That is, until I worked on the ethanol account at a public relations firm. For two years, my team and I had an incredible opportunity to shape a national debate: Would ethanol be a part of our nation’s solution to our dependency on foreign oil?
The people who hired us wanted to build awareness for the corn-powered fuel and educate Americans on its benefits. It proved to be a challenge. Outside of the Midwest—where corn is hauled to ethanol processing plants and turned in to pure alcohol—it did not have much name recognition.
Until the Indy Racing League announced that all of its drivers would use 100 percent ethanol in each and every race.
The day that Paul Dana, ethanol advocate and first driver of the “E” car, was killed in a test run at Miami Homestead is firmly planted in my mind. I dropped everything to write a press release about Paul’s death and his legacy, my thoughts bouncing from the loss, to his grieving wife and their unborn child, to my need to get the facts right.