December 6, 2012

Westport Volunteers in the Community Schools Program – Part 2

About a month ago, we told you about Westport’s involvement as a United Way corporate partner in their Community Schools Program. Three Westport employees (Teresa K., Kat W., Heidi C.) led a seven week program called, “Yarn Artists” which helped Grade 4 and 5 children to discover all the fun and creative things with yarn.
“I am happy to report that the collaboration between Westport, United Way and the Vancouver School Board has been a success,” Teresa said. “I had so much fun and I think the kids did as well, since they asked us to go back to the school the next term. I feel great that I get to share my interest with the children and that they have fun learning new skills.”

The Community Schools Program gives Westport an opportunity to contribute to our local Vancouver community beyond a traditional corporate giving program, and gives staff a way to personally contribute and volunteer.

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Michelle

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next two weeks is Michelle T., who is based at Westport’s head office in Vancouver, Canada.

Michelle’s work on the human resources team at Westport puts her in daily contact with Westport employees in all buildings at Vancouver head office. She helps with recruiting, processing employee title and manager changes, and general human resources program review and maintenance. Clearly, the enjoyment she tells me she receives from meeting new people and helping employees makes her well-suited to her role!

Until her recent graduation, Michelle’s time outside work was occupied with school (congratulations Michelle). Now her well-earned free time is spent spoiling her yellow lab Bailey, enjoying fashion blogs, and a love of shopping for shoes! She put herself through school decorating cakes, so she now has fun taking cake decorating classes for pleasure. A west coast girl, Michelle is a fan of seafood, especially eating fresh steamed crab right on the beach.

Michelle is particularly excited she was a winning bidder in our recent internal auction supporting United Way. She will have one of the Westport-WiNG power system-equipped Ford F-250 trucks for a weekend. And what will she do with it? “Just drive it around! I may take it up to Whistler for a day.”

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCarolineJohn L & John HAstridLanceMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureenManojMats and Tomas, and MelissaBradJonathan and Tina.

December 4, 2012

Westport Joins Over 120 Companies to Call for a Price on Carbon

Westport recently joined over 120 global companies including Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever to call on governments around the world to put a price on carbon. The Carbon Price Communiqué is a historic call for action coordinated by the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Network for Climate Action in association with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development and the International Emissions Trading Association. Bringing together a broad coalition of stakeholders, the Carbon Price Communiqué signals the readiness of leading companies to tackle one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. It also underscores the importance of regulatory certainty for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging growth in energy, transport and the built environment.

Launched on November 19th, 2012, the Communiqué is being presented to all Parties at the ongoing UNFCCC COP18 negotiations at Doha. The Carbon Price Communiqué is the sixth Communiqué to be issued by the Corporate Leaders Network for Climate Action, however it is the first to advocate for a specific policy action. The Communiqué argues that “A clear, stable, ambitious and cost effective policy framework is essential to underpin the investment needed to deliver substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions” and that “putting a clear, transparent and unambiguous price on carbon must be a core policy objective.”

We believe it’s good environmental and public policy to broadly apply carbon pricing to encourage a shift to lower-carbon fuels and drive innovation. Westport’s world-leading natural gas engine technologies help reduce emissions from the transportation sector, and we strongly support policies that lead to reductions in climate changing greenhouse gas emissions. Many jurisdictions around the world have implemented or are contemplating a carbon price and, according to the European Environment Agency, 33 will have a carbon tax as of 2013. Closer to home, the preliminary findings from British Columbia’s four-year-old carbon tax suggest that fossil fuel consumption patterns are indeed changing, and that investment in clean technology has jumped by 50 percent over three years (KPMG, Clean Tech Report Card, 2011). We are pleased to support the Carbon Price Communiqué in its call to raise awareness and advance a carbon pricing policy that is stable, clear, transparent, and ambitious.

November 19, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Tina

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next two weeks is Tina H., who is based at Westport’s head office in Vancouver, Canada.

Tina works as the director of Westport’s Internal Audit function; she and her team are responsible for helping Westport develop and implement best practices throughout the organization and foster awareness of risk and internal controls. Tina enjoys the “small, big-company” atmosphere at Westport, where the growth over the last few years has been phenomenal, and Tina is seizing the opportunity to take her experience in mature global organizations and apply it to Westport as the company grows further.

Tina’s role occasionally takes her away from head office in Vancouver to visit Westport’s operations around the globe, and she has plans to visit all locations over the next 12 months. No stranger to travel, Vancouver-native Tina left a decade ago to pursue experience in London and New York. She returned to Vancouver last summer with her family to enjoy a slower paced lifestyle.

