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On March 4, 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Program officially celebrated the 15th anniversary of the program. Clean Cities Coordinators and program staff, past and present, and industry and government stakeholders and representatives gathered at the U.S. DOE Washington, D.C. headquarters to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the program, as well as those who helped contribute to its success. In an opening statement by National Clean Cities Director, Dennis Smith, he referred to the program as “the little program that could.” Today, seen as “the big program that does,” their humble beginning in 1993 is simply a fond memory, as the program has grown to nearly 90 coalitions, and is poised for incredible growth. One program testimonial, out of the many offered up by those working with the program internally and externally, referred to the program as “ready to bridge the gap to newly emerging transportation technologies.” In fact, the Clean Cities Program can easily be referred to as “the bridge” – period.

Clean Cities was founded on the “together, we can move mountains” principle – that reducing dependence on imported oil will best be accomplished by working together to achieve a common goal. Manned by a group of individuals who truly believe in their mission, the Clean Cities Coalitions, and stakeholders, have displaced more than 2 billion gallons of petroleum, since their inception. Serving as a bridge to the alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle industry, the coordinators have sought out opportunities to expand the infrastructure within their local areas in support of these vehicles and have in many cases “moved mountains” to accomplish the tasks.

The March 4th celebration opened with a formal welcome by Smith and Co-Director Linda Bluestein, and was followed by a ‘walk down memory lane,’ presented by John Davis, host and executive producer of MotorWeek. The presentation included a special video montage highlighting 15 years of significant Clean Cities moments, events, and media coverage. Following the video, a panel of current and former Clean Cities staff members discussed the program from its start, reflecting on the many great accomplishments, and where they see the program in the future.

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A panel made up of current and former Clean Cities staff members discussed the program’s progression. Photo credit: NAFTC.

Panel members included:

  • Dennis Smith, National Clean Cities Director
  • Linda Bluestein, National Clean Cities Co-Director
  • Michael Scarpino, Regional Clean Cities Project Manager for the Northeast region
  • Ernie Oakes, Regional Clean Cities Project Manager for the Northwest region, 1996-2008
  • Tom Gross, Deputy Assistant Secretary for EERE’s Office of Transportation Technologies, 1992-2002
  • Shelley Launey, Clean Cities Director, 1993-1994, 1999-2005
  • Tommy Foltz, Clean Cities Co-Director, 1994-1997
  • Marcy Rood Werpy, Clean Cities Deputy Director, 1995-2008

*Jeff Hardy, Clean Cities Director, 1994-1998, could not attend.

The two-hour event also included an awards ceremony that was hosted by Associate Under Secretary of Energy Richard Moorer, who recognized the following representatives from Clean Cities’ first six coalitions:

  • Atlanta: Dwight Ferrell of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA); Clean Cities Atlanta (CCA) Chairwoman Patsy Brownson of Cox Enterprises; and CCA’s First Coordinator Jeff Rader, County Commissioner of Dekalb County, Georgia
  • Denver: Natalia Swalnick of Denver Metro Clean Cities (DMCC) and DMCC Chairman John Gonzales of Adams 12 Five-Star Schools
  • Philadelphia: Dennis Winters of Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities (GPCC) and GPCC Chairman William Flemming of PECO Energy Fleet Services
  • Delaware: Emily Kuiken of the State of Delaware Governor’s Office
  • Las Vegas: Jim Brandmueller, First Chairman for Las Vegas Regional Clean Cities and Coordinator of the Eastern Sierra Regional Coalition
  • Washington, D.C.: George Nichols and Leah Boggs of Metropolitan Washington Alternative Fuels Clean Cities Partnership, Michael Carter and Ron Flowers (formerly) of the District of Columbia’s Department of Public Works (DCPW), and George Hawkins and Sabrina Williams of the District of Columbia’s Department of the Environment (DCDE)

Also during this segment, DCDE, MARTA, PECO, and DCPW received Lifetime Partnership Awards for being original Clean Cities stakeholders, and Jeff Rader received an Award of Recognition for his service as the first Clean Cities coordinator and for his leadership in helping to establish the Clean Cities program.

In addition, Dennis Smith presented the following awards to Clean Cities staff members.

  • David Rodgers, currently EERE’s Director for Strategic Planning and Analysis, received a Leadership Award for 15 years of outstanding vision, dedication, and exceptional leadership. When the Clean Cities Program was initially developed, he served as the Director of Technology Utilization in the former Office of Transportation Technologies. David Rodgers played a significant role in the development and growth of Clean Cities.
  • Wendy Dafoe of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory received a Lifetime Achievement Award for 15 years of outstanding service to the Clean Cities program.
  • Mike Scarpino of the National Energy Technology Laboratory received a Lifetime Achievement Award for 12 years of outstanding leadership, creative thinking, and devotion to the Clean Cities program.
  • Barb Wolfe of New West Technologies received a Lifetime Achievement Award for nine years of outstanding service to the Clean Cities program.
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John Davis presented a special MotorWeek award to Dennis Smith and Linda Bluestein in recognition of the many accomplishments of the Clean Cities program. Photo Credit: NAFTC.

A special recognition of the program was made by John Davis as he presented a unique MotorWeek award to Dennis Smith and Linda Bluestein. The award was made in recognition of the program for its dedication to advancing alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, and working with MotorWeek for many years to educate the public about these topics. This was the first time MotorWeek presented such a prestigious award in recognition of a program, or anything other than an automobile. The award, re-crafted from the original “Motorweek Drivers’ Choice” award reads “Clean Cities Program: Best Eco-Friendly Initiative.”

The Clean Cities program and the NAFTC work together on many projects, the greatest of which is their participation in the NAFTC’s National AFV Day Odyssey event.

Congratulations Clean Cities for all of your great accomplishments the first 15 years of the program!

For more information on the Clean Cities program, visit

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