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About Arbor Chemicals

Arbor Chemicals was established in 2018 as an independent supply and marketing resource to the pine chemicals industry. The Arbor team has decades of technical and marketing experience along with practical know-how across the pine chemicals value chain.

We recognize the need for an independent solutions provider – one that will not compete with its suppliers and customers. Along with its investment partner, Junction Energy Capital, Arbor is positioned to assist you in developing the best solution for your raw material and product needs.

The answer is

Our Team

John Allen, Ph.D.

John completed his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. This was followed by a masters and PhD in chemistry from Rice University.
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Rick Billings

Rick was one of the first independent brokers of crude tall oil, starting in the mid-90’s. In such role, he developed lasting relationships with the largest suppliers and customers of CTO and CTO derivatives.
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Ben Davis

Ben helped develop the original investment theses and arranged the founding investment for Arbor. He has founded, built, and sold companies in energy services, telecom, terminal services, specialty chemicals, and financial services.
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Jay Potter

Jay is a 30+ year veteran of the pulp & paper, chemical processing, and oil & gas industries. Jay received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin.
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Bill Sonnier

Bill has worked with the Arbor team for many years. He has particular expertise in building plants to process CTO derivatives, including sterols. Bill began his career with PPG, ultimately serving as Plant Superintendent for PPG's $450mm vinyl chloride monomer facility in Lake Charles, LA.
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Trey Walker

As Arbor’s Logistics Director, Trey manages logistics across the full product line, including common carriers, a fleet of dedicated railcars, and various third-party shipping companies.
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Growth Partner

Junction Energy Capital invests in energy infrastructure assets. The Junction team has deployed in excess of $5 billion in capital across the midstream value chain since 2008.

For more information on JEC, visit junctionenergy.com.

John Allen, Ph.D.

John completed his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. This was followed by a masters and PhD in chemistry from Rice University, where his research focused on the functionalization of bis(2-pyridyl)amines and the concomitant steric preferences for coordination of olefin isomers in copper(I) complexes. Fresh out of graduate school, John helped with the design, construction, and operation of a novel reactor for the hydrophilic surface functionalization of ceramic membranes.

In this role he also spent time in the oilfield, operating a mobile unit using the surface-enhanced membranes for oil-water separations in produced and frac-water emulsions. In 2012, he took a position in the pine-derived chemical industry, and the focus of his work shifted towards the chemistry of natural products, in particular the analysis of wood extractives and development of unique formulations tailored to desired properties. This role has also allowed John to pursue various avenues of research towards enhanced extractives recovery from wood sources.

Rick Billings

Rick was one of the first independent brokers of crude tall oil, starting in the mid-90’s. In such role, he developed lasting relationships with the largest suppliers and customers of CTO and CTO derivatives. Developed over two decades, his network affords real-time market knowledge of who’s doing what, when, and where. In turn, he is able to help industry partners make smart short- and long-term supply chain decisions.

In today’s consolidated pine chemicals market, his breadth and depth of knowledge is rare among independents. His experience also includes lead roles in building calcium chloride plants at Tetra Resources and Meridian Technologies. Early in his career, he served as Business Development Manager at Tetra, where he founded and led the team that negotiated strategic supply and plant construction agreements between Tetra and Vulcan Chemicals for a CaCl2 plant in Wichita, KS, and the development of similar plants with DuPont and Shell.

At Meridian, Rick negotiated a raw material supply agreement with key executives at Martin Marietta to construct a world-scale calcium chloride and bromine plant located in Manistee, MI. Billings led the team that facilitated the merger of Meridian with Ambar, Inc., and the purchase of Ambar, Inc., by the Beacon Group. He directed the post-acquisition consolidation of the two companies and negotiated an exclusive long-term calcium chloride agreement between Meridian/Ambar and Allied Chemical (today’s Honeywell). After the merger, the company operated as Ambar, Inc., where he served as Vice-President & General Manager of the Chemical Division.

Ben Davis

Ben helped develop the original investment theses and arranged the founding investment for Arbor. He has founded, built, and sold companies in energy services, telecom, terminal services, specialty chemicals, and financial services. Typically, Ben serves a founding strategic and Board role in his companies. Among prior ventures, he co-founded LandTel Communications (satcomm for drilling platforms, sold to RigNet), Aquatica, Inc. (commercial diving/pipeline inspection, sold to Cal Dive), and Petros PACE Finance (clean energy bonds, sold to AROD Corporation).

He is an honors graduate of Baylor University (B.B.A., M.S. Economics, J.D.) and serves on Baylor’s Leadership Council and Hankamer School of Business Advisory Board. He is the 2017-2019 General Chairman of the PGA Tour’s Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

Jay Potter

Jay is a 30+ year veteran of the pulp & paper, chemical processing, and oil & gas industries. Jay received a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin. Early in his career, he established a reputation for getting results with measurable positive impact on his employer’s bottom line. This led to leadership and management roles in marketing & purchasing for Tenneco, Gulf Atlantic, and Tetra Technologies.

His commitment to extracting maximum value from spend dollars served Tetra and him well in his years as their Purchasing Director. In addition to overseeing capex budgets in the tens of millions of dollars, Jay was responsible for developing new raw material strategies. Success in locating a new source of chemical-grade limestone led to Tetra being able to produce higher quality calcium chloride at substantially lower cost.

When tasked with reducing Tetra’s zinc bromide cost, Jay developed a strategy to extract zinc value from a hazardous waste generated by Midwest electrogalvanizers, thereby eliminating the need to purchase high quality zinc oxide. The cost savings from developing beneficial use for a hazardous waste allowed Tetra to use the savings to build a new zinc/calcium bromide plant in West Memphis, AR. These and other cost savings reveal his view of purchasing as a profit center, where every dollar saved goes to the bottom line. His role in supply chain management is to ensure this commitment to maximizing spend dollars is a cornerstone of Arbor projects.

Bill Sonnier

Bill has worked with the Arbor team for many years. He has particular expertise in building plants to process CTO derivatives, including sterols. Bill began his career with PPG, progressing through positions of increased responsibility over 9 years, ultimately serving as Plant Superintendent for PPG’s $450mm vinyl chloride monomer facility in Lake Charles, LA. In 1982, he became Plant Manager (and eventually Vice President) at KMCO. In 1990, he became EVP and General Manager for Chusei (USA) Inc., a startup subsidiary of Chusei Oil Co of Japan.

He was promoted to President & CEO of Chusei (USA) in 1993, building it from startup to 100 employees and $10mm+ EBITDA. As part of his role, Bill was responsible for the construction and operation of Chusei’s Houston-area plant, which included technology developed and patented by him for producing proprietary food additives from CTO-based phytosterol.

He is an owner consultant with Companos’ Arbor Sciences project and will serve as lead manager with third party engineering firms on the project. Bill has a B.S. Chemical Engineering and advances studies toward his M.S.ChemEng from McNeese St. and an MBA from the University of Colorado (completed while employed by PPG in Denver).

Trey Walker

Trey has decades of experience managing effective HS&E, Logistics, and Customer Service functions. He began his career with Brown & Root as a Cost Engineer, including at KBR’s South Texas Nuclear Project. Post-KBR, he continued for 22 years as an HS&E Manager, including Corporate Safety Manager for a $650mm corrugated paper distributor, managing 31 warehouses and 250+ delivery vehicles. In 2005, Trey transitioned fully to the Logistics/Customer Services area, working together with Rick Billings at multiple companies. As Arbor’s Logistics Director, Trey manages logistics across the full product line, including common carriers, a fleet of dedicated railcars, and various third-party shipping companies.