Archives: Management Profile

Paul Sheffield, Chief Commercial Officer

Paul Sheffield, Chief Commercial Officer

As Drax expands its global presence and identifies international opportunities the role of our commercial teams becomes even more important. Maximising the value of the biomass and renewable power produced from the Drax portfolio is achieved through three key functions; the Biomass Sales and Customer Logistics function which manages the supply of our Biomass products to our large customers across Europe and Asia, the Trading and Optimisation function which trades and manages the fuel and power commodity in the UK energy markets, and the Customers business which supplies renewable energy and decarbonisation services to our large portfolio of business customers in the UK.

These three areas come together under Paul’s leadership and are aligned to deliver the Drax purpose and ambition, to be carbon negative by 2030, and enabling a zero-carbon, lower cost energy future. Together, they support a renewable energy system and support businesses to achieve their commercial and sustainability goals through the use of Biomass and renewable energy services. Biomass Sales to third parties is an important function in this as we seek new markets and opportunities for bioenergy and sustainable biomass globally.

Paul joined Drax as Chief Operating Officer, Haven Power, in May 2017, bringing extensive experience of the energy sector, across trading and retail over a 20+year career.

Appointment to the Executive Committee:

  • August 2019

Matt White, Executive Vice President, Pellet Operations

Matt White, Executive Vice President, Pellet Operations

Matt White is Executive Vice President with Drax, where he leads the Pellet business.  At the beginning of 2020, Matt joined Drax from Rockwater Energy, where he was Director, Manufacturing & Engineering. Matt’s 30+ year career has been in manufacturing management helping organizations grow and adapt to change, while increasing safety and efficiency by developing high-performing teams.  Matt holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and has worked in a number of sectors including Air Products and Chemicals, and Solvay.

Appointment to the Executive Committee:

  • October 2021

Forest Research

Forest Research

Forest Research works for and with UK government departments and devolved administrations, forestry and land management stakeholders, environmental NGO’s, the European Union and internationally.

Forest Research’s objectives include:

  • Providing evidence and expertise to inform the development and delivery of UK and European forestry related policies
  • Providing innovative applied research, development, monitoring, scientific services, forestry data services and professional training to UK, European and international forestry stakeholders
  • Facilitating knowledge exchange directly, and/or in partnership with others, to UK, European and international audiences
  • Working in partnership with others to promote the development and uptake of tree and forest science expertise

Forest Research’s work is founded on the principle that research and evidence are central to informed policy-making and sustainable land management practices. Its priorities are to provide the science and evidence to: protect its trees and forests; enhance forest ecosystem resilience and service provision; ensure sustainable management and adaptation of its forests to climate change; effect knowledge exchange and; grow its business.

Forest Research has joined Drax’s Independent Advisory Board on Sustainable Biomass as an ex-officio observer. This means it participates fully in the activities of the board but plays no role in shaping recommendations to Drax.

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Professor Sir John Beddington

Sir John Beddington

John Beddington started his studies initially at the LSE where he took a BSc and MSc.  He then moved to Edinburgh to do a PhD in what was then the rather new discipline of Mathematical Ecology. His academic career was initially at York University and subsequently at Imperial College. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001 and appointed CMG in 2004.

He was from 2008 until 2013 the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) reporting directly to the Prime Minister.  As GCSA, he was responsible for increasing the scientific capacity across Whitehall by encouraging all major departments of state to recruit a Chief Scientific Adviser.

During his time as GCSA he set up the Scientific Advisory Group in Emergencies (SAGE) that reported to the COBRA committee.  He ran the Foresight Team that reported on such varied issues as Food Security, Climate Change Threats and High Speed Financial Trading and was responsible for reviews on inter alia Nuclear Energy, High Speed Computing in Climate Science and the Scientific Contribution to National Security.

A specialist in the application of economics and biology to problems in the management of renewable resources, John has also advised other national governments and international bodies including the Australian, New Zealand and US Governments, the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 2010 and in June 2014 received The Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government.

Currently, John is Senior Fellow at the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Natural Resource Management at Oxford University. Amongst other activities he also chairs the Boards of Rothamsted Research and the Systemic Risk Institute at the LSE and is President of London Zoo. He was a former Non-Executive Director of the Met Office and a Trustee of the Natural History Museum. Note: John Beddington does not have a website.

