Workplace Charging Employer Workshop Best Practices Webinar (Text Version)
This is a text version of the video for Workplace Charging Employer Workshop Best Practices Webinar presented on Sept. 29, 2015.
Sarah Olexsak: Hello, and welcome to the Workplace Charging Challenge Employer Workshop Best Practices Webinar. You are joining us today to learn about one of the best ways to promote workplace plug-in electric vehicle charging, and that’s by holding an educational outreach event targeted for employers in your community. Today's webinar provides the experiences of four organizations that have executed a workplace charging event for their stakeholders. The presenters will save questions for the end. But feel free to submit your questions in the webinar comment box. We'll also be highlighting DOE's new workshop in a box resources that can support your outreach efforts. And if you check on the right-hand side of your screen, you can see under the handouts section, you can find some of those documents today and we'll talk more about them throughout the webinar.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the Workplace Charging Challenge, it was launched by DOE as part of the president's Easy Everywhere Initiative, which aims to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022. The challenge works to raise the profile of workplace charging and increase the number of employers offering charging to 500 by 2018. We currently have over 235 employer partners who have over 600 work sites where 5,000 charging stations are accessible to 9,000 PEV-driving employees. Some of the most exciting efforts to promote and support workplace charging are coming out of our ambassador organizations and our network of DOE Clean City Coalitions, and you'll hear more about these efforts from our presenters today.
My name is Sarah Olexsak and I'm the coordinator of our program. Our team is comprised of Pete Heywood, Carrie Giles, and Carrie Ryder. Carrie and Carrie head up our recruitment and serve as our partner account managers, and we're also excited to welcome two new members to our team, Nick Bleich and Nay Chehab. Nick is a Presidential Management fellow and he is recently graduated from Cal Poly in California and with a master's degree in civil engineering and city and regional planning. Originally from Lebanon, Nay graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master's degree in energy policy and climate, and she's incredibly excited to work with us on electric vehicles.
Before we dive into the topic for the day, I want to highlight our upcoming progress update. This summer, for the second year in a row, we distributed a survey to 200 employers to track how the challenge in workplace charging across America is evolving as more workers adopt PEVs. The report is set to be released in December and will be the subject of our next quarterly webinar, so stay tuned.
Now on to the topic of our webinar, how to engage employers in your community by leading a workplace charging outreach event. Let's tee this up by first looking at three different kinds of workplace charging events that you can hold. First, a stakeholder coalition building event, such as a roundtable, a stakeholder meeting or a leadership council can help you create a regional direction for workplace charging. It's a great first step gathering where local governments, utilities, NGOs, dealers and others can learn not only the basics of workplace charging but also can get on the same page about the priority level that workplace charging has in their PEV community readiness efforts. So as an example, last fall, New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection held a joint stakeholder gathering with the New Jersey Clean Air Council on workplace charging.
This event allowed New Jersey to examine the workplace charging that was already in place in the state, and then help them start to strategize for the future infrastructure needs. The next kind of event takes place after all of your usual suspect PEV stakeholders are ready to move forward on employer engagement. These events focus on educating employers about the benefits and the challenges of workplace charging. So the next 15 minutes of this presentation will focus on this kind of event, so more to come from our guest speakers.
Lastly, an event focused on recognizing employers who have committed to providing workplace charging can be an incredibly valuable tool in spurring workplace charging in your region. Two great examples of such events are the California PEV Collaborative's Drive the Dream events and Drive Oregon's Easy Roadmap workplace charging recognition ceremony. Each of these events in the – that has happened in the past assumes that the general employer education about workplace charging occurs elsewhere, either one-on-one through staff outreach or through a prior event, and creates a valuable incentive for employers by providing recognition from leaders in the community.
The first Drive the Dream event, for example, was held in 2013 and was led by California governor Jerry Brown. It generated corporate commitment for 2,033 chargers and over 1,500 PEVs from private – from employers in California. The Drive the Dream of 2015 is scheduled for next month and we're sure that that will be a great success, as well.
So as I mentioned earlier, throughout today's webinar, we'll be highlighting new material in our workplace charging outreach tool kit. A link to this tool kit can be found on the ambassadors section of the workplace charging website, or from the Clean Cities website under coordinator toolbox. This tool kit provides an overview of workplace charging and best practices for putting on a workplace charging event. This also includes outreach templates for your events, such as sample agendas, template invitations and, as mentioned, these documents are available – some of these documents are available in the handouts section of the webinar on the right side of your screen. So if you have any idea for content that should be added to the tool kit, let us know.
If you are aware of employers in your community who are providing workplace charging and are not yet recognized by the DOE Workplace Charging Challenge, or if you're aware of employers who need technical assistance for workplace charging, please visit our website or contact us. We're actively recruiting new employer partners in hopes that as you hold outreach events in your community, you'll consider promoting the challenge among your participants. Thank you again for joining us today and I'd like to introduce our featured speakers.
So first up we have Ben Prochazka from the Electrification Coalition. He's the director or strategic initiatives to lead initiative PEV deployment projects like the Drive Electric Northern Colorado and Drive Electric Orlando projects. Ben has spent more than a decade leading environmental, human rights and voter engagement efforts at the local, state and international levels.
Lori Pampell Clark is a principal air quality planner at the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Her responsibilities include implementation of various clean vehicle and alternative fuel programs and policies to improve air quality. Lori works on the Electric Vehicles North Texas program, which over the past year has focused on increasing emphasis on workplace charging and engaging local businesses to join the Workplace Charging Challenge. So Lori is with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and also the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition.
Linda Benevides is the Massachusetts – in the office of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. She's a director of the green business – of green business at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and she's a lead coordinator for the commonwealth's effort to accelerate zero emissions vehicles. She works with the commission there to set up legislation in state agencies to ensure that the state implements policies that incentivize accelerated vehicle adoption.
