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Alumnus Patrick Gruber receives Outstanding Achievement Award

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has honored Patrick R. Gruber, Ph.D., with an Outstanding Achievement Award.

An expression of high esteem, the Outstanding Achievement Award honors graduates who have attained unusual and noted distinction in their chosen fields, professions or public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership.

Gruber honored as . . .

Gruber was honored as an—

  • extraordinary visionary whose creativity, tenacity, and strategic business acumen in developing and commercializing green chemical production processes for renewable, plant-based products has transformed an industry;
  • a revolutionary scientist whose paradigm-shifting contributions to the field of industrial biotechnology have been recognized with the Presidential Green Chemistry Award, the Discover Award for Environmental Innovation, the Lee W. Rivers Innovation Award, and the inaugural George Washington Carver Award from the Biotechnology Industry Organization recognizing significant contributions by individuals in the field of industrial biotechnology; and
  • a transformational leader whose ability to make cross-disciplinary connections in identifying business opportunities, and to translate ideas into actionable plans, has inspired teams of scientists and engineers to exceed their own expectations in creating products and processes for a more sustainable society.

About Patrick Gruber

Gruber earned a doctorate in chemistry and a master's of business administration from the University of Minnesota. He obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology from the University of St. Thomas.

He is chief executive officer (CEO) of Gevo, based in Englewood, CO, a leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company. Prior to joining Gevo, Gruber was the president and CEO of Outlast Technologies, Inc. and held several general management positions in technology and business development for Cargill, Inc. He also served as president and CEO of Lactech, a technology development company, and was one of the founders of NatureWorks, LLC, where he was the vice president of technology and operations and the chief technology officer.

He is an award-winning scientist and a leader in the field of industrial biotechnology, including its applications to biological engineering, environmental science, biorefining, and biobased products. He is credited with inventing a commercially viable process for producing polylactic acid (PLA)-a biodegradable plastic made from corn. He is named co-inventor on 48 United States patents related to the production of PLA. In recognition of his innovative inventions, Gruber was inducted into the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.


As an example of Gruber's groundbreaking research and innovation, Gevo recently received a $5 million grant from the Department of Agriculture for the development of biojet fuel from wood and wood waste in the Pacific Northwest. Gevo has been awarded a contract to supply up to 11,000 gallons of an alcohol to jet fuel to the U.S. Air Force. The fuel will be used to support engine testing and a feasibility flight demonstration in an A-10 aircraft.


Gruber has served as a member of the Bioenergy Technical Advisory Committee for the Energy Future Coalition. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Outlast Technologies, Gevo, Segetis, and Green Harvest Technologies. Gruber has also served as a member of the Federal Advisory Committee for Biomass R&D and the Advisory Committee for the Energy Future Coalition.

Patrick Gruber receives his Outstanding Achievement Award from University of Minnesota Regent Richard Beeson, Thursday, September 29, 2011.