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Member Spotlight: ICOM North America

Dudley Westlake
Autogas Fleet Development Specialist
This month we asked Dudley Westlake of ICOM North America to tell us a bit about himself, how he became interested in alternative fuels and ultimately why he joined ICOM North America. They are our newest coalition members.
How did you get involved in alternative fuels? 
I have always enjoyed the business challenges associated with creating and expanding markets.  The opportunity to expand the market for alternative fuels in the United States by offering both significant reductions in emissions leading to cleaner, healthier air AND helping public and private fleets reduce their operating expenses is truly a win/win.  When the opportunity to join ICOM surfaced,  I was excited about it for just those reasons.
Which of your alt fuel products are most popular in Texas? Why?
ICOM has historically focused on Propane Autogas products while also recognizing that in Texas, both Propane Liquid Injection Autogas and CNG fuels are already meeting the needs of fleets that must reduce their emissions or “carbon footprint” and simultaneously reduce operating expenses.  We are introducing a dual fuel Natural Gas (CNG-LNG-RNG)/Diesel system this year that has already been well accepted in Canada, Mexico and Europe for larger class 7/8 vehicles. We have partnered with NAT G, based in Houston, as our exclusive dealer in Texas since they already have an established CNG business in the state.  According to Dennis Foose, NAT G CEO, “ICOM’s patented liquid injection systems are a perfect complement to our CNG system offerings, and we can now offer our fleet customers both alternative fuels since each has a specific niche.”  Texas, as an alternative fuels producing state, also offers grants and subsidies through TCEQ/TERP that can significantly offset the costs for installing systems and get more cleaner running vehicles on the road.
What are other advantages of using ICOM’s products?
Another very important feature for fleets that provide essential community services or cover large territories is the extended range available when vehicles are equipped with both gas and alternative fuel systems.  During hurricanes and other natural disasters, gas and/or diesel fuel distribution may be compromised. Running what we call “bifuel” systems can double the range of a vehicle.  According to Alex Hinojosa, Jr, Vice President of Hinogas.  “I selected ICOM for two reasons, first, their liquid injection systems offer better overall vehicle performance and their fuel pump is not located in the tank with the propane.  I don’t have to evacuate the tank to service the propane pump.”  
We know you live in California and service New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas.  Can we count on being your favorite state?
Yes! Texas has a special place in my heart because my daughter and her family live in Austin, and the more time I spend in Texas, the more time I get to spend with my 20 month old grandson!

Member Spotlight: Henna Chevrolet Isuzu

Ronnie Max Oldham –
Commercial and Fleet Sales Consultant

How are you and Henna involved with alternative fuel vehicles?
I work with commercial and fleet accounts, building relationships and selling them medium-duty work trucks and vans from Izuzu and Chevrolet, which has a variety of AFV offerings.
You’ve been involved with Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance and other Clean Cities coalitions for a long time – how did you initially get involved?
I owned a company called CleanFuel CNG Conversions which upfitted vehicles to run on compressed natural gas and propane.  I was responsible for all aspects of management of this startup, including hiring, training, motivation and supervision of numerous employees and contractors, as well as sourcing and procurement of equipment and system components. In this position I also made direct sales of engine conversion services to large fleet and government accounts in various states.  I have about 10 years of experience with CNG, LPG and plug-in hybrid systems.  Through this company, I worked with Clean Cities Coalitions and propane and natural gas associations across a number of states.

Since you designed and installed onboard fuel storage and delivery systems, were you required to hold certifications and if so what?
Yes, I am: CSA Certified Fuel System Inspector, ASE F-1 Certified, Texas Railroad Commission CNG Certified
Anything else we should know?

Here’s one of my favorite inspirational quotes:

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Ronnie Max can be reached at ‭(512) 289-9799‬ and max.oldham@henna.com.

Suburban Propane

Christina Roberts leads the National Accounts Sales Team for autogas sales at Suburban Propane.  She sat down with us this month for our member spotlight.About Suburban Propane – Headquartered in Whippany, New Jersey, Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SPH) has been in the customer service business since 1928.

Suburban is a nationwide marketer and distributor of a diverse array of energy-related products, specializing in propane, fuel oil and refined fuels, as well as marketing natural gas and electricity in deregulated markets. Suburban is one of the largest retail marketers of propane autogas in the US; maintaining business operations in 41 States, providing dependable service to approximately 1.1 million residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers through 700 company-owned locations.

