Building the Best

POET’s Wichita team pursues excellence with its award-winning culture

After winning the Wichita Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work in Wichita” in 2022 and earning the spot of first runner-up in 2023, it’s clear there’s something special about POET’s Wichita office, a hub for the marketing, distribution, and transportation of many of the bioproducts produced at POET’s 34 bioprocessing locations.

That something special, said Trishell Dreiling, Accounting Director, is POET’s unique ability to understand what’s needed and build the best team.

“I think POET has determined that team members are more productive and care about the work they’re doing when they feel fulfilled,” she said. “It’s about ensuring you’re able to be successful with all the hats you might wear at home and work.”

For nearly two decades, Dreiling has had a hand in many functions at POET: she’s been involved in accounting, contracts, trade processing, transaction flow, “and some reporting, too.” Over the length of this career, she’s watched as POET has grown from a small business to a world-renowned organization committed to making the world a better place, one gallon of bioethanol, one bioproduct, one innovation at a time.

“When I interviewed for an accountant role,” she said, “I could feel the pride and ownership each person had in the company. I was excited to join a place that had positive impacts on the world but also on each of their team members.”

Dreiling has found a workplace culture that is as supportive and adaptable as it is cutting-edge. The office space, for instance, is set up with an open concept layout, like a trading floor: team members have desks and can step into meeting spaces for collaboration or more quiet conversations. The physical space and team have expanded in the past couple of years to welcome 30 new team members who joined the POET family as part of the 2021 acquisition of Flint Hills Resources. Today, there are 210 people working together in the Wichita office.

Top: POET team members sign their names on a beam; Middle: POET Wichita team; Bottom: POET's expanded office

In 2023, the office underwent an expansion to make room for the team’s rapid growth, adding 192 desks and nine conference rooms. The steady increase in team members is a testament to POET’s culture and workplace values.

“Since we’re located in Wichita, our team has the advantage of being in an area with a rich history of entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Bob Whiteman, Chief Financial Officer of POET Biofuels. “We have a dynamic, skilled group of individuals and an energized office space; our team is always finding creative ways to problem-solve and enhance our culture while embracing any and all challenges and opportunities that come our way.”

Outside of offering a dynamic workspace, POET is known for creating world-class bioproducts such as bioethanol, biogenic carbon dioxide, purified alcohol, and dry ice. The Wichita location is responsible for moving those items around the country and, in some cases, the world, obtaining new clients, researching and investing in new markets, and ultimately helping to create value for farmers and communities who underscore the country’s vital agricultural landscape.

From Dreiling’s desk to POET’s shipping terminals, team members in the Wichita office have found their own way to contribute to growing this forward-thinking work.

For Seth Bowers, Truck Planning Manager, being involved with and encouraged to develop new, collaborative strategies to bring POET to the world is one way he contributes to and is shaped by this atmosphere.

“It’s contagious being surrounded by highly motivated and talented people who check their egos at the door and genuinely give their best to work together as a team,” he said. “It’s unique to be part of a company that is the largest in our industry and also remains agile in decision-making with a continued desire to embrace change and see transformation.”

Top: Team members have a conversation in the break area; Bottom: Team members have a meeting in a conference room

Bowers, who has been with POET for nine years, oversees much of the physical movement of goods. His truck planning team, which coordinates internally and externally with POET bioprocessing facilities and bioethanol customers, is responsible for demand forecasting and strategic planning of supply movements to customer terminals. His team’s work is built on understanding and anticipating demand to move POET bioproducts where they’re needed, and the critical, creative thinking required for this work is something that Bowers has enjoyed since his first days at POET as an accounting intern in college.

“Having the opportunity to lead our truck planning team while coordinating with others has challenged me to widen my understanding of the business and look for opportunities to create synergies across our groups,” he said. “This motivates me to think of a ‘future state’ and collaborate with others to transform our tools and processes. Collaborating with and managing our team of truck planners is a privilege that drives me to learn and grow as a leader.”

Since the inception of the business in the 1980s, everyone within the POET team has shared a commitment to innovating and finding ways to do things as efficiently and as sustainably as possible. This blending of creativity and innovation is foundational and flows through every area of the business, said Shamryn Holzwarth, Director of Terminals and Logistics at the Wichita office.

“Our leadership’s passion for the POET business and making the world a better place is energizing,” she said. “It’s exciting to work for a company that truly puts the vision in the forefront and looks to advance it in every way possible.”

Holzwarth is responsible for ensuring POET’s bioethanol has multiple ways to enter the market, which provides her and her team with opportunities for “thinking outside the box and being creative” while fulfilling POET’s mission.

Coordinating these activities to help decarbonize the country has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity for everyone at this location. Whether it’s at the end of a meeting or the middle of one of the fun office lunches, foosball tournaments, or holiday parties, what makes POET’s Wichita office such a great place to work is the dynamic mix of people who inspire the team with creative ideas and concern for the Earth and each other.

“If there’s one thing that has landed us at the top of the ‘Best Place to Work,’ it is the people and the culture,” Dreiling said. “Each person on our team understands the value in promoting our culture and is intentional in showing it each day.”   




Vital is a news & media resource published by POET, presenting a variety of stories with the thought leadership one expects from the largest, most forward-thinking bioethanol producer.