When not at Westport managing her growing and energetic team of Internal Auditors, Tina is in the new home she is enjoying since her move back to Vancouver. She says, “We are relishing the fact that we do not have to take a plane to visit half of our family (the other half is in England). We are simply enjoying the peaceful back garden with our daughter!”

Tina kick-starts the morning with coffee, but then adrenaline and the fast pace of Westport’s activities carries her through the day. Tina’s favourite food is sushi, which she says is very expensive in New York and London so the plentiful selection of affordable, high quality fish in Vancouver is a treat.

Tina claims a nice dinner date-night out with her husband would be her indulgence – a rare occurrence for them, each with a demanding career and a little one in the family.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCarolineJohn L & John HAstridLanceMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureenManojMats and Tomas, and MelissaBrad and Jonathan.

November 8, 2012

Congratulations to Fred Zweep for his NGV Global 2012 Champion Award!

NGV Global 2012 is happening  in Mexico City from November 7-10, 2012 and to launch the event, organizers recognized five outstanding individuals from around the world for their contribution to the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry.

Fred Zweep of Vedder Transport Ltd  is an extraordinary ambassador and Westport Innovations is proud to congratulate him as a 2012 NGV Global Champion. Fred is an astute and well-spoken business man with a relentless commitment to his community, clients, partners and employees. His work and business ethics are second-to-none and his continuous support to the NGV industry is admirable.

Fred Zweep receiving the award for NGV Global Champion from NGV Global Chairman Gabriele Gozzi.
Fred’s dedication to both operational and environmental excellence, combined with his passion and integrity, has led the company to adopt a multitude of innovative solutions. In December 2010, Vedder Transport was the first operation of its kind in Westport Canada to announce its purchase of 50 Peterbilt liquified natural gas (LNG) trucks powered by Westport HD systems. Fred’s constant commitment to achieving excellence and safety has also positively influenced the perception of LNG trucks.

Furthermore, his innovative leadership has become known around the globe, and Fred regularly welcomes industry stakeholders, government officials and commercial fleets to his facilities in British Columbia to showcase his successful adoption of LNG trucks. These visits and meetings are arguably the most effective activity to demonstrate the tangible benefits of NGVs and convince additional fleets of the advantages of adopting LNG trucks, consequently encouraging the use of NGVs in other jurisdictions.

This 2012 NGV Champion award recognizes Fred’s exceptional contribution and valuable support to the NGV industry at home and abroad.

November 5, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Jonathan

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next two weeks is Jonathan M., who is based at Westport head office in Vancouver, Canada.

Jonathan is not new to social media. He uses Twitter for personal news as well as for research at work. As a research assistant on the Sustainable Energy Futures team, he spends a great deal of time researching and compiling data on everything related to natural gas for transportation including policy and macro energy trends.

He says he enjoys working on sustainability issues in a real-world and practical way, and being part of something “effecting change today and tomorrow.”

In his free time, Jonathan would rather be in an ocean canoe somewhere on the BC coast. He goes canoe-camping or bicycle camping as often as he can. In town or out, Jonathan may be found writing. Perhaps surprisingly, he often develops ideas while riding the bus!

He indulges in serial television dramas. He attends local live music events, especially electronic or experimental music. On the restaurant scene, he’s all over the recent Neapolitan pizza craze across Vancouver. He likes anything spicy, French food, and cooking at home is enjoyable as well as eating out.

If he could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, he says without a doubt it would be one of his “favourite dead authors” to whom he could pose many questions. The list includes David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest) and one-time North Vancouver resident Malcolm Lowry (Under the Volcano).

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCarolineJohn L & John HAstridLanceMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureenManojMats and Tomas, and Melissa and Brad.