As one of the largest retail marketers of propane in the United States, Suburban had retail propane sales of 480.4 million gallons in fiscal 2015.

Suburban Propane’s focus with autogas includes school districts, municipalities, shuttle operators, cab companies and fleets. Christina touts the lower fuel costs, convenient fueling options, reduced emissions and lower maintenance costs as she visits potential customers across 41 states.

About Christina: She started selling propane wholesale in the Great Lakes region 9 years ago for an other company and for the past two years has worked for Suburban selling autogas nationwide. Suburban offers a turn-key solution to switching to propane to make the process easier.  Christina has been successful in this role gaining customers from school districts and fleet owners alike.  She begins by helping the customer find any available financing to facilitate the switch.  One potential source is Suburban’s own Environmental Improvement Rebate Program.  For more information, please contact her at CRoberts@suburbanpropane.com.

Meet Brian Zelis Business Development Manager for Nissan-USA

Brian has recently joined the Nissan team and  is responsible for the growth and leadership of Nissan’s market expansion of the EV automotive and fleet sector. Based in Dallas, Brian’s responsibilities include marketing, sales, and fulfillment throughout the South Central Region.
To make 2018 LEAF fleet purchases even easier, Nissan has participating dealers on the Texas Buy Board (Gunn Nissan in San Antonio) and Houston Galveston Area Council Cooperative Buy Contract (Mossy Nissan in Houston).    Contact Brian for more information:  brian.zelis@nissan-usa.com.  More information about the Nissan LEAF can be found here.

Member Spotlight – Electric Cab of North America

This month we interviewed Kris Bailey, the Chief Operating Officer of Electric Cab of North America. Kris joined Electric Cab of Austin in 2011 as the COO. He is the COO and co-founder of Electric Cab of North America which began operating in 2016 as a first/last mile solution company.

What service does Electric Cab of North America provide?

We focus on an industry known as Micro-Transit. We use electric vehicles to solve the first/last mile problem with public transportation. We firmly believe that the way to increase ridership on rail lines and bus systems is by making public transportation more accessible.

What locations work best for your first/mile last mile service?

We look to provide service that complements public transportation. Transit agencies and cities are our target customers. Large developments or areas with poor connectivity to public transportation are also where we focus. Our aim is to eliminate food and transit deserts one area at a time.

How is this product important to businesses and individuals? How will they benefit from using it?

Increased mobility in an area goes hand in hand with economic development. When people can move around easily, they can easily visit more places. This increases visits to businesses, creating more jobs and making an area more attractive to visit. All of this travel in our electric cabs – keeping Austin’s air clean and reducing traffic!

Where is Electric Cab of North America Operating?

We operate an on-demand urban mobility solution in downtown Austin 7 nights per week. People can easily move among all of the downtown districts (West 6th, Warehouse District, East 6th and Rainey Street, West Campus, SoCo, etc…). Instead of having to choose which district, you can visit all of them! We have also partnered with the Domain Northside to provide free shuttles through their development. We can connect the department stores to the condos to the restaurants. Again, with increased mobility, people frequent more businesses.

Where else do you operate – or plan to?

We are looking to connect this district to the Kramer Lane light rail stop as well. There is no public parking around that rail station, and it is in an industrial area. Within a 1mile radius, there are a lot of appealing destinations, such as the Domain Northside, with Whole Foods and all of the stores in addition to housing. There is also an Austin Community College Campus within a mile of that rail station. Can we increase ridership on the public transit system by providing accessibility to a rail stop? I think so.

We have been working in the St. Louis area for several years and launched Kirkwood, Missouri in late October. We have created a model that can be replicated and scaled to any city in the United States and are actively growing our company.

What else?

Our partnerships are what make us strong. We have partnered with Polaris, the manufacturer of our electric vehicles. They are firmly committed to providing high quality and reliable vehicles.

We have also partnered with United Rentals, which has given us the ability to launch a city from any of their 900+ branch locations throughout North America. For future projects we have partnered with 5D Robotics, a company focused on precise positioning that will enable autonomous vehicles to function better in the future. And we’ve partnered with Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance to develop project ideas to submit to potential funders.

Contact Kris Bailey at: