Fred Potter - In Memorium
"Those of us who worked him as a professional colleague and, more importantly knew him as a friend, are blessed and very fortunate. And both those who knew him and many who never met him will continue to benefit tremendously by his work to build a better energy future for America."
— Charles T. Drevna president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
(formerly NPRA - National Petroleum Refiners Association)
HOUSTON (Feb. 21, 2012) - The Hart Energy board of directors today announced the death of the company's executive vice president and board member, Mr. Frederick L. Potter. Fred died Saturday, February 18, following a two-year battle with cancer.
"This is a sad day for the Hart Energy family," said Richard A. Eichler, the company's vice-chairman and CEO. "We have lost a leader, my partner in building our business, and a uniquely inspiring individual."
The White House, Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), and leading energy companies worldwide all called upon Mr. Potter to provide insightful analysis on motor fuels, refining and air quality issues. He served as chairman of the United Nations Alternative Octane Working Group for worldwide lead phase-down and sulfur reduction as part of the UN - U.S. EPA Partnership on Clean Fuels and Vehicles. In December 2010, he was recognized by the EPA for his life-long contributions to advancing clean fuels.
According to C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel and U.S. ambassador to the European Union, "Fred Potter was one of the most beloved figures in an otherwise tough town. He did more professionally to bring oil and auto industries into the 21st century of clean air, facilitating an era of cooperation unheard of for decades before he came on the scene."
"His contribution to the environment was thus singular — unmatched by any individual I know or, I am tempted to add, any organization," Gray said. "He was not known to the wider public, but for the world he so influenced he will never be replaced."
Mr. Potter directed and provided professional contributions to Hart Energy's global research and analysis team responsible for global crude, motor fuels, renewable fuels, biofuels, and refining technology analysis. Throughout a distinguished 30-year career in Washington, D.C., he established himself as one of the world's leading proponents of clean fuels research.
"Fred Potter was so much more than one of the world's top experts on fuels. He was a leader passionately committed to strengthening our industry, the nation, and to serving everyone who relied on Hart Energy as an important source of information and analysis," said Charles T. Drevna, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers — formerly the National Petroleum Refiners Association (NPRA).
"Those of us who worked with him as a professional colleague and, more importantly, knew him as a friend, are blessed and very fortunate," Drevna said. "Both those who knew him and many who never met him will continue to benefit tremendously by his work to build a better energy future for America."
"Fred has been a bridge connecting the environmental needs of our society with the industrial reality of oil refining," said Thomas O'Malley, chairman of PBF Energy. "His practical approach resulted in more progress on the environmental front than any of us could have imagined. All of us at PBF will miss Fred and will always remember he represented the smiling face of the possible."
Bill Klesse, chairman of the board, CEO and president of Valero Energy Corporation, said, "His leadership and commitment to our industry and for finding solutions between industry and regulators will be impossible to replace. We have all lost a terrific friend."
"Fred Potter remained a stalwart of peace and sobriety. He engaged the parties on so many issues involving sensitive and conflicting points of view. I knew him for years, and yet, I did not know his politics. Or his critics. Or anyone who disliked or did not respect Fred," said William K. Reilly, former EPA administrator (1989-93). "Remaining relevant and fully in the game of controversial issues while keeping the high regard of all parties is highly unusual. But then Fred was a highly unusual person."
Hart Energy's board of directors has established a $1 million trust to provide for educating Mr. Potter's children. "Fred's enormous contribution to Hart Energy over the years is now being returned with the outpouring of care and affection for the Potter family by the Hart Energy family," said the company's Chairman of the Board George Wiegers. "The dedication of a memorial fund by the company is a tribute to Fred, a fitting response for his efforts on our behalf."
In September 2011, Hart Energy recognized Mr. Potter's 30-year career during a gala dinner at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The commemorative video presentation prepared for that event can be viewed at hartenergy.com.
A memorial service will be held at noon, May 12, 2012, at the family's property, 3501 Mill Creek Road, Haymarket, V.a (details will be posted at hartenergy.com). Interment will be private. In lieu of gifts, the Potter family requests donations to a fund in Fred's memory benefitting The Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars (twc.edu).
