Department of Energy-Clean Cities Award Winners 2020

The Connecting the Dots on Hydrogen award goes to Valley of the Sun Coalition coordinator Don Covert and former coordinator, Bill Sheaffer. It also goes to Lori Clark of the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition. Since last year Valley of the Sun in Phoenix has been working with Nikola Motor and helped the company to find potential locations for a facility on Tribal Lands in Arizona. They’ve also been working with them to designate I-10 as a hydrogen fuel corridor. Dallas-Fort Worth has been holding quarterly educational meetings to build a basic hydrogen understanding among Texas stakeholders and facilitate networking. The last 2 meetings were virtual and had over 50 participants at each, including fleets such as PepsiCo, Anheuser Busch and OEMs as well as state and local government leaders.
Alleyn Harned and Matt Wade of Virginia Clean Cities are receiving the One for All award for Outreach for being inclusive to Rural and Minority Communities. The coalition has connected with underserved communities in the Commonwealth. They’ve done education and outreach with rural electric utility staff and customers. Moreover, they’ve connected with the Virginia chapter of the NAACP and EV Noire to work with minority communities on EV education. Virginia Clean Cities was also recognized by the Virginia chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy for their alternative fuel presentations in 2020.
Our hats are off to Kelly Gilbert and David Albrecht of the Kansas City Regional Clean Cities Coalition for their work in creating Climate Action KC. Founded with 110 other NGO and government agencies Climate Action KC is a policy-focused organization led by members of local government and hosted by the Mid-America Regional Council. KC Clean Cities staff participate as transportation subject matter experts, advocating for low-carbon fleet emission policies. They leverage the coalition’s expertise into one-on-one stakeholder engagement and new fleet electrification initiatives. They work with electricity providers to educate them about providing EV charging service to their customers. If electricity doesn’t work for the fleet they help with fleet analysis to determine what other alternative fuels might be feasible.
This award for Event Collaboration goes to 2 coordinators from relatively small, neighboring states who’ve joined forces to spread the word about EVs. In September 2019, the Granite State in New Hampshire and Vermont coalitions held the Bi-State EV Connector. The Connector was a free event targeting the Upper Valley region of the two states, located at Hypertherm, a New Hampshire business with Level 2 EVSE and strong sustainability commitments. The event attracted over 100 registrants, including fleet and business managers, and representatives from numerous public and private interests in the area. They had 18 exhibitors and a ride and drive and donated a portion of money earned from the event to a local foundation.
Adriane Jaynes and Eric Pollard get the Powering Up award for Electrifying Oklahoma, a state known for its oil and gas leadership. Four years of work paid off recently, as Oklahoma was named the #1 state to own an EV by This was based on the state’s low electricity rates and availability of charging. Oklahoma is now #1 in public EV fast charging per capita. Their efforts included formation of the Oklahoma EV Coalition. They submitted a proposal to Electrify America that resulted in 4 EV chargers leading the drive to use the full 15% of VW funds for public charging. They submitted an alternative fuel corridor nomination and partnered with stakeholders to extend state alternative fuel tax credits.
Daphne Dixon of Connecticut Southwestern Area Clean Cities gets the Sharpest Tool award for her webinar on the development of an Electric School Bus Toolkit. In a pivot due to COVID-19, Daphne quickly found a way to reach her stakeholders virtually. She also made sure to include many other coalitions and coordinators to amplify the reach of her event and its information.
The toolkit covers outreach and education, procurement, EV infrastructure, financing and more. The webinar featured panels on local electric school bus champions, success stories from across the nation, and information on legislation.
Joy Gardner of Empire Clean Cities and Craig Jackson of Clean Communities of Western New York led the way in creating a webinar on electric bus procurement for stakeholders of the 6 New York state coalitions. The webinar featured speakers from Blue Bird, Thomas, IC Bus, Motive, Highland Electric Transportation, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Empire hosted the webinar and with Western New York did outreach to current electric bus dealers and distributors. All the state’s coalitions did outreach to school districts in their areas. It was a great example of collaboration, and a new stakeholder joined each of the coalitions.
Rather than invite legislators to multiple events on sustainable transportation, Wisconsin Clean Cities and RENEW Wisconsin partnered to bring the show directly to them, by co-hosting The Future of Transportation Day at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Industry experts from the public, private and nonprofit sectors shared information on how sustainable, domestic transportation fuels and vehicles are driving Wisconsin’s economy. Wisconsin Clean Cities managed event registration, secured exhibitors and vehicles for the ride and drive, distributed the press release and managed the financial aspects of the event. Lorrie served as emcee for remarks presented in the capitol rotunda by elected officials to over 100 people.
The Best in Class award goes to Kevin Herdler of St. Louis Clean Cities for his contributions to developing the Rockwood High School Biodiesel Program that offers students a chance to produce biodiesel for sale. The program teaches students about science, plant growth, making a useable fuel and capturing data. Collaborators include the Missouri Soybean Association, the Biodiesel Missouri Coalition, Bayer Corporation, Dobb’s Tire and Battery, Ranken Technical College, Washington University, and the Danforth Plant Science Center. Together, they’ve installed a 500 gallon tank for B50, hired a full-time plant operator, and now have a trailer that can be used to showcase biodiesel at schools, businesses and various events. They are also working with EPA on certification, and are developing a STEM curriculum to be used with the training trailer.
Last December, Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance facilitated a propane education session at Eanes Independent School District, which has a long history of propane use. The meeting, which built on previous successful propane events, was attended by local school districts. Fleets heard about benefits and challenges from their peers. Speakers included the TX Propane Gas Association, PERC, a local bus service company and Roush. A grant writer also attended, and spoke with each district about available funding options. Alamo Area Clean Cities did outreach, and 3 of the attending fleets came from the Alamo area.
Carl Lisek gets the Needle Mover award for the VW EV Infrastructure Workshop held by South Shore Clean Cities in October 2019. The Indiana Dept. of Environmental management, that manages the state’s VW fund, selected South Shore Clean Cities to plan, execute and moderate this workshop. The workshop was held to educate the state’s VW Committee and the general public on EVs and EVSE. South Shore secured 17 speakers for the workshop, which provided decision-makers with a strong, fact-based foundation upon which to base their funding decisions. Greater Indiana Clean Cities secured vehicles from local dealers for the EV ride and drive portion of the event.
Richard Battersby and Paul Cobian get the Solar boosters award. Solar chargers are all the rage these days, especially in California. The City of Oakland recently put one to use to power a COVID testing site. The City of Los Angeles uses 2 solar chargers at their parking enforcement facility because the older buildings at that location don’t have enough electric load and the service isn’t adequate. These innovative uses of solar chargers are setting a great example for the rest of us.
Sacramento Clean Cities is the recipient of the Events Galore award for its work on Stakeholder Outreach and Education. Through Workshops, Expos, ride and drive events, site tours and individualized technical assistance, Tim Taylor and Gina O’Neal offer multiple ways for technology providers to connect with fleet managers.
The end result is that Sacramento has every alternative transportation fuel available for use, from ethanol to hydrogen, and is a sought after test market for many new products coming online.
Jonathan Overly gets the ultimate team player award for his efforts to bring together and expand the Southeast Corridor Collaboration- network, and set up a Southeast Corridor Council team of Coalitions as well as collaboration with areas surrounding the region. Whether it’s collaborating with other coalitions on events or training, helping out with sessions at Coordinator 101, or leading a group of intrepid hatchet-throwers to Stumpy’s Hatchet House during the last Peer Exchange, Jonathan can be counted on to rally the troops to promote alternative fuels while having a great time.

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