ALTA, IOWA — Erik Lightner has been named chief executive officer of Platinum Crush LLC, a $350 million soybean crushing plant under construction in Buena Vista County near Alta, Iowa. Platinum Crush was founded in 2021 and is run by development partners Mike Kinley and Nick Bowdish.
Mr. Lightner most recently was vice president of international construction and manufacturing at The Haskell Co. since August 2022. He earlier spent six years at Haskell as vice president and division leader of consumer products, and also spent a year as vice president of marketing and business development. Prior to Haskell he was with ADM for 21 years in a variety of roles, including director of operations for Asia Pacific, engineering director for Asia Pacific and operations and engineering director for the United Kingdom.
He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Penn State University.
“Platinum Crush will offer a market for locally grown and locally processed soybeans, plus it has the ability to be nimble to respond to market needs,” Mr. Lightner said. “I’m excited to help Platinum Crush maximize these opportunities.”
When Platinum Crush becomes operational in spring 2024, it will crush 38.5 million bus of soybeans annually, or 110,000 bus daily. It also will create 50 to 60 high-quality jobs.
Mr. Lightner said that while he has overseen many international business operations across North America, the United Kingdom and Asia Pacific, he’s looking forward to returning to the Midwest.
“My previous roles in oilseed processing and refining, flour milling, cocoa and chocolate, and corn processing have taken me all across the Midwest, including Decatur, Ill.; Kansas City; and Lincoln, Neb.; as well as across the globe,” he said. “While ADM is a massive company, many of their plants are operated and measured on their individual performances, similar to Platinum Crush.”
Platinum Crush is expected to produce 847,000 tonnes of soybean meal per year (2,420 tonnes per day) for livestock feed markets, 450 million lbs of crude soybean oil per year (1.28 million lbs per day) and 77,000 tonnes of pelleted soybean hulls per year (220 tonnes per day). The soymeal and soy hulls will be used in livestock feed rations, the company said.