decade with the Nebraska Ethanol Board included legislative and regulatory work across the country.
“The goal was to obtain state and federal approvals for this ‘new fuel,’” Sorum said. “As national markets developed, our goals shifted to helping Nebraska become a major ethanol producing state.”
And it did! In 2015, the value of the state’s ethanol industry passed the $5 billion mark.
Recently, Sorum was recognized for 39 years of service with the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He will retire Feb. 17. In retirement, he plans to work on a Nebraska ethanol history project, golf and spend time with his wife, Cindy; his daughter and her spouse, Sarah and Greg Petner; and his grandchildren, Jack and Mia.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the people I’ve worked with throughout the years with the board,” Sorum said. “Under Todd Sneller’s leadership, the board has been vitally important in getting ethanol into virtually every gallon of motor fuel sold in the U.S. We take great pride in that.”