Samantha Bingham is with the Chicago Department of Transportation and she's also with – the main coordinator for DOE's Clean Cities – Chicago Area Clean City Coalition. In her role as the Clean City coordinator, Sam encourages local fleets to use alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles as well as technologies to reduce petroleum dependence and improve air quality. During her nine-year tenure at the city, Sam has obtained over $50 million in grant funding for green fleet incentive programs in the Chicago region.
So as you can see from our map, these four organizations represent quite a bit of geographic diversity, in addition to organization type diversity. We're going to kick things off by giving Lori, Linda, Samantha and Ben a chance to give you some high-level background on their organizations' workplace charging efforts, and then we'll divide the rest of the presentation into six topic areas that delve down into the steps for holding a successful workplace charging workshop. And those are on the screen in front of you.
For each of these sections, our speakers will present some highlights on how they've managed issues pertaining to each topic. Then we'll have some discussion to dig down into their decision-making process, and at the end, we'll have some time for Q&A from the audience, so please think about the questions that you have and submit them in the comment box to the right of your screen. So all right, let's get started. Ben, can you give us an introduction, please, to the Electrification Coalition's PEV efforts?
Ben Prochazka: Sure, and just wanted to thank Sarah and the rest of the team for your continued leadership on helping to spur action on workplace charging programs and for inviting us to participate in this webinar. The Electrification Coalition is a DC-based organization that has largely focused on representing the value chain of a plug-in electric vehicle and includes working with members of the industry sector that are pulling the ore out of the ground, creating the charging stations, the OEMs, all the way up through some of the largest transportation sector businesses in the world. We have, in our efforts, really focused in a lot on how do we accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles under the idea that, A, driving electric has huge benefits, but when you kind of boil those benefits down it's focused on how do we reduce oil dependency, then it's important for our national economic and national security, and also in the idea that it's obviously a benefit for the environment.
So in terms of the work that we do, we've taken some of our policy papers and we've written something called the EV Roadmap, or the Electrification Roadmap and then also the Fleet Electrification Roadmap, and the idea is we've taken those policies and applied them to the ground in a couple implementation projects that Sarah mentioned. So one of those is Drive Electric Northern Colorado, another one is Drive Electric Orlando. I'm going to primarily focus on Drive Electric Northern Colorado. It's an effort basically to develop an ecosystem that's going to rapidize the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. The idea is that we work with systems of government, business and community leaders, the OEMs, the dealerships, kind of everyone that would represent or could impact influencing the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. And so far in the community, this year, as an example, we are more than double the national average for EV adoption.
In terms of the workplace charging programs, we, in February of this year, launched our first effort at this and wanted to create a local workplace charging program that aligns with the national effort, and so we essentially created the Drive Electric Northern Colorado workplace charging challenge. And it was in partnership with Northern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition. And in that effort, we did that basically we created a goal for the program, initially the goal was to launch it with 15 partners, who had agreed to launch a workplace charging program as an employer, and then out of that, an initial launch in February, we actually increased our goal to 20 workplace charging partners by 20 – by the end of 2015. And so far, we have 18 workplace charging partners. They represent a diverse group of the cities that are participants in the program. Some of the largest area employers, the major universities in the region, and at this point are well over 15,000 employees who now have access to workplace charging in the community.
A couple of the key pieces and I'll drop that – stop there is that we use this as a mechanism to kind of help create momentum in the community. And so it was a little bit of a dual thing where we were recognizing existing people who were signing up at our launch of it, and then we used that as a catalyst to continue to recruit additional members. We have continued ongoing interest in – for people to participate. It's getting incorporated in the larger city plan around how they work with area businesses and also connecting with other things like climate action plans that the cities are developing. And at this point, we have a very interesting mix of folks, not only the cities and the businesses that I mentioned, but a recent addition to the workplace charging program is Resurrection Fellowship, which is one of the largest megachurches in the Northern Colorado region, who's now offering charging – they started it as an employee program but then they'll also offer it to their entire congregation. So it's an interesting example of the power and influence that a workplace charging program could have.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you, Ben. Next up we have Lori with North Central Texas.
Lori Clark: Thank you, Sarah, and I echo Ben's gratitude for y'all's assistance in this overall effort nationwide and for choosing to involve us, thank you very much. For those of you who don’t know us, the North Central Texas Council of Governments serves as the regional planning agency for a 16-county area centered on the Dallas-Fort Worth urban core. So within that, we have about – we have over 6.5 million people right now and we're a very rapidly growing area forecasted to grow to about 9 million, so another 50 percent, within the next 20 years. So that comes with a lot of resource challenges and a lot of coordination challenges.
So as a regional government, our job is to work with all of our local units of government so our members are actually cities and counties predominantly. We also have school districts and special districts like utilities that are members of our agency. And so we try to reduce duplication and improve consistency where we can from one jurisdiction to the next. But we wear a couple hats, we serve as the metropolitan planning organization, so we're responsible for transportation planning, and since we are designated non-attainment for ozone, 10 of our 16 counties are designated non-attainment for ozone, we also are responsible for doing air quality planning as part of our transportation work.
So within our transportation department, I work on air quality and one of our air quality initiatives is Electric Vehicles North Texas, which is really kind of a component of the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities, which we have. So it's kind of a convoluted structure in a way, but I wanted to give a sense of kind of the layers and kind of the perspective that we come from when we come to the table talking about electric vehicles. Of course, as a Clean Cities Coalition, we're very concerned about petroleum reduction and wanting to meet our goals on that to support the national Department of Energy goals.