Dr Virginia Dale

Virginia Dale

Virginia is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. She is a Corporate Fellow Emeritus with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where she worked for 34 years in the Environmental Sciences Division.

Virginia has served on national scientific advisory boards for five agencies of the United States and several committees of the National Academies of Science. She has authored 11 books and more than 250 published articles.

Virginia’s interests include sustainability and ecosystem management in the context of large disturbances and climate change. She was among the members of the international science community that contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Scientific Assessment that in 2007 received with Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was selected as the Distinguished Landscape Ecologist of the US chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE) in 2013. She was the 2006 Distinguished Scientist for ORNL, YWCA of Knoxville Tribute to Women Finalist in 2006, distinguished alumnae of her high school in 2004, and Top Citizen of Oak Ridge in 1999.

Virginia has a BA and MS in mathematics from the University of Tennessee and received her Ph.D. in mathematical ecology from the University of Washington.

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Professor Sam Fankhauser

Professor Sam Fankhauser

Sam is Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, both at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also an Associate Director at economics consultancy Vivid Economics and a Non-Executive Director of CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution. He is a member of Climate Strategies and the Editorial Board of the journals Global Environmental Change, Climate Policy and Global Sustainability.

His research interests include: the economics of adaptation to climate change; climate finance and the functioning of carbon markets; and climate change policy in the UK.

Previously, Sam worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility. From 2008 to 2016 he was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change.

Sam has studied economics at the University of Berne (Switzerland), the London School of Economics and University College London.

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Lord John Krebs

Lord Krebs

John is prominent scientist and public administrator who has held many influential positions. Since 2007 he has served as a crossbench life peer in the House of Lords.

John was a member of the independent, statutory body the Committee on Climate Change, and Chairman of its Adaptation Sub-Committee, from 2009 to 2017. He served as Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010 to 2014 and Chairman of the UK Science and Technology Honours Committee from 2008 to 2014. He was President of the British Science Association in 2012. He took up the chairmanship of the National Network of Science Learning Centres in 2007. From 2000–2005, he was the first Chairman of the British Food Standards Agency. He was the Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council from 1994 to 1999.

From 1988 to 2005, he was a Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. Prior to this he held academic posts at University of British Columbia and the University College of North Wales and the University of Oxford. He was also Principal of Jesus College, Oxford from 2005 to 2015.

His research career revealed insights into the behaviour, population biology and neuroscience of birds. His seminal contribution proved that bird species that store seeds for the winter have remarkable spatial memory, enabled by an enlarged hippocampus in comparison with other bird species. His publications include more than 130 refereed papers, 5 books, and 130 book chapters, reviews, or popular pieces.

John has an MA and a DPhil from Oxford University.

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Ms Elena Schmidt

Elena Schmidt

Elena leads the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standards and policy unit. A crucial part of this work is building consensus in sustainability standards development in partnership with more than 100 organisations and companies from all sectors and all regions of the world.

Elena has 10 years of experience working with biomass, biofuel and biomaterialsustainability standards, greenhouse gas assessments and certification. Prior to the RSB, she worked for an international certification body, where she was responsible for innovation management and programmes related to biofuel sustainability certification, green electricity labels and carbon footprints.

She has also served as a technical advisor at the Alternative Fuels Task Force (AFTF) and Fuel Task Group at the International Civil Aviation Organization, and as a sustainability consultant. She regularly speaks at international conferences.

Elena has two master’s degrees in environmental and political sciences.

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Esa Heiskanen, Chief Officer Capital Projects

Esa Heiskanen, Chief Officer Capital Projects

Esa joined Drax in September 2019 as Chief Officer Capital Projects.

He has over 25 years’ experience in the energy industry, and prior to joining Drax he was Director of Strategy, Market Development and Asset Performance for Centralised Generation at Engie.

He has extensive knowledge of project leadership of new build gas, co-generation, and nuclear power plants together with the associated infrastructure, engineering, licensing and supplier logistics, and has also led the establishment of a new energy company in Asia.

Appointment to the Executive Committee:

  • September 2019