Tommy Hobbs is combining his interest in alternative fuels with his desire to educate the public to help create some great new opportunities in the state of Alabama.
Business and Industry Liaison at Lawson State Community College’s Bessemer Campus, Hobbs was instrumental in the award of a recent grant which will allow the College to add an alternative fuels program to their roster. He felt it was important to pursue this opportunity because of his past experiences in the automotive industry.
“I served as a technician for 10 years before joining Lawson State, and worked as an automotive instructor for four years after that. A lot of the people I had talked to during that time had no idea about alternative fuels,” he said.
Although Hobbs recognizes that alternative fuel vehicles aren’t suitable for everyone, he believes there are still many people in the community who could benefit from them.
He said, “With the price of oil and the amount of oil that our country is using, I think it is important that people know what is available. Once I started talking to people, it just sort of snowballed.”
Although there is a Center for Automotive Excellence in nearby Birmingham that incorporates GM, Ford and Toyota programs that train people to work in dealerships, Hobbs wanted to expand beyond these programs. He recognized the need for more education about alternative fuels.
Hobbs made the decision to join the NAFTC a year ago after working with Mark Bentley of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. Hobbs said, “I did a tour around the state with Mark when he was doing public forums, and he told me about the NAFTC. I also pursued the CASE (Continuing Automotive Service Education) certification for Lawson State in December, and I knew these organizations would help us get where we wanted to be with our education and training programs.”
Lawson State is currently the only NAFTC National Training Center in Alabama.
In his eight years at the College, Hobbs has made considerable progress in the area of alternative fuels education, but he is not content to stop just yet. “I’d like to continue pursuing more grant money for continued alternative fuels programs and to eventually establish a state-of-the-art training center at the college so we can teach every area of alternative fuels. That way, anyone interested in alternative fuels can get all the information they need in one place,” he said.
For those who are interested in developing alternative fuels programs in their area, Hobbs suggests that the NAFTC is a great place to start, as well as their state departments. He said, “There’s a lot of grant money available out there both at the state and federal level, and if you get a little bit of help, you might be surprised how much good you can do.”