November 2, 2012

BSR 2012 Conference – Fast Forward

By Teresa Ko, Westport Sustainability Performance Analyst

Twenty years ago, Business Social Responsibility (BSR) was founded, and in October they celebrated the anniversary with the BSR 2012 Conference in New York City.  The conference covered sustainability in a dynamic way across various sectors.  Lively discussion topics ranged from social media’s impact on sustainability to the changing energy landscape.  It was a truly collaborative experience between the public and private sectors along with governmental agencies and non- governmental organizations. 
Some of the highlights included:
·         A speech by and discussion with Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bert G. Kerstetter  ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.  She’s also the author of a very popular feature published in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” ( which addresses the importance of gender equality in the workplace.  Slaughter gave solid examples of tri-sector partnerships (public /private/ civic partnership) and how they can solve global problems.  She also raised the difference between making a living and having a life.
·         The panel discussion on The Changing Energy Landscape between Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund and Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres, Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk.  The topic is so important and complex; it’s not surprising that it exceeded its scheduled timeframe.  Both Krupp and Lubber agreed that we need to make smart and thoughtful decisions in terms of energy.  
·         The collaborative spirit carried through during the discussion with Neil Golightly, VP Shell North America, when he addressed how the connectedness of resources such as water and food need to be taken into consideration when looking at the energy equation.
As an emerging sustainability professional, I really appreciated the enthusiasm the attendees and speakers brought to the conference.  I met a lot of smart individuals who were full of ideas and I was able to share best practices and insights with some. 
As Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR said, “…we don’t need more road maps, we know where we have to go, we need to get there quickly.”  I agree and further to that thought, I think that we need to prepare ourselves for times when we have to re-visit the road map.  We need to be resilient to be able to adapt to our ever- changing environment.        

October 29, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Brad

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next week is Brad, who is based at Westport head office in Vancouver, Canada.

Brad works in the Heavy-Duty (HD) business unit at Westport, where he is responsible for the sales teams for North America and Australia as well as the marketing, government and regulatory affairs teams, who coordinate their efforts in support of the sales teams. As a result, Brad travels regularly across North America to meetings or events with customer or prospective fleets, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers.

Picture of Brad

Brad finds satisfaction in interacting with colleagues and business partners, “working with prospective fleets to identify Westport solutions that will meet their business needs,  lower their operational costs and reduce the environmental impact of their business.” He enjoys the opportunity Westport presents him, “to participate in a company that will have a transformational impact on the current transportation industry.”

In his downtime, Brad may be found on his bicycle, at Whistler skiing, or water-skiing behind his boat at Sakinaw Lake on BC’s gorgeous Sunshine Coast. He and his family have lived in Calgary, Toronto and, for the last 21 years, Vancouver.  Brad and his wife have two grown children – one in Calgary and the other in Sydney, Australia.

While Vancouver has a great selection of restaurants, Brad’s favourite is Malaysian.  Interestingly though, when asked what his indulgence is, he says simply “Cheezies!”

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid ZLance FMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureenManojMats and Tomas, and Melissa.

October 26, 2012

Fueling the Future: Advancing Technology for North America’s Transportation Future

Westport’s own Karen Hamberg, VP Sustainable Energy Futures, presented this week at a University of Calgary symposium on the future of transportation fuels. The Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISSEE) at the U of Calgary focused on this topic for the symposium because the shale gas revolution has changed the economics of energy, and could transform the transportation sector in North America.  The session was an opportunity for delegates to consider the pros and cons of such a transformation before making policy recommendations to government that could either support or deter natural gas transport. ISEEE partnered with The Van Horne Institute and Calgary Economic Development in presenting the symposium.
Speakers and delegates at the Fueling the Future symposium.
Photo courtesy of Bryndis K. Whitson, Van Horne Institute.
Karen along with Graham Williams, principal of G-PWilliams Consulting and Co-chair of the Natural Gas Group and the National Petroleum Future Transportations Fuels study, were invited because of their participation in the two-year study coordinated by the National Petroleum Council titled: Fueling the Future: Advancing Technology for North America’s Transportation Future. Hamberg and Williams wrote the natural gas portion of the study that was released in August 2012 and contributed to several other chapters.   
“Westport is still heavily involved in the ongoing outreach and communication efforts on behalf of the NPC,” explained Karen. “With recent infrastructure announcements from Shell and industry players like Encana, ATCO Gas and Cenovus Energy investing in natural gas vehicles, Alberta is one of Canada’s leaders in the shift towards natural gas for transportation.  We are delighted that our hosts from the University of Calgary brought such a diverse group of policy-makers, influencers, industry, academics and ENGOs together to discuss the economic, technological and infrastructure requirements for the deployment of natural gas vehicles.”
 The NPC study was developed for the U.S. Secretary of Energy to advise on the future of transportation fuels for automotive, air, truck, rail, and waterborne applications – specifically related to fuel demand, supply infrastructure and technology. Karen and Graham were among other officials from industry, academia and government who discussed the report findings to determine what actions industry and government can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from American transportation by 50 percent in the year 2050.
"Countries around the world are on the verge of transforming their energy system,” said David Layzell, Executive Director with ISEEE.  “To inform the policy and investment decision that will drive this transformation, we need to assess the costs, benefits and tradeoffs associated with various resources and technologies.  The NPC's study on Transportation fuels helps to fill this need."
For more information on the study, visit

October 22, 2012

Westport Gears Up for United Way Campaign

By Ganesh Khanna

With the leaves changing colour and everyone awakening from their turkey stupor it can only mean one thing…Westport’s annual United Way Campaign is just around the corner!