But legally, we're required to work towards ozone attainment efforts, so we are also very much concerned about the emissions impact. And so when – in Texas in particular, when you look well to wheels, electric vehicles gives you a net benefit on emissions, because our electric grid is pretty clean. And so that's one of the things that we really see as an opportunity to kind of move the needle on our non-attainment status just a bit. Because the number one contributor to our ozone pollution locally is light duty gasoline vehicles.
So this is something that seems to be working really well for the general public and for our six-and-a-half-plus million residents. It's something that can be a feasible option. So our background, we were fortunate when ECOtality was ECOtality and got their Recovery Act funds. We were one of the markets that they selected to be a major focus of their EV projects, so we have been blessed over the years with abundant public charging infrastructure. And we've been hosting National Drive Electric week, formerly Plug-In Day, really since the beginning. It's, of course, evolving over time and becoming bigger and bigger every year. We just wrapped our event up last weekend and kind of a sigh of relief that it's over. But it's always a really good time and it's enabled us to meet a lot of really great stakeholders. And we've had stakeholder meetings for years and one of the things that really came up last year was a need to focus on the workplace.
And so that kind of spurred a focus on workplace charging for us over the past year or so. So I'll just kind of stop there with that as our background and save the rest fro later.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you. Linda, can you tell us about the Massachusetts work with workplace charging?
Linda Benevides: Sure, thanks, Sarah, team for both your leadership on these issues but also giving us great advice and tools to use. So I work on the policy team on technology-related issues and regulation development at the Executive Office. And this is a cabinet-level office that oversees the activities of our environmental agencies like DEP, the regulatory agency, and our energy offices like the public utilities office and our Department of Energy Resources that houses our Clean Cities program.
And we started focusing on electric vehicles as a strategy in our clean energy and climate plan as really important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as the petroleum reduction goals of our Clean Cities program. On the slides, you'll see a copy of the eight-state action plan that we're working on with California and several other states across the country to have very similar goals and projects that are going to try to accelerate the adoption of those types of plug-in electric vehicles.
We also have a statute that passed and established a zero-emission vehicle commission to get high-level policy recommendations and to advise us on legislation that would be useful to move those goals forward and so we've had our first meeting just last month of that commission. Some of the things that we've been doing in the EV space, we do have a rebate program on the vehicles. It's M-O-R, dash, E-V, MOR-EV program. Other car programs, we have a fleet program where, for municipalities, state agencies, driving schools, to get EVs into their fleet and reduce their costs. We've had a number of infrastructure projects. We'd also got some funding from ARRA and now we've moved on to using some congestion mitigation, air quality, transportation funds, inspection and maintenance funds, penalty programs, to start a workplace charging program, which is really a big focus of ours now.
We're also looking at a fast charging interstate network that will also kind of get more people comfortable with driving their cars further. One of the outreach programs that we've started is this Mass Drive Clean, you see the logo up there. It's a branded test drive program that we had or will have eight events by the end of October. We're using the really successful events that were done by Plug-In America out in California as our model. And we've got several public events coming up. We had a – University of Massachusetts was one of our test drive hosts and so we had a lot of students driving the cars as well as parents who were sent invitations by the university.
We've got a community close to Boston that's going to host an energy fair where they get like 5,000 residents coming out every year to look at different things and have some test drives there. And again, primary focus was workplaces, because we do have a grant program and I guess I'll talk about that grand program a little more later. So that's just a general overview of what's going on in Massachusetts.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you, Linda. Samantha, you're up next. We're running a little bit behind, so we'll try to get through these next few slides pretty quickly. Samantha, can you tell us about what you are doing in Chicago with EVs and workplace charging?
Samantha Bingham: Sure. So I'm Samantha Bingham with the City of Chicago's Department of Transportation, but for the last 20-plus years, the City of Chicago has housed the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coordinator. So while I am a city employee and work on policies and projects here at the city, I also wear the hat of our regional Clean Cities initiative.
And so our Clean Cities efforts are regional, and so it's not just focused on the actual city of Chicago. So over the past 20 years, we have worked very closely and have been very successful with fleet initiatives. We have housed hundreds and hundreds of educational events for fleets and local governments, educating them about petroleum reduction and EVs are the first time that we've actually focused some of our efforts on commuters and changing the type of technology that they're using to get to and from work. The city of Chicago is interested in workplace charging initiatives focusing on actually suburban workplaces.
We have a lot of large suburban campuses which don’t have great access to transit, but – and we have 69 percent of our residents in Chicago who live in multi-unit dwellings. So from the city's perspective, we saw working with suburban employers as an opportunity to help grow the market for EVs in Chicago because of our lack of charging infrastructure for those who live in multi-unit dwellings. And then additionally, as a Clean Cities Coalition, we typically don’t work with employers. This was kind of new to us, so we had to rely on some key partnerships, especially the Environmental Law and Policy Center, who really led this effort with workplace charging to make strides in an effort locally to engage the local employers on workplace charging. We've held a couple of events and I will share more on that in the next few slides.
Sarah Olexsak: All right, thank you very much, everyone. So for those on the call, when you're starting to consider planning holding a workplace charging event, your first step is determining the objective of the event and the associated messaging of that. So some of the questions you want to ask yourself are, are we just at the point where we're looking to build a stakeholder coalition around the prioritization of workplace charging in our community? Or are we at the point where we're ready to move ahead and we want to educate employers about workplace charging and let them know that they can come to you and others for resources in their efforts, or are we at the point where employers are already pretty well educated about workplace charging and you really just want to recognize outstanding employers for their efforts in workplace charging and spur other employers to take action today?
So each of the folks on the call today, the primary objective of their event was that middle ground employer education. Lori, Linda and Samantha, can you quickly go through and discuss how you provided a basic intro to PEV and charging station technology without being overwhelming to your audience, and then how did you link to our national DOE Workplace Charging Challenge?
