Peapod – Click above for high-res image gallery

What does one do with the "There's a Ford In Your Future Award" except give it to Ford Motor Company? Nothing, that's what, but it's an example of how the organizers of the AFVI Expo in Las Vegas had a bit of fun with the AFVI's Industry Excellence Awards this morning, handing them out electric vehicle evangelists, school districts and, yes, Ford. The criteria for the award was an individual (or organization) that has "advanced the use of alternative fuels, vehicles or advanced technologies resulting in clean alternatives to petroleum." Who walked away a winner? These people/groups:
  • GEM, which has put over 40,000 neighborhood electric vehicles on the road over the last 12 years. While impressive, we're still waiting for some sort of status update on the Peapod (above).
  • Robert White, the director of market development for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), won the "24/7 Blend Award" for teaching the industry about social media. Oh, and for getting a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to train Clean Cities Coalitions and their stakeholders about said social media.
  • Napa Valley Unified School District Transportation Director Ralph Knight, who has been pushing for electric school buses since 1997 and has the only plug-in hybrid school bus in California. Knight won the "Magic School Bus Award."
Find the other winners after the jump.

[Source: AFVI]

PRESS RELEASE

ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLE INSTITUTE INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARDS ANNOUNCED
Honorees Range from AT&T to the Napa Valley Unified School District

Las Vegas, NV – Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi) recognized outstanding leadership in the alternative fuels and vehicles industry as part of the 16th Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Conference + Expo 2010. The awards honor excellence in individuals and/or organizations that have advanced the use of alternative fuels, vehicles or advanced technologies resulting in clean alternatives to petroleum. The AFVi 2010 award winners are as follows:

24/7 Blend Award: Robert White, Director of Market Development for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), accepted the award for his leadership in industry-wide education about social media. Mr. White has excelled in generating interest in alternative energy among new demographic groups. Under his leadership, RFA and other fuel advocacy groups were awarded a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to provide training that includes social media for national Clean Cities Coalitions and their stakeholders. Mr. White was awarded the 24/7 Blend Award for his dogged determination and leadership in delivering the alternative fuel story.

EV-angelism Award: Electric vehicles (EV) have enjoyed a meteoric rise of late, but the prize for EV momentum goes to Chrysler Group Global Electric Motorcars (GEM). GEM product first hit the roads twelve years ago. The Fargo, North Dakota based manufacturer is known for versatility and innovation – two reasons why there are over 40,000 of their neighborhood electric vehicles on the roads worldwide. Their six available models can be seen everywhere from cities and universities to master planned communities. The EV-angelism Award was presented to President and COO Rick Kasper for his early and lasting success in manufacturing electric vehicles.

Golden Bullet Award: When the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities Program announced 25 awards totaling $300 million in federal funding last fall, it was an unprecedented victory for an industry familiar with challenges. The recipients of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds will add 9,000 vehicles and more than 500 refueling stations by the time the projects are completed. The Golden Bullet Award was presented to National Clean Cities Director Dennis Smith for his leadership in overseeing the process that will profoundly impact the alternative fuels market.

Green Fleet Award: When AT&T reaches out and touches someone, they don't mess around. In 2009 the communications giant touched the alternative fuels industry in a big way by announcing the replacement of 15,000 vehicles over the next ten years with alternatively fueled and powered models. Their actions will displace 2.5 million barrels of oil, reduce carbon output by 211,000 metric tons, and will create or save 5,500 jobs. The Green Fleet Award was presented to Jerome Webber, Vice President of Fleet Operations as the chief strategist behind this bold new direction.

Lifetime Achievement Award: As the President of his government relations consulting firm and Director of Government Affairs for NGV America, Paul Kerkhoven received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless advocacy of natural gas. Mr. Kerkhoven's efforts aren't limited to one fuel. He is highly regarded industry-wide for educating fleet managers, policy makers, and Clean Cities Coordinators about federal funding and incentives. Mike Gallagher, Westport Innovations Senior Adviser said it best. "There is no one who has labored longer or smarter to bring about the new, forward thinking legislation to help build our new alt fuel industry."

Magic School Bus Award: Twenty-four million American children ride school buses each day that travel more than 4 billion miles each year. Diesel pollution from older buses is a widely acknowledged problem and Napa Valley Unified School District Transportation Director Ralph Knight is a widely heralded solution. In 1997, Knight's alternative energy enthusiasm was launched when he got an electric school bus and his is the only district in the nation still running true electric buses. Over 15 years he replaced all of the old diesel buses, and he has the first and only plug-in hybrid school bus in California. Knight, the recipient of the Magic School Bus Award, is a one man tour de force PR machine as he advocates for clean transportation for school children.

There's a Ford In Your Future Award: The mettle of auto manufacturers has been tested recently in ways once thought unimaginable. Ford Motor Company, though, is ascending, having just posted net income of $2.1 billion in the first quarter fueled by a 32% rise in U.S. sales. In true "One Ford" fashion, the Ford Fleet Team is driving America through its fleet business with the company's full line of alternative fuel powertrains and advanced technologies. That's why AFVi borrowed their prophetic slogan from the 1940's. "There's a Ford in Your Future" Award was presented to Fleet Marketing Manager Gerald Koss, part of the team whose steady, relentless focus and strong leadership has riveted international attention.

Whipple's Peak Award: Tom Whipple was a CIA analyst for 30 years. Upon retirement he turned his attention to the looming problems facing the world as oil supplies dwindle. For thirteen years he has devoted his time to researching and writing about the issues surrounding peak oil. His writing is carried in daily and weekly publications for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas - USA and in the Falls Church News-Press. His clearly conveyed storytelling is all the more compelling because of his immense passion. Tom Whipple accepted AFVi's first Whipple's Peak Award.

About AFVi
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute is an entrepreneurial organization that works through industry to bring people in need of proven transportation technologies together with those who can meet their needs. AFVi is the education provider and information link between the alternative fuels and vehicles industry and public/private fleets. AFVi is fuel and technology neutral. www.afvi.org
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