Westport has always been a strong supporter of the United Way's work in the communities. The United Way’s approach to problems is to provide long term, meaningful solutions by focusing on the root causes, to get the greatest impact and outcomes. In the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the United Way focuses on three primary issues:

1. Poverty, particularly children living in poverty

2. Bullying

3. Social isolation of seniors

Westport’s relationship with the United Way has grown from providing financial support to actively participating in programs that work to improve the lives of children where they live and learn. But as a multinational company, Westport’s impact in the community goes beyond just Vancouver, this year’s campaign hopes to address that by challenging our global locations to work with organizations in their communities.

The Westport campaign will be kicking off on October 31st with activities including the campaign launch luncheon, W-Bay online auction, and new events that will be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for further announcements.

For further information on the United Way please check out their sites:

Lower Mainland

October 18, 2012

Be a Driver for Change at Westport Connection Weekend at Science World

Have you ever wanted to find out what the connection is between natural gas and the milk on your cereal? Or how about learn how natural gas can help to make texting easier in India?

You can find out this weekend at Science World. As part of Around the Dome in 30 Days, Westport will be encouraging visitors to become a Driver for Change during Westport Connection Weekend. Westport volunteers will take future scientists through a circuit of fun and interactive activities, demonstrating the benefits of using sustainable energy – like natural gas - in their everyday lives. Participants will power a blender with their own energy, make carbon dioxide and learn about its effect on greenhouse gases as well as learn about natural gas as a fuel option by finding clues hidden on Westport’s own WiNG Power System Ford F250. After completing their challenges, participants will receive their very own Driver for Change license!

Westport is a supporter of Science World’s Bridging the Science Gap program – working to inspire youth towards careers in science and technology. As part of the program, Science World recently opened the Ken Spencer Science Park – an interactive outdoor space dedicated to educating youth about the future of new, clean technologies. Westport has sponsored the “Clean Transportation Story” exhibit, which helps demonstrate how everyday choices can impact our carbon footprint. Westport is proud to be part of this initiative and work with Science World to educate the public on how making more sustainable choices can help make an impact on the community.

Check out our Twitter page for updates and photos from the event!

October 17, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Melissa

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next two weeks is Melissa, who is based at Westport head office in Vancouver, Canada.

In her role as program manager for the High Horsepower development team focused on rail at Westport, Melissa is currently focused on managing the design and development of an LNG tender car for use with natural gas locomotives in North America. This finds her travelling fairly often to meet with partners on decisions on the project.

New to Twitter herself, she says, “My only experience with Twitter was in 2009 when my husband decided he would tweet the birth of my second child.  It actually ended up being a good way of making our far-flung friends and family feel a part of the experience.”

When Melissa is not working, she may be found with her family – she has two children – or back home in Ontario, checking out or interior design website for great ideas, or indeed eating.

Melissa says she loves food and it is very difficult to pick a favourite cuisine. “I like it all: Indian, Italian, Mexican, etc.  Although a night at Vancouver hotspot Vij’s Restaurant for some fantastic Indian fusion or a fresh caprese salad are high on my list!” Her indulgence is, in her words, “Wine, chocolate, as previously mentioned, food.  I wish I just had one favourite, but alas there are many.”

When asked who she would dine with, if she could choose anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, it is Melissa’s grandmother that she names. “She passed away many years ago and I miss the dinners we used to share at her table, which were often followed by long card games.” Being much younger when she lost her grandmother, Melissa says, “I failed to appreciate all the history she embodied and if we had one more dinner together, I would be sure to fill our conversation with questions about her life, in particular her time in the Air Force during the second World War.”

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid ZLance FMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureen, Manoj and Mats and Tomas.

October 15, 2012

Westport Volunteers in the Community Schools Program

Did you know that British Columbia has one of the highest child poverty rates in Canada? Also, children in middle childhood, aged 6-12, spend about 67 hours a week in unstructured activities - that’s more time than they spend in school! As a result of the generous donations by Dr. Phillip Hill and Westport employees, we have the opportunity to become the United Way’s corporate partner with their Community Schools Program. These after-school programs are offered in most Vancouver schools for children aged 6-12 to provide a safe, fun, and educational environment. From 3:30pm to 5:00pm each school day, students are able to participate in a range of programs like academia, music, sports, crafts, and art, organized by the Vancouver School Board staff and trained volunteers.  