The Washington Center is a nonprofit leader in experiential education for college students in the nation's capital; its programs foster leadership development and civic engagement. Via the Center, Mr. Potter interned at the U.S. Department of Energy, an experience which launched his energy and environmental policy career. Over the years he hosted and mentored Washington Center interns; served as a guest lecturer to intern groups; provided scholarship support to needy students; advised the organization on ways to promote awareness of environmental issues with college students; and ultimately served on its board of directors for more than 15 years.
Mr. Potter founded Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) in 1981, a strategy and analytical consultancy specializing in legislative, regulatory, and market issues affecting the global motor fuels and refining industry. Hart Energy now operates all IRI businesses.
As executive vice president, Mr. Potter was responsible for creating many of Hart Energy's publishing ventures, including FUEL magazine (formerly Fuel Reformulation) and expert newsletters such as Ethanol & Biofuels News, Diesel Fuel News, and Global Refining & Fuels Today. Under his leadership, Hart Energy established its International Fuel Quality Center, a data and consulting service for refiners, automotive manufacturers, and policy makers, and its Global Biofuels Center. Mr. Potter also launched the company's World Refining and Fuels Conferences in Houston, Washington, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, and adjacent to the NPRA's Annual Meeting (each spring) in the United States.
Mr. Potter earned his bachelor's degree in economics and history from the State University of New York, Oswego (1980). He and his wife, Michelle, were married in 1991 and have four children. His family resides in Haymarket, Va.
- "Commenting about a five set match in tennis, someone recently said 'in the fifth set it is not about skill, it is about heart'. The same can be said about Fred Potter. Always upbeat, always enthusiastic, always ready to go the extra mile. Fred really showed what he was made of in his "fifth" set. He never stopped thinking about what he could do for others. He was optimistic and selfless to the end. We will miss Fred as an executive, as a colleague and as a true friend."
Vice Chairman and Board Member, Hart Energy
- "I was sad to learn of Fred's passing. During all the years we worked together at Hart Publications, I admired and respected him as a consummate professional in the energy industry. He exemplified the qualities of entrepreneurship, individual responsibility, and personal integrity upon which this great land was built. He was a wonderful husband, father, friend, and a great American. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and loved him."
Chairman, Eagle Publishing
- "Fred Potter was one of the most beloved figures in an otherwise tough town. He did more professionally to bring oil and auto industries into the 21st Century of clean air, facilitating an era of cooperation unheard of for decades before he came on the scene. His contribution to the environment was thus singular.unmatched by any individual I know or, I am tempted to add, any organization. One of the keys to his success was his unfailingly optimistic outlook on life, his enormous capacity for friendship and his loyalty. It also helped that he was really smart, informed and entrepreneurial. He was a great friend to me for 30 years and the source of endless laughs (and endless good dinners). He was not known to the wider public, but for the world he so influenced he will never be replaced."
C. Boyden Gray
Former White House Counsel and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union
- "I am saddened by the news on Fred. I have known him for about 25 years, and he has been a bridge connecting the environmental needs of our society with the industrial reality of oil refining. His practical approach oftentimes resulted in more progress on the environmental front than any of us could have imagined. I, and all my colleagues at PBF, will miss Fred and we will always remember that he represented the smiling face of the possible."
Chairman, PBF Energy
- "It is very sad that his family and our industry have lost Fred. Through his drive and energy, he started excellent publications that continue with us today. His leadership and commitment to our industry and for finding solutions between industry and regulators will be impossible to replace. We have all lost a terrific friend."
Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President of Valero Energy Corp.
- "Having been a key advisor to the petroleum industry and government agencies on so many occasions over the last three decades, Fred's actions were a true testament to his passion and understanding of fuels and our industry. Knowing that every molecule of energy is important to our country and our economy, he shared his knowledge to develop policies that improved the fuels we depend on each and every day. His tremendous insight will be greatly missed."
Gary R. Heminger
President and CEO of Marathon Petroleum Corp.
- "Fred was one of a kind. He was quintessential Washington, but he was also much more than that. Amazing memory, astute analyst, larger than life, and yet, very down to earth. He certainly left an impressive legacy that has benefited all of us, and more importantly, public policy. I am extremely glad to have known and worked with him, and deeply saddened by his passing."
Amicus Policy Group LLC
- "Fred Potter was my friend, business associate, advisor, energy visionary and entrepreneur – all of these, but most of all, my friend. We met over twenty-five years ago in the alternate fuels world and over these years kept in touch on issues large and small. His was a true American success story, and I shall miss this brave man."
Retired President and CEO of Texaco Inc.