Lori Clark: Sure, this is Lori. For our event, we – you want to know who's in the room. You may have an idea of who you wanted to be there, but you never really know who is going to show up. Sometimes it matches the registration list, sometimes it doesn't. So a couple things, first of all, we were getting RSVPs for our events so we could kind of study up on our attendee list a little bit in advance to kind of get a sense of what's coming. And then once we got there, we just kind of asked around the room, how many people already have – how many people own an electric vehicle, how many people already have workplace charging, how many of you have talked about already doing workplace charging, and just kind of did a show of hands. We also had a little bit of AV difficulty at the beginning of our meeting, and so it kind of helped fill that empty, awkward space at the same time as it served to help us just kind of understand do we try to breeze through the basics on the slides so that we don’t bore people or do we go ahead and go through them?
So we planned our presentation with some of those basics with the intent to figure out who was there and then be able to breeze through a little bit. And as far as linking to the national message, it was an opportunity for us to really leverage so that the employers themselves, which isn't – the private sector is not the group of organizations that we interact with on a day in, day out basis. Our primary customer for our agency is really a city or a county, but to be able to go out them and they realize it's not some dinky little local agency that's trying to do this, this is a national campaign with a federal agency involved. And so it was – we found that to be very valuable.
Linda Benevides: And just to add to that, we, in Massachusetts, not only looked at how we were inviting but we also looked at who we were inviting to speak, because we wanted to have kind of a variety of kind of corporate structures, so there was something for everyone in the – during the day. So we had a public university speak, a company that's international, some smaller company that has a number of branch offices, we had a defense contractor speak, all asking them when they were preparing their remarks to kind of make it engaging.
So one of the speakers used this myth buster approach where kind of like one of those science programs where they have here's – we can't drive an EV very far, and the truth of the matter would be the next slide. And one presenter talked about a journey and it was kind of how it started in a board room and then kind of got out to the parking lot. So I think we really wanted to let people know in the audience, too, that there were vendors that they could – that were set up around the outside of the room so that they could ask specific questions and really get some direct feedback to their situation so they could listen to these speakers but they could also kind of ask specific questions of how to follow up on it.
And I think the resources that Sarah came and spoke about the resources that she had available, that national companies are already engaging in this and it's just part of their sustainability efforts, I think it really helped people to reinforce the idea that this is not rocket science. It's pretty basic stuff and you can learn from each other.
Samantha Bingham: Yeah, we – this is Samantha, we polled our attendees before the event and found that 45 percent of them had already – were already offering charging. So we felt that we still needed to cover EV 101 briefly in our presentation. And we invited Robert Duffer from The Chicago Tribune to come and give that overview, which is – which was fantastic. Because he's – he writes and speaks to a much broader audience than we typically do in Clean Cities and we typically work with fleets and we're very technical in nature.
So Robert hit the right – the middle road between technology and just light information on the EVs. We didn’t cover the charging stations, that was a little bit too technical, and there were some questions on that, but those mostly were addressed by the panelists during the local employer panel. And the reason – we really wanted to highlight that what we're presenting here is not just a regional initiative but national in scope, that workplace charging plays a boarder role in helping EVs enter the marketplace and stay in the marketplace. And having Sarah come and speak at our event really helped drive that message home. To be able to point to the Department of Energy's Workplace Charging Challenge was a great tool for us.
Not only did it show that there was a national initiative going on, it provided technical assistance, and that's what we felt as a group that we really lack, that follow up for folks who needed that who had the technical questions following the event. We were able to put them in contact with Carrie and Sarah and that was great. That made us look good. That – having those resources and those folks on deck really helped move things along in our region in terms of projects.
And then also the recognition, the technical assistance and the recognition to be able to show that you're participating – you're on a map, I think, was a key part of why we wanted to have the workshop and why we really stressed that the Workplace Charging Challenge was something that folks should get on board with.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you guys very much. Next up, in the process of planning your workplace charging event, your workshop, is deciding who your partners are going to be, getting your sponsorships and identifying a host. So by partnering with local NGOs, municipalities and your state government, you can leverage resources and relationships of all of the parties. Securing sponsorship and having meeting space donated by a host can also help defray costs.
So you can check out our tool kit for a template host outreach letter. So Ben, Lori and Samantha, I wanted to ask you who did you partner with for your events and do you have any tips on obtaining sponsorship or securing a host site for a workplace charging outreach event?
Ben Prochazka: Well, I'll go ahead and go. So as part of the event that we did with Drive Electric Northern Colorado, we actually partnered with Colorado State University. They were one of the early participants in the program and so it was an opportunity for us to actually have a host site that was a current workplace charging partner so that the next stage of workshops where you'd invite area employers. We also – the university represented kind of a nice location that’s kind of centralized, which makes it easy for people to get to, and it obviously has plenty of space to be able to do that. And in our case, part of that opportunity was that we could have people actually view some of the stations, how they've installed them, what their protocol was.
In terms of other partners, we also worked with area businesses, the cities, so the city of Fort Collins, city of Loveland in the Clean City Coalition, and ultimately part of the idea of the partnership is that when they were invited to be a part of this kind of hosted event, one of our goals was to be able to leverage the different communication channels that all of those entities had as a way to invite people to attend the workshop. And we found that to be very successful because our reach might be 50 to 100 businesses, something like that, whereas then with the combined reach of all of the participating organizations, we were able to leverage and get the opportunity out to a much broader audience.