Starting today, three Westport employees get the chance to act as volunteer program leaders through the fall term at Lloyd George Elementary (just a few blocks away from Westport). These “Yarn Artists” (Teresa K., Kat W., Heidi C.) will help kids discover all the fun and creative things they can do with yarn - from making crochet holiday ornaments to cool accessories. The students will get to do a different project each week for the next seven weeks. What other fun things can you do with yarn?  

“I’m looking forward to teaching the lessons and think this is such a great experience for the students as well as the youth leaders (high school students) who get to learn about social responsibility by contributing to their own communities,” Teresa said. “When we teach high school students about social responsibility, we are creating a future community with caring people.”

At Westport, we recognize the responsibility we have to the neighbourhoods in which we live and work.

Check out this short video showing the kids' experience and the high school volunteers' perspectives:

October 11, 2012

Westport Attends HHP Summit in Houston

A couple of weeks ago, the High Horsepower (HHP) team from Westport attended the first-ever HHP Summit in Houston, which brought together delegates from key industries (rail, mining, marine, drilling, agriculture, construction, and on-site power generation) to discuss the use of natural gas for high horsepower applications. Over three days, 60 keynote speakers and 800 delegates from around the world shared their visions and ideas for the future of natural gas, including its economic and environmental benefits.

As part of his keynote speech at the conference, Joel Feucht, Caterpillar’s Director of Gas Engine Strategy, underlined the economic incentives of moving to natural gas and confirmed Caterpillar’s intentions to go “all-in on natural gas”. Feucht confirmed that Caterpillar is committed to a long-term investment to provide natural gas fueled equipment and engines across its product lines. This signals that the industry recognizes Westport as a key partner in developing natural gas transportation solutions - and that the time for natural gas is now.

This statement comes shortly after Westport and Caterpillar announced their agreement to develop natural gas technology for the HHP off-road market. (Read original announcement). As you can imagine, Feucht’s remarks created a stir about what’s in store for the future of natural gas for high horsepower applications. Listen to the full speech here. As a principal sponsor of the event, we had our Westport WiNG™ Ford F-250 on display at the summit and Westporters on-site. With all of this activity, there was a sense of excitement surrounding all-things-Westport and we were happy to be a part of the summit.

In another key announcement last week, Canadian National Railways (CN) stated that it is exploring ways to make the switch from diesel to natural gas in powering its trains. CN is presently running two of its diesel-fired locomotives on natural gas as part of an evaluation program. This test also involves a longer term demonstration project with Westport, Electro-Motive Diesel (a Caterpillar subsidiary), and Quebec gas distributor Gaz Metro, with funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop a natural gas locomotive engine and tank car to carry the fuel. Westport eagerly anticipates the first results from the test engine in Q2 of 2013. Check back for future updates on the progress of natural gas for high horsepower applications and updates from our participation at the LNG 17 Conference in April.

October 1, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Mats & Tomas

In The Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account for the next two weeks are Mats and Tomas, both based at the Westport facility providing natural gas systems for Volvo cars in Göteborg (or Gothenburg), Sweden.

Neither Mats nor Tomas have used Twitter before, but they have used Facebook a little. Mats’ favourite website is (Swedish and international news and finance) and Tomas is an avid Google user.

Mats is the Commercial Director at Westport LD subsidiary in Sweden and Tomas is the Sales and Marketing Manager for the company, where natural gas systems are installed on Volvo cars. Tomas is often travelling within Sweden as a result. Tomas and Mats both enjoy exploring new possibilities in the natural gas automotive area. Being part of the natural gas alternative for Volvo, with their location right next to the Volvo headquarters, is interesting work.

When not working to grow the business making natural gas Volvo cars, Tomas may be found with his family, including two young children, skiing, fishing, at the cottage on the east coast of Sweden or in Greece. Mats, who has four grown children and a cat, enjoys time on his sail boat, skiing, hiking or walking in the forest and travelling Europe.

They both claim their favourite food is “raggmunk,” which perhaps does not sound appealing to English speakers at first, but in fact raggmunk are delicious potato pancakes! Gothenburg is a coastal city, so fish is often on the menu, but both men enjoy Italian food and Tomas is a fan of Greek cuisine as well.

When asked who each would choose to have dinner with, if it could be anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, both Mats and Tomas choose their wives. But they have other ideas as well. They list Bo Inge Andersson (a Swedish guy, CEO of the biggest Russian automotive company), whom they believe has an interesting job balancing interests in and outside his company. Mats and Tomas also chose Hillary Clinton, as one of the most influential women in the world, and Winston Churchill, for his determination – though they wish for the table to be wide as “we should not sit too close to him,” formidable figure that he was.

