Lightner named CEO of Platinum Crush Soy Processing plant
Alta — Erik Lightner, an ag industry professional with nearly 30 years of experience in oilseed processing and engineering, has been named CEO of Platinum Crush, LLC, the new soybean crushing plant under construction near Alta,
“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,” Lightner said. “I’m excited to help Platinum Crush maximize these opportunities.”
When Platinum Crush becomes operational in the spring of 2024, it will crush 38.5 million bushels of soybeans annually, or 110,000 bushels daily. It will also create 50 to 60 high-quality jobs.
Before joining Platinum Crush, Lightner served as vice president of international construction and manufacturing for Haskell, a Florida-based architecture, engineering, construction and consulting firm. Lightner also spent 21 years of his career with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). 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, Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; and Lincoln, Nebraska; as well as across the globe,” said Lightner, a Pittsburgh native who earned his chemical engineering degree from Penn State University. “While ADM is a massive company, many of their plants are operated and measured on their individual performances, similar to Platinum Crush.”
Platinum Crush also reminds Lightner of a large processing facility in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he led teams dedicated to construction, commissioning and operations during his time at ADM. “While this plant supplied cocoa and chocolate products to customers, it has many parallels to Platinum. It’s a large greenfield site, it’s a $300-plus million facility, and it hires local people. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned from all these previous experiences and applying them to build a culture of safety, quality and community at Platinum.”
The Platinum Crush board of managers set the bar extremely high as they outlined expectations for the facility’s CEO, noted Mike Kinley, co-founder and member of Platinum Crush.
“Just as we’ve located, designed and built Platinum Crush to be ‘first in class,’ we expect nothing short of that in our CEO,” Kinley said. “Erik Lightner delivers on that expectation, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have chosen him as our leader. He brings the experience, track record and cultural values we want to mold Platinum Crush into a significant player.”