South Shore Clean Cities Inc. (SSCC) held its 2014 annual meeting Feb. 18 at the Avalon Manor Banquet Center, hosting representatives from three U.S. legislators to recognize top alternative fuel users, distributors and supporters in northern Indiana.
Long-time SSCC supporter Ric Federighi, general manager/partner of AM 1420 WIMS, served as emcee.
Carl Lisek, executive director, said groups from Purdue University, Purdue North Central and Alan B. Shepard High School from Palos Heights, Ill., were among the more than 200 attendees.
"The theme of this year's meeting was 'Together we make great things happen,' and that includes students," he said. "We were excited to host these three groups at the meeting because it is vital that our nation's young people become involved with and consider careers in environmental science."
Lisek said South Shore Clean Cities will celebrate its 15-year anniversary in June 2014.
"South Shore Clean Cities and its supporters are making a difference. In October 2013, net petroleum imports to the U.S., which include petroleum and diesel, were at their lowest levels since February 1991. We also held more than 75 education events to promote the use of clean diesel technologies, alternative fuels and petroleum reduction activities throughout the state," he said. "We will continue to make a difference, as our goal in 2014 is to show a 20 percent reduction in petroleum imports."
Members of the organization were recognized for their work in five areas: accessibility of vehicles, conversion kits and project funding; early adopters of alternative fuels and technologies; emission reduction technologies; providers of infrastructure and fuels; and partners in outreach and training.
Celina Weatherwax, a representative from the office of U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky, said South Shore Clean Cities brings together municipalities and private industry.
"We're here today not only to recognize what South Shore Clean Cities has accomplished, but to bring attention to the fact that they have been real connectors throughout our communities," she said.
Board President Tom Navarre conducted the board meeting and election of the 2014 board members. The 2014 board members are Bob Giguere, Inland Power Group; Rick Gosser, Gosser Corporate Sales; George Herina, AmeriGas; Don Hadley, Lakeshore Ford Toyota; Brian Houston, Clean Energy; Stan Kalwasinski, Patten Industries; Jennifer Kharchaf, Clean Air Car Check; Thomas Navarre, Family Express; Shawn Seals, Indiana Department of Environmental Management; Steve Thomas, CountryMark; and Shawn Waggoner, RelaDyne.
Lisek recognized the work of retiring board member Cindy Lundquist, who had been involved with the organization since 1999.
"She was one of the original board members. She was sponsored by NIPSCO to provide CNG racing," said Lisek. "She and her husband, Charlie, were like pioneers travelling all over the country promoting natural gas. Cindy has really made a difference in northern Indiana and she'll be missed."
The event wrapped up with Kevin Kirkham, strategic programs manager for Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) announcing the launch of Phase 2 of its IN-Charge Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, IN-Charge Around Town, for public charging stations throughout NIPSCO's territory.
"We want to provide charging stations to reduce range anxiety for EV owners," Kirkham said. "The second phase will have a budget of $1 million in incentives."
For information about IN-Charge Around Town, visit NIPSCO.com/INCharge. NIPSCO will partner SSCC to implement and manage the program.