Finally, perhaps to tease their Canadian colleagues at Westport, they say they would like to have dinner with Leif Eriksson, the first European to discover an area that is now part of Canada, nearly 1000 years ago (the site is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list).

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid ZLance FMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuanMaureen, and Manoj.

September 28, 2012

CGI Meeting: Cooperation and Partnership Key to Sustainable Change

From September 23 to 25, Nick Sonntag, Westport Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and New Partnerships, attended the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to announce the Westport Commitment to Action.

Nick gives us his thoughts about this significant meeting of minds, and some of the highlights:

It was an amazing meeting and I felt truly privileged to be there. The exceptionally positive energy of the meeting, the high quality of the people attending and the vast range and scope of the commitments made by hundreds of organizations were all, in a word, 'astounding.’ President Clinton is an exceptional human being and is clearly using his remarkable network, charisma, intelligence and clarity of message to great advantage to mobilize change towards a sustainable future in all economic sectors, within all social groups and across all developed and developing economies.

It was an overwhelming three days with not a moment to spare for those who wanted to extract value from the presentations and available participants. CGI has a very clear focus on resolving poverty, assisting the underprivileged and promoting sustainable development. Between the annual meetings, there are a range of CGI forums covering topics from energy, technology, education, and communication, to share information and meet via conference call, and sometimes face to face.

This year’s theme was 'Design for Impact' and the workshops and panels concentrated on how to take specific projects up to scale to have a much larger impact as quickly as possible. You couldn’t help being impressed by what has been done within these commitments and the literally hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people who have received some benefit from the projects since CGI began six years ago.

One of the most impressive was how Coca Cola worked with the government of Tanzania to effectively build an efficient supply chain (from scratch) to distribute critical medicines across the country. Did you know that Coca Cola has over 20 million 'official' points of sale globally that are visited at least once a week by a Coca Cola delivery service?

Another highlighted commitment was Proctor & Gamble, who are distributing their water purifying 'packets' globally at such a rate that they are committed to saving one life per hour due to drinking contaminated water for as long as P&G is in business. I couldn't help but relate and support these objectives, and be totally impressed with the range of commitments – money, people and facilities - being made by corporations, NGOs and governments.

I have been in the sustainability 'realm' for some time and what I saw here was a realization that sustainable change was not the result of a philanthropic contribution – although it can often be the trigger – but rather what is needed is a clear systems approach that leverages technologies, processes, policies, partners, money, etc. towards a sustainable outcome. The overriding mantra at the meeting was that through cooperation and partnership across all scales, sectors and groups, almost anything can be accomplished.

A very memorable meeting.

September 25, 2012

Telecom “Tower Power” in India Gets Natural Gas Boost from Westport

In July, we wrote about Westport’s participation in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). On September 24, to coincide with the CGI annual meeting in New York, Westport announced its Commitment to Action to CGI. Westport will apply its expertise and technology, in partnership with others, to develop on-site power for individual mobile phone towers in India.

The three-year project, labelled Tower Power: Helping Rural Communities Establish Clean Energy Solutions, will ultimately switch five towers to natural gas or other gaseous fuel. It is the vision of Development Alternatives, one of the project partners in India, to reduce emissions from mobile phone towers, which currently consume about 2 billion litres of diesel fuel per year and emit more than 6.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Telecom towers are the largest consumers of diesel in India – more than railways.

Eighty-two percent of India’s existing 390,000 mobile phone towers are connected to the electrical grid; however, only 169,000 of those have reliable connections, causing telecom dependence on diesel-powered generators. With the telecom market in India growing to an estimated 500,000 towers and by 10 million customers per month (about 333,000 new customers each day!) by 2015, reliable power is essential.

Add to this is the fact that many villages near telecom towers are not on the grid at all. By generating power on site, the project team hopes that any residual electricity can be directed to areas that currently lack power.

There’s a clear opportunity for a cleaner solution - such as natural gas or biomass - to service the mobile phone towers and bring power to nearby people, while reducing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The solution will involve developing a natural gas or biomass engine and fuel storage using available fuels, potentially pipeline gas to biofuels, depending on location and sources. An initial tower will be selected and four more will follow by 2015.

Westport is facilitator and a technology provider to this project, and will use its experience in engine technology and cryogenic storage to help design a solution for the telecom towers. Westport will recruit other partners and financial supporters to make this commitment a reality.

