YTCC awards businesses, governments, and individuals for their leadership and contributions to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to their traditional fleet awards, this year YTCC added several awards to recognize individuals and organizations for their enthusiastic commitment and actions to advance alternative fuels in the region.
The highest achievement, the Alternative Fuel Champion Award, was awarded to Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) Tad Pearson. Tad manages the Idaho National Laboratory’s over 80 motor coach fleet that transports INL staff to and from their worksite, often over 100 miles each day for each of the 3,500 employees who participate in the employee commuter shuttle program. In addition to the commuter shuttle, INL’s fleet includes electric vehicles and ethanol-fueled vehicles. Tad has directed and managed the use of alternative fuels in the motor coaches, including biodiesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and renewable diesel. Last year, Idaho National Laboratory reduced 17,694 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Kyla Maki and Neal Ullman, Energy Resource Professional’s with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality were awarded the Alternative Fuel Excellence Award. The pair have worked tirelessly to design and promote programs for the state of Montana that most efficiently and effectively use state funding to advance alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure. They have commissioned studies to ensure their program parameters fully encompass the nuances of available technology and account for the impacts of climate, terrain, and traffic volume on infrastructure. They are true leaders in the region for alternative fuels and transportation electrification.
The Alternative Fuels Accelerator award was given to Johnny Ziem, Town of Jackson Assistant Public Works Director, for his work to install the only two DC Fast Charging stations in the state of Wyoming that offers both the CHAdeMO and CCS connectors, as well for being instrumental in the Town including electric motorcycles and cars in their fleet. Johnny has also facilitated the installation of additional Level II stations throughout the Town of Jackson. Additionally, Johnny is always willing to lend his electric vehicle charging station (EVSE) project management expertise to help others install stations. We’re fortunate to have him as a resource for stakeholders in our region.
The Alternative Fuel Trailblazer award was given to Margaret Wilson, Grand Teton National Park Planning and Environmental Compliance/Sustainability Coordinator, for her unwavering work towards advancing alternative fuels in Grand Teton National Park. Margaret has been a steadfast partner of YTCC and a joy to work with over the years. Her enthusiasm about new vehicle developments and availability is palpable and inspiring. Margaret has had a hand in the installation of all the charging stations in Grand Teton National Park and has secured funding for the park to deploy hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and a compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse truck. Margaret not only is enthusiastic but detail-oriented, by commissioning alternative fuel and infrastructure studies she does her due diligence to ensure programs and projects she spearheads are in alignment and exceed the expectations of the National Park Service.
The Alternative Fuel Advocate Award was given to Conor Ploeger, Clean Energy Analyst at the Montana Environment Information Center (MEIC). This past spring, Conor was a constant resource and partner of YTCC when HB 188 introduced additional registration fees for electric vehicle owners and moved through the legislature. YTCC worked with Conor to develop complementary testimony from each respective organization. The bill underwent many edits and additions to an eventual house and the senate passed a bill that included 4 different electric vehicle categories of exorbitant fee amounts per category. Conor provided insightful information and strategy and helped mobilize industry representatives to contact the Governor’s office. The bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Gianforte, a huge win for electric vehicle advancement in Montana.
Amy Walton and Brian Tanabe of Lower Valley Energy received the Alternative Fuel Sunshine Award. Amy and Brian have been instrumental in launching the new Electric Vehicle Experience program, a partnership between YTCC, Lower Valley Energy, and Energy Conservation Works (ECW) and funded through a grant YTCC received from Teton Conservation District. Both YTCC and ECW have acknowledged Amy and Brian have been essential to the program launching, the day-to-day management, and the success of the program. They have been an absolute delight to work with over the months of meetings to design and promote the program and YTCC is fortunate to call them partners.