Company Management

Prairie Gold, Inc. is located in Bloomington, Illinois and has the following management positions filled:

  • Philip Shane President, and CEO
  • Adam Funk, Financial Consultant
  • Shirley Anderson, Administrative Assistant
  • Shaun Knapp, Manager of Engineering and Development

Philip Shane, President and CEO

Philip Shane, President and CEO 

Mr. Shane has been president of Prairie Gold, Inc since its inception in 2006.  He created the company from start-up activities to a growth company employing four staff members, an accounting firm, consultants for technology development and financial expertise.  His duties include: Responsibility for planning, developing and implementing business strategies for the growth, maintenance and operation of a technology development company - raise adequate capital for daily operation and long term growth and provide for day-to-day operations of the company -plan, forecast, report on sales activities, costs, and business performance according to board of director guidance. 

 Accomplishments related to Prairie Gold include: Scale-up of licensed corn oil and protein extraction (COPE) technology from bench top research to pilot plant completion and commercial readiness; built a 2400 sq. ft. class I, division II pilot plant and for two years tested processes related to the COPE technology; funded the business by selling four million dollars of equity in the Company to shareholders and raising an equal amount of dollars from grants issued by state and federal agencies; and recently secured a four million dollar grant from the state of Illinois to build a 600,000 pound zein extraction and purification plant.  Mr. Shane has advanced the COPE process to its commercial readiness stage of development.

 Prairie Gold is currently negotiating a joint venture agreement with a large ethanol and distillers grain producer.

 In the past, Mr. Shane was the Market Development Director for the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (“ICMB”) and the Illinois Corn Growers Association (“ICGA”) from 1993 to 2006.  Prior to joining ICMB and ICGA, he was a partner and general manager of a large farming operation in Illinois.  Mr. Shane served for five years as an advisor to the Biomass Technical Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy.  Mr. Shane holds a Masters degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois and is a graduate of the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) program.


Adam Funk; Financial Consultant

Mr. Funk is a partner in the accounting firm of Dunbar, Breitweiser & Company, LLP. The company, located in Bloomington, Illinois, has a staff of 28 members and provides entrepreneurial professional CPA services and solutions for complicated audit, tax, and business problems. Since 1967, the firm has used its capabilities to help both U.S. and international clients. Prior to joining Dunbar, Breitweiser in 1987, Mr. Funk worked as a certified public accountant for Arthur Andersen and Company in Chicago, Ill. Mr. Funk received his Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois State University in December of 1981 and earned his certificate of Certified Public Accountants in May of 1982.

Shaun Knapp, Manager of Engineering and Development

Mr. Knapp began employment with Prairie Gold in October, 2009.  His primary responsibilities are to manage and coordinate development of new technologies, processes, and procedures related to ethanol production and to integrate such technology within ethanol facilities.  He is responsible for designing and implementing manufacturing processes, equipment, and plants (from pilot to commercial scale).  Mr. Knapp’s overall mission is to develop new processes for ethanol co-product extraction in order to create higher valued products.

 Mr. Knapp has 25 years of experience in Product/Process development for several companies at various levels.  He started with E.I. DuPont as a Bench Chemist developing compounds for testing as potential pharmaceuticals.  From there, he joined Wilmington Chemicals as their Chemist/Engineer for their Pilot Plant and worked very closely with new customers to develop specialized products that meet their unique needs.  Later he joined Balchem Corporation (a manufacturer of microencapsulated ingredients) as their Pilot Plant Engineer and would eventually become their Manager of Process Commercialization.  While at Balchem he developed several new products and redesigned their process to reduce operational cost by 50%.  Mr. Knapp designed and built two encapsulation facilities at two independent sites for Balchem.