This specific use of natural gas power is new to Westport, but natural gas and other gaseous fuel engine technology is the core intellectual property of Westport. We have applied our knowledge for markets from oil-field power generation to pickup trucks to Class 8 trucks and beyond.

If successful, there’s potential to apply this option to other countries or regions where electrical grids are slow in development, unreliable or non-existent. There is the possibility for parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and perhaps China to apply this type of solution.

As part of the CGI efforts to tackle some of the world’s most pressing development issues, Westport was invited to make a commitment to improve life somewhere in the world. Applying core strengths to this challenging issue and partnering to create natural gas or biofuel engine-powered towers will provide a win to the local people, mobile phone users and environments of the tower locations in India. Westport and its employees win as well – through the satisfaction that so many improvements can be made from switching the tower power to natural gas or biofuel.

September 17, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Manoj

Our next contributor is Manoj S, based in Vancouver, Canada.

Manoj is responsible for creating and expanding Westport business in South Asia, particularly in India. His market creation and market development activities cover new technologies or new initiatives across all Westport business units, targeting potential opportunities in markets from automotive through to high-horsepower.

Fuelled with coffee and his favourite read, ­Harvard Business Review, Manoj often finds himself on a plane to, or staying in India (and we mean often – about 40 percent of his time)! He finds enjoyment and satisfaction, and great scope for creativity, in applying his knowledge and experience (much of it gained in India) to grow the Westport brand and business. Presenting solutions that make business sense, he says, but also make the world better with the advantages of cleaner fuel, is rewarding work.

Originally from India, his career there includes over a decade of experience at a huge multinational company where he was exposed to a lot of cross-functional activities and the pursuit of excellence in business. This, he says, “has trained me to seek what will make an impact on the business to take it to the next level,” and is highly relevant to his role at Westport.
When he’s not building relationships and seeking partnerships for Westport, Manoj is at home with his family, visiting Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park or occasionally playing tennis.

Manoj claims good fortune is having a spouse who is an amazing cook of Indian cuisine, which is his favourite. He says she has great skill at creating Indian food without the typical characteristics of too much oil or spicy heat. Mexican cuisine is Manoj’s other favourite.

Other than his family, his choice of dinner companion, could it be anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, is President Barack Obama. This is simply because Manoj would like to meet him in person, ask him questions and hear his insights on life, leadership and business.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid ZLance FMonica FFabioNicoleRonghuan, and Maureen.

September 10, 2012

Introducing Westport WatCH4 News!

As the leader in natural gas engines, Westport strives to be a key source of information on the topic. We already share news about alternative fuels, clean transportation technology, and sustainability through the Fuel for Thought blog, Twitter (@WestportDotCom), and also post articles that directly relate to our company and our industries. We want to make it easier for our followers to find all of this information in one place, so we’ve created the new weekly Westport WatCH4 News. Now you can receive all the latest industry and Westport information directly in your mailbox.
CH4 is the chemical formula for methane, the main component of natural gas. Westport WatCH4 News keeps an eye out for interesting and relevant news stories related to alternative fuels, clean transportation technology, and sustainability, and compiles them into a quick summary email, sent every Tuesday. If you’d like to subscribe, please click the Westport WatCH4 logo above or visit

September 3, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Maureen

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick S, Caroline S, John L & John H, Astrid Z, Lance F, Monica F, Fabio, Nicole, and Ronghuan. Our next contributor is Maureen G, based in Vancouver.

Maureen is responsible for executive assistance to the CEO, CFO, EVP, VPs and the Board of Directors, as well as leading the office services team at Westport. In this role, Maureen finds herself in many places supporting the executives and the Board. She enjoys travelling and planning meetings around the world.

When not keeping our senior management informed and organized, Maureen enjoys travelling for pleasure too. Some of her favourite spots include Rome, Venice, London “and of course New York,” she says.

Maureen is fairly new to Twitter, using it mainly for following others so far, but she is on Facebook often (very often, she confesses).

Maureen’s indulgence is British Columbia wine, both red and white; one of her favourite wineries is Quinta Ferreira in Oliver, BC. She enjoys these with Italian or Greek cuisine – her favourites! If she could share just such a delicious meal with anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, she would choose her parents, whom she lost long ago and misses terribly.

Mother of a 21-year-old daughter, she boasts that they “survived the teen years and are good friends now!” They even travelled to Europe together in April 2011 and ended the trip in London just in time for the Royal wedding.

August 20, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Ronghuan

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance FMonica F, Fabio, and NicoleOur next contributor is Ronghuan W. (RH), based in Beijing. Read on to learn a little more about him.

