Midwest Green Transportation Agenda Showcases Thought Leadership and Successful Technology Deploymen
The fifth annual MWGT conference took place over three days last week. This year emphasized showcasing national advanced transportation though leaders along twelve concurrent sessions and pre-conference trainings highlighting fleet best practices, and a charettes-style workshop on shared mobility. Organizers of the event aimed to present action-based practical information framed by big picture discussion to help regional transportation leaders understand the dramatic change occurring in the industry.
“I think our agenda and quality of speakers demonstrated again why this event has built a reputation as the strongest regional conference of its kind that rivals similar national events,” said Sam Spofforth, Executive Director of Clean Fuels Ohio.
The event took place over the better part of three days, beginning with a fleet best management practices seminar and a charrette-style workshop focused on shared mobility. Thea Walsh, Director, Transportation and Infrastructure, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, led the charrette.
“The format was a great fit for the goals, which were to really dig into challenges of shared mobility and generate a prioritized set of recommended strategies to address the challenges,” said Walsh. “The report from the session should be a useful tool for policy-makers and all stakeholders.”
At the kickoff reception, Clean Fuels Ohio honored State Representative Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) as Legislator of the Year.
The main portion of the conference featured a combination of plenary and concurrent sessions. The first plenary featured a conversation on four big-picture mobility themes: shared, data-driven, electrified and sustainable. Spofforth moderated the discussion with four national experts: Creighton Randall with Mobility Development Partners, Nick Nigro of Atlas Public Policy, Megan Allen from GeoTab, and George Survant with National Truck Equipment Association. The morning plenary continued with short talks from Dan Lipschultz, Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Andy Burnham with Argonne National Lab, Arnab Nandi, Founder of Mobikit, Shruti Vaidyanathan from American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, Todd Mouw, President of Roush Clean Tech, Michael McDonald with UPS, and Justin Robbins of HDR. Twelve separate concurrent sessions over two days included over 50 speakers.
“We’ve learned that a mix of top notch national and regional speakers combined with great sponsors and exhibitors not only leads to great education but also powerful networking,” said Spofforth. “We wanted attendees to walk away with new knowledge and connections they can use to take action. Based on the feedback we got, I’d say we accomplished this mission.”
The Thursday lunch program featured announcements of eight newly certified Ohio Green Fleets, including the 100th certified fleet since the program launched in 2008. That evening, Clean Fuels partnered with Smart Columbus and Columbus Yellow Cab for an evening reception hosted by Smart Columbus at their downtown Experience Center.
While the organizers considered the conference a great success, the true measure of that will be based on follow up to help strengthen existing and new relationships and facilitate action to implement advanced vehicle, fuel and other mobility projects throughout Ohio and beyond.
“We don’t hold a conference just to hold a conference,” said Spofforth. “It’s a great catalyst but the goal is to accomplish real results.”