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Energizing change

Utah Caring Stories

(ABC4 NEWS – Salt Lake City, UT) Smoke and haze, smog, whatever you want to call it…it’s air pollution. The good thing is that there is a silver lining to this Utah Caring Stories feature, a group called Leaders for Clean Air that wants to help clear the air and do it for free.

Austin Bettridge, Senior Program Administrator for Leaders for Clean Air told me; “We know that 10 percent of the pollution problem is due to mining, refining and manufacturing; 40 percent comes from area sources such as building businesses; but more than 50 percent comes from tailpipe emissions, meaning commuter vehicles, transportation and things like that.”

The non-profit group have a program that aims to energize change. Bettridge explained what they do; “We approach local businesses and talk to them and educate them on electric vehicle charging stations. We can help them schedule an electrician, walk them through the installation process, we can get them quotes on that. We can also secure the electric vehicle charging hardware and help subsidize the cost to make it nearly free or completely free in most cases.”

You gotta love that 4-letter word, F-R-E-E.

Great ideas are one thing, but is anyone using the program? Bettridge rattled off a pretty impressive group of business adopters to the Leaders for Clean Air program. “We’ve working with companies like Adobe, Packsize, Utah Paperbox, 3 form and most of the ski resorts in the Valley. Snowbird, Vail, Park City” he said.

I got to visit with the C.E.O. of Packsize, Hanko Kiessner. It was crystal clear that Hanko not just talks the talk, he and his company walk the walk.

As you enter the Packsize headquarters you go past a pretty extensive array of solar charging stations. They all were busy charging vehicles. I’m guessing there may have been more solar powered vehicles at this one location than you would find at a local car dealer.

I asked Kiessner why he drives an electric car. He replied with a smile; “I love this region I love the outdoor opportunities. Our employees do. So, I figure we needed to be part of the solution. At that point we decided we had to go zero emissions with our transportation and I have to live that example. That is why I drive an electric car. That’s why Packsize put up 53 charging stations around the building to which every employee can drive up to and get a free refill, so they can drive home without charge and also without emissions.”

It’s nice to see that the program is making a difference. As the Senior Program Administrator for Leaders for Clean Air, Bettridge, sounded like a proud papa when he told me about the difference the program has made at Packsize. He reported; “When they put that in back in 2016 they had no employees that drove electric. Since putting that in over 35 percent of the employees at Packsize have purchased electric vehicles. In addition, they have electrified their entire fleet. It’s been awesome to see those kinds of results.”

These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

TO SEE MORE UTAH CARING STORIES AND TO NOMINATE A PERSON OR GROUP MAKING A DIFFERENCE GO TO ABC4.COM/CARING.

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