At AltWheels Fleet Day, the Steve Connors Visionary Award, which is presented to an individual who exhibits “Leadership in helping make changes in the environmental sector that positively impact the world,” was presented to Steve Russell, who developed his reputation as a pioneer for using biodiesel in extremely cold environments. As the fleet manager for the city of Keene, New Hampshire, for 12 years, he introduced the use of B-20 into the city’s entire diesel fleet. Under Russell’s leadership, Keene also developed a sustainable fleet policy and showed leadership in environmental sustainability.
Today, Russell is alternative transportation program coordinator and Clean Cities Co-coordinator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
During his tenure as coordinator, Massachusetts Clean Cities stakeholders have displaced more than 60 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) of petroleum. In that same period from 2009-2018, Massachusetts Clean Cities avoided almost 171,000 tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under Russell’s leadership. In 2016 alone, Massachusetts Clean Cities displaced more than 9.2 million GGEs of petroleum and avoided more than 25,000 tons of GHGs.
Russell has been an integral part of the AltWheels team since its inception and serves as co-chairman of the event. Russell was also inducted into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame and presented with an award from the U.S. Department of Energy and Clean Cities for his 10 years of service.
A lineup of panels and speakers highlighted the 2019 AltWheels Fleet Day, a meeting of corporate and municipal fleet managers. The 14th annual event returned to the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood, Mass., on Oct. 7, featuring 31 exhibitors, 30 speakers, and five panels. There was also a showcase of vehicles to test drive including three different Tesla models, and two Jaguar all-electric I-PACE vehicles in addition to the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle.
Since 2005, fleet managers have come to AltWheels for practical information on how to improve performance in their fleets while making them more environmentally sustainable. AltWheels Fleet Day provides corporate and municipal fleet managers with factual information and valuable insight on what has and hasn’t worked for others. Fleet Day focuses on the latest in fleet transportation technologies, alternative fuels and fleet management practices.
This year AltWheels had 10 new sponsors in addition to 25 returning sponsors. This year’s event drew more than 200 corporate and municipal fleet managers and other key alternative transportation officials from towns and state agencies across New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, Alabama, Arizona, as well as California.
Alison Sander, founder and chairman of AltWheels, opened Fleet Day, speaking of the transition AltWheels made from a public event in 2003 to a focused event for fleet managers.
This year’s keynote speaker, John Davis, an Emmy Award-winning producer, host and creator of MotorWeek, showed some videos of Clean Cities success stories from across the country. Davis also said that while people may fear autonomous vehicles, they are coming and that most newer vehicles have some components of the AVs that they don’t realize they’re utilizing, such as driver assist parking, rear backup, lane assist, forward collision warning and auto braking. The 2020 AltWheels Fleet Days is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 5.