Kelly Tiller, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Kelly Tiller is a pioneer in the development of the integrated biomass supply chain for purpose grown energy crops. Since founding Genera in 2008, she has led Genera to become the country’s leading commercial biomass feedstock supply solutions company. Engineering a $70.5 million biofuels investment from the State of Tennessee, Dr. Tiller led the establishment of the country’s largest energy crop acreage, a partnership with DuPont to construct and operate one of the country’s first cellulosic ethanol biorefineries, and development of a unique research campus focused on the biomass supply chain. Dr. Tiller received a BA in economics and MS and PhD degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Tennessee, where she was a faculty researcher and administrator for 15 years. She is widely recognized as an industry expert, having been called on more than a half dozen times to testify before Congress and frequently providing agency briefings and analyses.
Barry K. Davis, Director & Chief Financial Officer
Barry Davis brings more than 30 years of experience in public accounting, financial management, and commercial real estate development to his role as Genera’s CFO. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining Genera, he was CFO of a major commercial real estate developer and President of a local real estate investment entity. For 20 years, Davis practiced public accounting focused on providing strategic planning, capital formation and transaction advisory to clients in a wide variety of industries.
James A. Culver, Director
Dr. Jim Culver has spent his career in the fields of commodities, international trade and trade finance, in government, academia, and private sector. For the last 20 years he has focused on commodity finance and commodity project finance, primarily in mining and metals and agricultural products. Before returning to Nashville, Tennessee, Jim spent 22 years working in New York City where he most recently managed two private commodity asset based lending companies and developed hedge funds focused on commodity asset based lending for both companies. In both of these positions, Jim was intimately involved with advising and consulting with senior management of the firms he was providing financing for, including serving on corporate and advisory boards. Previously, Dr. Culver served as Chief Economist and Director of the Economics and Education Division for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) where he was responsible for market surveillance and new product approvals. Dr. Culver also served for five years on the staff of the Committee on Agriculture of the U.S. House of Representatives, the last three years as Chief Economist. In addition Dr. Culver has been an active participant in a family owned and operated business, The Parsons Group International Education Inc., a for profit educational services company that manages Business Masters Degree programs in international locations for US universities. Dr. Culver earned his BS at the University of Tennessee Martin and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He served in the US Navy and US Navy Reserves.
J. Brian Ferguson, Director
Brian Ferguson retired as Executive Chairman of the Board of Eastman Chemical Company, a leading global chemical company engaged in the manufacture and sale of a broad portfolio of chemicals, plastics and fibers, at the end of 2010, having retired as the Chief Executive Officer in 2009. Prior to becoming Chairman and CEO in 2002, his career with Eastman included service as President, Chemicals Group, President, Polymers Group, President, Eastman Chemical Asia Pacific, Managing Director, Greater China, and Vice President, Industry and Federal Affairs. Brian currently serves on the boards of directors of Owens Corning, NextEra Energy Inc., and Phillips 66; is a member of the advisory board of Myriant Technologies; and is a Trustee of The University of Tennessee. Mr. Ferguson is a past Chairman of the American Chemistry Council, and was a member of the Business Roundtable and the board of the National Association of Manufacturers, prior to his retirement from Eastman. Mr. Ferguson earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University.
John C. Thornton, Director
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thunder Enterprises, John Thornton has enjoyed highly successful careers in both real estate development and the carpet industry. Long before he began developing property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the early 1990s, Thornton founded American Rug Craftsman, the nation’s largest producer of decorative floor mats, which he later sold to MohawkIndustries in 1993. Thornton brings strong business advisory to Genera, having been recognized as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and leading companies routinely named among Inc. magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America and named Vendor and Supplier of the Year by Wal-Mart and JCPenney. More recently, he has focused on premier-property real estate development, including master planned communities, signature golf courses, hunting reserves and ranches.