Additionally, we also wanted to use a carrot basically to get people attend. And so in reaching out for sponsors, we worked with infrastructure providers, which is always a little tricky, because in some ways, it's the idea that they're there to kind of sell their product, and you want to be careful not to do a workshop or, at least in my opinion, where they're just then all kind of coming up and saying the same thing and then talking about why their product is better than their predecessor that just spoke.
And so in this case we actually – one is we invited all of them to provide us a charger as a giveaway, which we had a couple agree to do. And that actually ended up being a huge benefit, because the winner of the giveaway was the local school district who was very interested in launching a workplace charging program but infrastructure cost is a little bit of a barrier. And I promise that was a random selection. But they were the successful winner of that piece. But I think that helps – people had to come that day to be a part of it, so they saw that as an opportunity, and then the giveaway, if you do something like this, we actually made it a requirement that they would put the station in within the next three to six months, and if they weren't able to do that and didn’t – weren't able to meet that commitment, then we would be giving it to the next person that would be on the list.
And then the last piece is the host employer testimony. So I – we actually used both the host employer and then other employers as part of that piece where it acted both as an interesting moment where it's the ability to give people tangible, real examples of what people went through and how the programs have worked. And obviously there's also some challenges, and so we wanted to make sure there was some acknowledgement of any challenges that might've existed. But by doing and that having the workplace – current workplace charging employer sort of testimonial, it gave us the chance to have it act as a recognition on it, too, and I think employers see the value of that and in some ways, they also see the idea that their peer, as they see other employers, maybe are going to do a better job at sort of representing the potential value proposition associated with installing workplace charging and we just found that to be a very compelling mechanism to push people forward and agree to do a program.
Lori Clark: Sorry, I forgot that I was on mute. This is Lori. For us, what we wanted to do, we had talked to Sarah at Department of Energy about doing Workplace Charging Challenge and we knew that there was probably some interest among some other cities in our state. And so we teamed up with all of the Clean Cities Coalitions in Texas and that's how we branded it as a workplace charging road show, which we think was really nice because it helped to build some excitement.
And so when we went to reach out to sponsors, we were able to say, we're looking for sponsorship for the Texas Workplace Charging Road Show, and so the sponsorship opportunity kind of went for the whole thing. Which was kind of nice. Similar to what Ben said, we didn’t want to have companies who provide the charging really participate in our workshop as presenters, because it is kind of a self-serving thing. And so for those companies who wanted to be able to say, look, I'm in this industry and this is what I offer, the opportunity for them to be able to say something at the workshop was through sponsorships.
And so that's how – one of the reasons that we were able to make that really attractive to them. So I would recommend anybody looking to do a sponsorship to figure out some sort of way where that company has an opportunity for exposure that they would not otherwise get. That said, we did not limit our vendor participation only to the sponsors. We – come one, come all, if you offer charging, that’s what everybody's here to learn about. So we wanted them to be able to interact with as many different companies as possible.
And then we went to our event was hosted at the local Microsoft facility, which was kind of exciting, everybody was like ooh, Microsoft, it's techie, it's kind of cutting edge and things like that. Our offices our not real exciting and [laughter] we're just a little government agency in a building that we are a tenant in, we don’t even own it. So although we do have workplace charging on site, it's not something that we're able to make the top priority because we have to go through our building management. And so we wanted a place that could make things splashier and it being a private sector organization and not government always means that there could be more bells and whistles and things like that.
So we actually were really successful, partially because we teamed up with some of the more active industry people in our area. Nissan in particular is very involved. And so they actually had been talking to Microsoft about wanting to do some work with them, and they facilitated the introduction that eventually led to Microsoft being our host location. And we also – Sarah gave us great advice on here are some very involved and very supportive at the national level in workplace charging, and so these companies may be more receptive if you were to reach out to them to partner or to sponsor. And so that ended up working out really well.
Samantha Bingham: And that includes us here, this is Sam, we – early on, our partners who were planning out the events, we decided that we didn’t want to have sponsors. We wanted to be seen – this event to be unbiased. And so we didn’t want to have any corporate logos on the agendas and every – on the website and everything. So we did have a vendor area for participating vendors, but we did not take any sponsorships. We identified our host, who ended up comping lunches and everything, by working with the state of Illinois, we have a local rebate program for charging stations. So the state was able to do go – to prune their list of rebates that they have issued to date and actually give us a list of all of those corporations who were already offering workplace charging.
So not only did we invited those folks to either speak or attend the event, but then also that's how we identified our corporate partners who hosted the events. And they really – this was a great event for them. They have strong corporate sustainability goals. They took advantage of this event and in the morning before the participants in the workshop had a chance to do the ride and drive with the EVs, the corporation had a EV ride and drive that their employees got to do.
So not only did – they wanted to make sure that their employees had an opportunity to check out and get behind an electric vehicle, which was an awesome added benefit to the event. And I think on the previous slide it showed that we have 8.2 million people in our region. So as we were a small team trying to pull this together, we – the Environmental Law and Policy Center helped us prioritize who we should be getting on the phone with and who we should be e-mailing and trying to get to those events by doing some research on the largest 100 employers in our region? And so that's where we put all of our effort and we did invite everyone – it wasn’t just an invite-only event, it was open to everyone. But we really put our efforts into trying to get the largest employers there because they – we saw them as having potentially the biggest impact.
Sarah Olexsak: Thanks Sam. So next up is choosing workshop speakers and setting the overall agenda for your educational events. Many previous workshops were between three and four hours long. So a template agenda can be found on our webpage, which utilizes this timeline. It allows for adequate time for registration, vendor displays, ride and drives and event speakers should the cover the topics on the screen, which we are not going to go into detail on these topics today. So we're looking at really framing up the importance of PEVs to your local region, highlighting accomplishments in your PEV community readiness efforts. Speakers should also provide fundamental information on PEV and charging station technology. It's really great to have a firsthand EV driver experience. And the most important part is ending with – landing with a employer panel where you can have a testimonial from various employers in your area who already have workplace charging. Another thing that you can find at our website is a template outreach letter for speakers, that's in the tool kit. So next I'm just going to ask Ben and Linda to talk, Lori we'll skip you for the moment, we're getting behind on our agenda, so if each of you can just take one minute to talk about what made your agenda uniquely successful and anything in particular that you might've changed.
