KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City-based Alternative Energy Sources Inc. has appointed of Mike Espy, former secretary of the USDA and former U.S. congressman, to its board of directors.

As the USDA secretary from 1993 through 1994, Espy was the first African-American to serve in that capacity. He is credited with reorganizing the $65 billion agency, negotiating multilateral treaties for trading agricultural commodities and reforming the national food-inspection system to eradicate food-borne illnesses. He gained recognition as an expert in rural business, economic development and infrastructure policy.

Currently Espy maintains offices in Jackson, Miss., and Washington, D.C., working as a private sector attorney, counselor and agricultural adviser through his law firm, Mike Espy PLLC, and his consulting firm, AE Agritrade Inc.

"We consider it a great accomplishment to have an individual of Mike Espy's caliber join our board," said Mark Beemer, AENS president and chief executive officer. "As agriculture secretary, he became acutely aware of the role of ethanol and its development benefits in rural America."

Espy said, "As our country continues to move toward energy independence, it's clear that ethanol will play an important role. The industry's evolution suggests that companies like AENS will enjoy success, using approaches designed to maximize efficiencies along each stage of the ethanol market chain. I'm glad to be a part of the team, and will do my best to help AENS become the 'go to' company in the ethanol space."

Before President Bill Clinton appointed him to the USDA post in 1993, Espy served as Mississippi's Second District representative to the U.S. Congress. During his tenure, he was a member of the Agriculture and Budget Committees.

AENS also recently appointed W. Gordon Snyder and Douglas D. Wilner to its board. Since mid-August, AENS has announced plans to build ethanol plants in Central Iowa and in Kankakee and Greenville, Ill.

Alternative Energy Sources Inc. is developing "greenfield" sites, including constructing, owning and operating fuel-grade ethanol plants.

SOURCE: Alternative Energy Sources Inc. via PrimeNewswire.