More recently, Mr. Knapp has had the opportunity to operate two manufacturing facilities. One was at Balchem Corporation, where he became Senior Production Manager, operating their encapsulation production.  They produced approximately 12 million pounds of product each year.  Mr. Knapp’s largest operational experience occurred while working for Corn Products.  There, he was the wet mill Operations Manager in charge of wet milling corn, fiber pelleting, and dry starch production.  These three areas processed nearly 215,000 bushels of corn per day.  It was at this facility that he learned to manage a continuous operation.


2005 Marist College, New York, NY, Degree: MBA
1985 University of Delaware, Degree: B.S. Chemical Engineering  

Advisory Committee

The advisory committee is currently comprised of four individuals that have been chosen for their experience in critical areas for the company.

  • Dr. Munir Cheryan
  • Dr. Robert Dorsch
  • Philip Madson
  • Dr. William Eykamp

Dr. Munir Cheryan; Professor, Food and Biochemical Engineering, University of Illinois

Dr. Cheryan is the inventor of the COPE process. He is an internationally recognized expert on membrane technology with over 25 years experience developing value-added industrial products from agriculture ( He has been developing methods to improve corn wet milling and dry-grind ethanol plants for the past 18 years. He holds six patents in related areas, over 200 publications and is the author of the widely-circulated “Ultrafiltration and Microfiltration Handbook”, first published in 1986. Dr. Cheryan has provided on-going support to Prairie Gold in process design, scale-up and membrane development and will continue to provide such services as may be required in the future.

Dr. Robert Dorsch; Independent Consultant

Dr. Dorsch is highly experienced at establishing new businesses based on novel materials and processes and in 2006 became an independent consultant in the field of biotech-based biofuels and materials.

Prior to consulting, Dr. Dorsch spent over 30 years with DuPont in various bio-technical management positions. In 1994 as Director of Biotechnology Development, DuPont Central Research, Dr. Dorsch launched a $300 million biomass based 1, 3 propanediol (PDO) R&D program and three other bioprocess efforts (two now commercial) and created and managed a collaborative research relationship that successfully developed the bioprocess for PDO. In 2000 as Director of Biotechnology Business Development, DuPont Biobased Materials business, Dr. Dorsch authored and was awarded a grant of $38 million in a Collaborative Development Award by USDOE for the “Integrated Corn Based BioRefinery (ICBR)”.

Dr. Dorsch received a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the Institute for Molecular Physics at the University of Maryland in 1965 after completing a B.S. in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 1972.

Philip Madson; President, Katzen International, Inc.

Mr. Madson is a highly distinguished registered professional engineer concentrating on value-added agricultural processing – such as motor fuel, potable and industrial grades of ethanol.

Since joining Katzen, ( Mr. Madson’s work has ranged from feasibility studies through final process and equipment design packages to liaison during procurement, construction, and start-up. He has also provided a leadership role in the development of several integrated agricultural processing systems.

Mr. Madson has been a guest lecturer since 1983 at Alltech’s Annual International Alcohol Short Course as well as the principal author of The Alcohol Textbook. He is a co-founder of the annual World Ethanol Conference and has been the technology keynote speaker and workshop lecturer since 1998. Mr. Madson received his M.S.Ch.E. from the University of Iowa in 1970.

Dr. William Eykamp; Independent Consultant

Dr. Eykamp is a world leading expert in the field of ultra and micro-filtration using membrane technology. From 1969 through 1988 he worked in management of a leading membrane technology company, Koch Membrane Systems, including seven years as president. After leaving Koch, Dr. Eykamp taught membrane technology at the University of California, Berkley and in 1995 he was awarded the Distinguished Engineer Award by Purdue University. Since leaving Berkley, he has consulted with industry in the field of membrane technologies and from 1997 to 2003 he served as director of Osmonics, Inc.

Dr. Eykamp received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1965 from MIT. He is director and treasurer of the North American Membrane Society and a member of the European Society of Membrane Science and Technology and has been a speaker at the Gordon Research Conferences on Synthetic Membranes. Dr. Eykamp has a long list of publications in the field of microfiltration and ultrafiltration.