Ben Prochazka: Sure. I think from our end, things that made the agenda specifically successful, and I'm going to kind of go in reverse order here, but it'd be – one of the things that we tried to do is we created a drive leadership program where we're getting people – advocates at the highest level to get behind the wheel for an extended test drive. And so then they tend to be thought leaders or other types of leaders.
And it's been a very – a great complement to the workplace charging program, because when we invited the mayor and council members to be a part of the program, it kind of went beyond the initial kind of surface talking points. They could talk about their own personal experience of driving the vehicle and why they believe those are such a compelling solution for whatever the problems are that are being solved, climate change or whatever else is going on in the community.
So that was really a helpful piece because it prepped them so that they had that tangible experience prior to getting up on the stage and talking about it. And then we incorporated the prep conference mechanism into the event and so in some ways, that is – again, it's kind of combining that moment of recognition and testimonial, and I think the more that you can figure out ways to kind of create testimony from real experience, but then have it act in the form of recognition, you're just going to find that that is going to continue to engage and invite and excite other new partners to be a part of the program because they want to have those same opportunities.
Linda Benevides: Yeah, and in our state, the host was just – he kicked us off with the welcoming, he was so enthusiastic about sustainability and the importance – the generational importance of doing the right thing. So it really primed the group, I think, finding that kind of a kickoff, we were just really lucky. The speakers, they all focused on kind of their firsthand experience.
We had an all-day event, so the speaking part was in the beginning of the day and then in the afternoon we had the ride and drive. So we had four speakers, and like I said, we tried to get a variety that someone could relate to. I think in the future I would've cut that back to a couple of speakers, and as Sarah said, maybe have an EV driver there.
The host site actually had – has a Tesla owner who helped me with all of the arrangements and he spoke about putting the charging stations in so he could talk about being a driver. But I think I would've emphasized that. And I would've included maybe an electrician that had already done the work so that it kind of would be another perspective versus an employer.
And I think something that maybe was – went wrong was, again, it was a little repetitive with all the speakers. They emphasized the similar things, you learn as you go, you make mistakes, okay, employees really love it, it's very positive. And so in the future, I guess I would've prepared, prepared, prepared, had speakers give us their presentations and maybe talked with them a little bit more, we didn’t leave enough time for that.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you both. So next up when you're planning your event is you want to consider whether or not you want to or are able to have a vendor display. And when we say vendor display, we mean charging stations, electrician, that type of thing and a ride and drive with electric vehicles. So vendors, local dealerships and national automakers can be invited to exhibit their displays or host ride and drive demonstrations. These opportunities can create real value for workshop participants and can provide an important networking opportunity for your local electricians and others in the charging station vendor community. Never hosted a ride and drive before? Well, one thing that we have up on our – another thing we have up on our website is a lot of great resources about doing this, so check that out and it will be pretty helpful. Next can we just have – Linda, we'll skip you for the moment, Lori, can you talk about your vendor display and ride and drive in about a minute. Good luck [laughter].
Lori Clark: So we – as I mentioned, we kind of – we kept our vendor exhibit area open to anybody who was connected to that industry. So we had several different EV charging installers come and a lot of them had little tabletop demo units, so kind of show and tell to a certain degree, how the equipment works. So for somebody who's really unfamiliar with workplace charging, that's very valuable because it's all theory and pie in the sky until you can kind of see it.
And the ride and drive I think is a big, big, big component. Ben kind of referenced it earlier. We're a big believer as butts in seats as the things that really kind of gets some people across the goal line when it comes to them buying an electric vehicle or seeing why it might be something that's really attractive for somebody else to buy. And so the opportunities to experience that, again, it's kind of theory unless you get to see it, touch it, feel it yourself, was very helpful.
And so we had GM and Nissan both brought vehicles and then they had staff on site at the event to kind of handle the coordinating of here's your liability release form, now you're going to go around the block over here. And so we didn’t really have to be hands-on with that part, which was really nice for us. But I think we got a really positive feedback both on the vendor and the ride and drive side. The vendors thought it was definitely worth their while, the attendees seemed to really enjoy that part.
Sarah Olexsak: Lori, I think that your vendor display was one of the best that I've seen. It was funny when I read your comments, you didn’t necessarily know if you thought that it went as well as it could have. But I think what made it really helpful is that you had your vendors in the room right next door and you gave your participants a break in the agenda halfway through your day – halfway through the morning where you said okay everyone, head next door, grab a drink, grab some coffee, but go over there. And you let people mingle for a good 15, 20 minutes with the charging station providers. And I think that was really helpful.
Lori Clark: Thank you.
Sarah Olexsak: So next up is deciding on the invitations and outreach strategy and I see that a couple questions have come in about this, so hopefully we can answer those here. The target audience for workplace charging education is usually sustainability managers, facilities managers, transportation planners if you have employers with larger campuses, they'll have a transportation coordinator. Even human resource managers and just others in their – in these companies that are interested in learning more about providing charging stations for their employees. So past organizers have found that issuing an invitation to attendees at least one to two months in advance of the event yielded the greatest number of participants. Don’t forget to check out the tool kit for a template workshop invitation. And a really important thing to note is that by engaging existing networks, like your local chamber of commerce, local sustainability roundtables, regional council, metropolitan and transportation planning organizations, these organizations already have those ins at those companies that you want to be working with. So if you get an in with them and you get them to put the word out about your event, you can really extend the network of your attendees. So Ben, you have some really great invitations and outreach, if you could talk about that briefly, that would be great.
