Enviva CEO John Keppler Credit: Photo from Enviva website

CEO of Bethesda-based Enviva selected as an ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’

John Keppler, the CEO of the Bethesda-based company Enviva, which produces sustainable wood pellets, is one of 11 business executives in the greater Washington region selected by Ernst & Young as an “Entrepreneur of the Year.”

The annual awards recognize entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies, according to an Ernst & Young press release. A panel of judges chose Keppler based on criteria such as social impact, originality, innovation and future plans.

The award was announced during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday.

Keppler founded Enviva in 2004 with the goal of repurposing wood into renewable fuel, according to the press release. The company specializes in sustainable wood bioenergy, which is used to produce electricity and heat as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Four Montgomery County leaders to enter Business Hall of Fame

The Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame will induct four leaders during a luncheon in October. They are:

  • Jay “Sunny” Bajaj, the president and CEO of the technology company Digital Management
  • Marilyn Balcombe, the president of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, who is currently running for the District 2 seat on the County Council.
  • Gordon R. Barnaby, founder and president of BarnAllen Technologies
  • Ype Von Hengst, executive chef and co-founder of the Silver Diner restaurant chain

The luncheon is scheduled to be held Oct. 26 at the Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center. American Gene Technologies CEO and co-founder Jeff Galvin will be the guest speaker.

Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarship programs at USG.

Unemployment rate rose in June

Montgomery County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in June to 6.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s an increase from 5.7% in May, and the first time it increased in nearly a year.

The county’s unemployment rate rose quickly from 3.1% to 7.7% from March to April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning, according to BLS data.

It then reached 8.6% in May 2020, 8.5% in June 2020 and 8.6% in July 2020.

However, since July 2020 the unemployment rate has decreased consistently, bottoming out at 5.7% until the June 2021 increase.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com