This year’s National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey – scheduled for Friday, October 15 – is the fifth installment of the biennial event dedicated to promoting AFVs and advanced technology vehicles.

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The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) is seeking Odyssey site coordinators, partners and sponsors. Visit the Odyssey Web site to learn about hosting a local site and partnership and sponsorship opportunities.

All Odyssey participating sites, sponsors and partners will receive national exposure through Odyssey’s nationwide publicity, marketing and advertising. Such coverage will increase the impact and reputation of your local efforts. By being part of this innovative and valuable professional and public awareness event, your company or organization will strengthen partnerships among industry organizations and be showcased in the Executive Summary, which is distributed to Congress and thousands of others nationwide. (View the entire Odyssey 2008 Executive Summary.)

Mark Schmidt, National Instructor for the NAFTC and former program director for the Alternative Fuel Program at Ohio Technical College in Cleveland, has seen first-hand the benefits of participating in Odyssey.

“When I worked at OTC, we always participated in Odyssey. If we didn’t have Odyssey, we never would have become a National Training Center – that I know,” Schmidt noted.

Through Schmidt’s efforts in hosting a National AFV Day Odyssey event, Ohio Tech was able to meet the NAFTC criteria for becoming an NTC.

“Being an NTC helped showcase Ohio Tech and our Alternative Fuel Program,” he explained. “Attaining National Training Center status increased enrollment at the college and helped me recruit students for my program.”

Odyssey also assisted Schmidt with forming significant partnerships with Clean Cities Cleveland and other key organizations. Additionally, holding an Odyssey event generated positive publicity for Ohio Tech through reporting from local television stations. “To get 30 seconds of coverage is awesome,” Schmidt said.

Since Odyssey’s inaugural event in 2002, subsequent celebrations have been increasingly successful. On October 3, 2008, the NAFTC and its partner, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, and hundreds of groups and organizations joined together to conduct the fourth National AFV Day Odyssey with overwhelming success. With events taking place from Delaware to Hawaii and in Canada, the impact of the 2008 National AFV Day Odyssey was beyond the NAFTC’s expectations. Not only were there nearly 200,000 direct attendees, but more than 50 million individuals were reached through media outlets. The event was also honored with a national resolution, spearheaded by U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, to designate October 3, 2008, as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day.

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The 2008 Executive Summary shows U.S. Senator Robert Byrd designating October 3, 2008, as National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day.

“This year, the NAFTC is working to exceed the 2008 achievements,” said Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director. “We anticipate having 125 Odyssey sites across the U.S., more than 200,000 attendees and more than 75 million individuals reached via media outlets.

“We also are reaching out to new organizations, such as secondary schools, and planning to increase participation from other green businesses and organizations,” Ebron added.

To date, we are well under way with 65 U.S. sites preparing to participate in Odyssey 2010. The NAFTC invites you to join and help spread the word to millions of individuals about the difference alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles can make in our nation’s energy security and quest for cleaner air.

Site coordinators of local site events are never alone. The Odyssey team at NAFTC headquarters is ready to assist you and answer your questions. You will also have access to a comprehensive, online Site Coordinator Notebook, which provides step-by-step instructions to help you plan your event. It comes with media and advertising aids, promotional materials, event and activity suggestions, checklists, templates and graphics. Items are also customizable to your organization’s event and can be found electronically on an accompanying “Graphics and Templates CD.”

With increasing concern over energy security, foreign oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions, we hope you will join us October 15, 2010, to heighten awareness and enthusiasm for AFVs and advanced technology vehicles.

To get involved with Odyssey 2010 or to receive additional information, e-mail Odyssey Event Manager Virginia McMillen or Odyssey Assistant Michele Wengryn. Both may also be reached via phone by calling (304) 293-7882.

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