Ben Prochazka: Sure, I guess one of the things that we did is we actually – so it says here that invites went out three weeks in advance. We actually – we probably – we did an early event then we did a second event, and we connected it to National Drive Electric week as part of way that employers could participate in National Drive Electric week. But we actually sort of took a three-tiered approach.
So we reached out to area businesses by direct e-mail and sent them a save the date, so less of a specific invite but more of a personalized e-mail that we hope that they're interested in participating. Two is then we created a sample invite that we used for all of our participants so that the host locations, cities and others – so that they could circulate it more broadly. We also used it as a mechanism with our current EV owners. And I think that's something that maybe if I were to go back to the last slide, I would also encourage the invitees should be EV owners at workplaces.
Because in a lot of cases, we've found that they can be some of the best influencers to get a company to install workplace charging. So don’t leave those folks out of the picture. I think they can actually be an incredibly influential part of the puzzle. And then we actually did a couple things where we had an employer host – we did it with them, but an op-ed where they talked about the program, and we're happy to share this with anybody that's interested, but they talked about the program, launching it and why it was successful and almost like a call to action to other area employers. And I think that that was a great way instead of it being sort of advocacy organization, it was a – somebody, again, that people would see as their peer kind of calling them to action. And I think that was a really influential part of getting people to show up at the event and really be interested.
Sarah Olexsak: Thanks, Ben. I think that that op-ed was one of the most innovative things that I've seen. And like you said, having the call to action come from the employer and having that employer who hosted the event invite other employers in the community to come to this workshop was really genius marketing. So amazing job on that. And I'll just note that between Dallas and Massachusetts, both of their workshops, six weeks in advance, four weeks in advance sending out save the dates and both said that they would want to start that invitation process sooner. The earlier the better on this, because you are really oftentimes tapping into completely new audiences. So it takes some time to get that out there. Massachusetts, Linda tapped into her Mass DOT Mass Ride and a rideshare listserv, and that was really successful for them, as well.
So lastly we have event follow up. And I know that some of the participants in today's call will need to drop off at the top of the hour, but I want to give some time to talk about how our different workshop hosts followed up with attendees after the event and how they're planning on following up with the event. But please stick around, we'll stay until quarter after the hour to continue to do some Q&A. There's been a lot of really great content, we have a lot of questions pouring in, so please stay on the call that you – if you can. So one of the things that all of our hosts talked about is how important it is to send the attendees of your workshop off in a way where they do not feel so overwhelmed with the amount of information that they just heard. So giving them a single go-to point of contact, one point of contact with your organization that can help steer them to the right resources is incredibly helpful, and having a single – at least one single informational resource, and here I'll mention DOE's PEV handbook for workplace charging hosts. This is a great brochure that is going to cover everything that you've just covered in that workshop that you can send them off with and copies of these are available. So please follow up with us if you're interested and they can be found online. And by following up with attendees after the workshop, you can gauge their interest in installing workplace charging and you can also find out what additional resources or assistance are they going to need to actually make that happen. So with that, I'm just going to ask Ben from Electrification Coalition, Lori from Dallas Clean Cities – Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities, Linda from the state of Massachusetts and Samantha from Chicago Clean Cities and City of Chicago to talk about how they followed up with their presenters and attendees after the event and what their plans are for the future of workplace charging.
Ben Prochazka: Sure. So from our perspective, we had it as part of the outreach plan when we do this that the attendees that come in, we want to use the giveaway of the charger as a mechanism to make sure we collected everyone's information. It was just an easy way that people were much more likely to sign in. Not that that's necessarily been a problem, but it's a way to make sure.
So having some form of a giveaway is a good mechanism for that. I think two is we created a specific section of the website, probably everybody's done something similar, but we've created a one-pager, we have a specific pledge that incorporates the USDOE version of this, so the Workplace Charging Challenge nationally, and really made that a very straightforward, simple piece and then after the events, Annie, who's one of our – really does a lot of the legwork on the ground, is – and making this happen, we basically just planned that we would follow up with people each – directly after the event and to figure out what questions they have, to find out what interest level they have and also to figure out if there are barriers they see as reasons they can't – aren't interested yet in doing workplace charging.
And then someplace – suddenly being able to have those one-on-one conversations after the event really makes it easier for us to work through those barriers and oftentimes remove them very quickly.
Linda Benevides: In Massachusetts, we also used the event to kind of announce a workplace charging grant program. So the 90 or so people that attended, they picked up their grant application, they were able to ask DEP questions about how to complete the forms and I think that was really successful. And to date, we've – I think we've installed 150 charge – operating charging stations now in about 175 different locations and that was the launch of it.
We were planning on doing a one year later survey, but the summer got away from me, so we haven't done that yet. But I do think that it was really the start of getting the charging stations in the ground at a number of locations.
Lori Clark: For the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we did a survey after the fact, and survey response rates are never going to be 100 percent, but we did have a couple dozen out of the – we had about 40 people attend our event. And so it was very short. It was just some qualitative questions about how would you rate your understanding of electric vehicles before, how did this event affect it, did it improve, not change, things like that. Same kind of questions on workplace charging. Asked what they found to be the most valuable, what kind of information they would like follow up on and then with – which of our existing e-mail groups they would like to be added to so that we can hopefully kind of start a dialogue.
And we're kind of scrubbing through the responses. We've pulled out a few things that are definite action items on our part, like following up on some specific questions about what are the best practices about locating your workplace charging on your facility's footprint and some things like that. So we'll be following up with those people with the DOE handbook, and then there's some kind of technical tax questions that seem to keep coming up, but we'll be following up on those action items and then do plan to try to do some one-on-one meetings with a handful of the people who said yes, I'm interested, over the next few months to make sure we don’t lose that momentum.
Samantha Bingham: And this is Sam in Chicago. We followed up informally with some attendees and then we saw the results of a survey that was done in California where a large number of employers that offer workplace charging were surveyed and their top ten challenges were graphed very – and it really pointed out that employer policies and cost considerations were the two biggest challenges, both in that survey and then also in our discussions with local employers. So we followed up our workplace charging workshop in October with a kind of a workplace charging 201 at the Chicago Auto Show. We held a workshop that took a deeper dive and it focused on policy options. Sarah was a great help and the team over at DOE with helping us pull together the resources to have a presentation on the various policy options that exist for employers and what's been working, what hasn’t, kind of best practices across the country from their perspective.
And then also we had electric – local electrician and our local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers do a site assessment, an example of a site assessment of what happens when electricians come out to a facility to see what's all involved in the site assessment process. And then our local electrician kind of put a cost to what – linear, how much – how far away you put the station, how close it is, other considerations for the utilities. So he really helped dispel some of the unknown in terms of cost when it comes to charging. And all those resources we've put on our Clean Cities website and we point them out to people all the time.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you guys so much. There are still around 100 people on the line, so we're just going to do a couple questions. If you haven't typed in your questions, please do. So one – the first question is will the presentation be posted on the website, and the answer is yes, it will. We'll have a recording from the presentation and we will be sending that out to attendees, the link probably in the next couple of weeks.
Next up, this question's for Linda. Do you know, does the Massachusetts incentive program apply to companies who are served by the municipal utility supplier, as well?
Linda Benevides: Yes, so the car rebate program applies to any resident of Massachusetts who has purchased or leased a plug-in electric or an electric vehicle. We do have a grant program that is for fleets and that does apply to municipal fleets as well as state agencies and public universities. So there are two different programs, one for the infrastructure and one for any resident for the vehicle.
Sarah Olexsak: This question's for anybody on the line, all of our presenters. Did you attempt to partner with other programs that could appeal to draw more employers? This is something we've kind of alluded to, tapping into existing networks where – employers where there's a potential for synergy like LEED or the Best Workplaces for Commuters program or the AASHE Stars program targeted towards universities. Did you work with any of these types of groups where – by getting employers involved that are part of these communities where installing charging stations can help get them points or credit under these other programs. Did you do anything like that?
Lori Clark: This is [crosstalk] Dallas-Fort Worth. We did not, but I think that's an excellent idea and if we repeat this workshop, we will definitely [laughter] take that advice.
Ben Prochazka: I will – this is Ben in Northern Colorado. We actually used – they have a local program called Climate Wise that area businesses participate in and they also try to reach different levels of participation and can do things to sort of be – win recognition, a bronze, silver, gold medal type thing. And so they're natural partners, we've got 300 businesses that are a part of that Climate Watch program, and so they're always looking for new ways that they can be bleeding edge. So we use that.
And I think – I guess the point there is I would – everybody should look at local options. Sometimes there are national organizations and maybe people are a part of those, but a lot of times there are also really great sort of local initiatives that kind of fit that same model.
Linda Benevides: Yeah. In Massachusetts, we have a number of transportation management agencies that we used to get the word out and we also have regulations on the books that require any company with more than 250 employees that they reduce their single commutes by 25 percent I think over a 5-year – 10-year period. And so we kind of had a captive audience by using that mailing list. Here's an option to get points towards meeting your regulatory requirement.
Sarah Olexsak: So how did you all attract people, attract employers who may not have been invested in EVs beforehand? Do you think that you were – your audience, was it – were there people in the audience that were just learning about electric vehicles and charging stations for the first time, or were they mostly employers who maybe had already been prodded by their employees to look at workplace charging and were following up on this question? What did you think that your audience was composed of or how did you try to reach out to people who weren't interested in charging stations prior to your event?
Ben Prochazka: This is Ben. I guess it's a – yeah, I think a mix of attendees. But it was probably more heavily weighted to people who were already expressing some interest in just learning more about it. I think there's a mix of retail and wholesale outreach. Retail meaning you had to go one by one to individual employers. And so we ultimately created that list based on the idea of let's target the largest employers because they potentially have this sort of most to – it's a low incentive cost really in a lot of ways to provide a fairly significant employee benefit. And so large employees – employers made a lot of sense. And then for smaller employers, we sort of figured out employers that would be most likely to sort of identify with EVs or with sustainability or other reasons that someone might be attracted to this. But then the wholesale side is then using those messaging – those messengers so having the op-ed we could use is a great mechanism for outreach and then we also used cities have key accounts lists. So kind of the key businesses in their community, the largest utility users, and so that was a good mechanism so then we already know then kind of matches up with as far as giving us another outreach opportunity.
Linda Benevides: Yeah, I think in Massachusetts, most who attended were interested in the topic already, whether they heard from employees or were interested in doing it on their own. There were a couple – many that hadn't done any installations yet, so they used it as a learning opportunity, but I think they were predisposed to that. Through our EV rebate program, we asked in our survey if you were an employer who would like to have workplace charging and want us to reach out to your employer, just send us a name. And so we've kind of been using that as a way to get at companies who haven't taken action yet.
Sarah Olexsak: Thank you so much for participating and if any attendees are – have any follow up questions, we would be happy to help. Please send us a message, firstname.lastname@example.org and thank you again to our presenters. Have a great day.
Ben Prochazka: Thank you.
Linda Benevides: Thank you.
Samantha Bingham: Thank you.