In RH’s role as the vice general manager for Weichai Westport Inc., Westport’s joint venture with Weichai, he travels on business very often. RH enjoys the working in the advanced technology industry with a bright future ahead of it, where he interacts with both employees and external stakeholders. He also appreciates the different corporate cultures he navigates between North America and China. Twitter, for example, is not available in China, so RH is a social media newbie and he will be tweeting through the team at head office.

When not working, he says Vancouver makes a great travel destination. “I enjoy the clean air, friendly people and great natural landscape very much.” (Thanks, on behalf of all Vancouverites RH!) In China, RH dreams of living in Yunan. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and the peace that he has been away from for a long time.

He says he cannot live without tea and coffee, adding “sometimes I like to mix them,” (Wow!) but when it comes to food, his favourite cuisine is Cantonese. And the reason? “I am Cantonese.” RH sure knows what he likes when it comes to fuel!

If he could dine, on Cantonese food of course, with anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, RH has two responses. One is Mr. Hu, President of China, to whom RH wishes to provide suggestions, and the other is Warren Buffett, whose wisdom RH admires and would like to acquire. 

Website favourites like Baidu search engine and Sina provide RH with his news and information for both work and life. Father of one son, RH’s indulgence is simply “computer games!” 

August 16, 2012

Work Ahead for All-CNG Reality in Gujarat

In the last week of July, the High Court in Gujarat, India ordered the state government to ensure that all public and private vehicles registered in the state switch to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) within a year.

This is surely a tall order anywhere and Gujarat is no exception. The highly industrialized region in western India has some CNG infrastructure already, but CNG costs more in Gujarat than in Delhi or Mumbai, though Gujarat’s largest city Ahmedabad has equal pollution issues – making an environmental case for CNG in the region. This price obstacle was the impetus for a petition before the High Court to bring the price of CNG under regulation, but the High Court hearing the petition has taken the issue a serious step further.

We have seen similar decrees for fuel-specific use in a jurisdiction, such as the 1998 Supreme Court Directive in Delhi to replace or convert all buses, three-wheelers and taxis to CNG, but the Gujarati are questioning the court’s authority to order state legislation, particularly for all vehicles. A senior government representative was quoted in the Hindustan Times saying the state will fight it. “The high court order is not practically possible to implement as it has wider implications. We will challenge it in the Supreme Court.”

Are the logistics of a rapid switch on such a grand scale even reasonable for Gujarat? TheTimes of India reports that the existing infrastructure is unable to support the 32 lakr (3.2 million) vehicles in the state, given only about 4 lakr (400,000) are CNG at present, and the cost of converting the entire public and private fleet within one year would be, frankly, astronomical.

Citizens and auto dealers are alarmed, according to many news outlets. Some districts of the state of Gujarat currently do not have much CNG infrastructure at all. And aside from fuel station scarcity, TheHindu presents the facts on commodity obstacles as well. The region has to import natural gas to meet its current demand so a rapid switch will certainly have repercussions.

In any case, whether the all-CNG directive will go ahead or be successfully challenged remains unclear, but if the goal was to get the people of Gujarat talking about natural gas transportation, then success is achieved. The world waits with interest to see how this plays out.

August 7, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Nicole A.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance FMonica F, and Fabio VOur next contributor is Nicole, based in Vancouver. Read on to learn a little more about her.

As director of communications for Westport, Nicole finds herself all sorts of places talking to various Westport  stakeholders – even driving the Westport WiNG-equipped bi-fuel Ford F-250 pickup on a road trip from Detroit to NYC using CNG only.

Nicole enjoys the openness to all types of innovation at Westport, and that trying new things, introducing new ideas and taking risks are encouraged.

When she is not speaking with the media at events such as the Kentucky facility opening or planning communications strategies, Nicole enjoys trying new restaurants (pizza is a favourite!), spending time with her family, and eating popcorn covered in truffle butter and parmesan cheese while watching The Amazing Race.

She claims she really likes to eat. So much so that her favourite website is Scout Magazine – they list all the new restaurants in Vancouver. If Nicole could dine with anyone, alive or dead, real of fictional, it would be her grandfather. “We were very close, but he died when I was young and there’s so much I’d like to ask him and talk with him about.”

An avid traveller, Nicole has been many places. One of her favourites is Italy. Her goal is to visit 50 countries by the time she’s 50. “I’ve got about 12 to go. Top of my list right now are Croatia and Cambodia.” Worlds apart, those two are, but Nicole will surely make both trips reality before long.

July 26, 2012

Westport Joins the Clinton Global Initiative

A few months ago Westport was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The CGI is a branch of the William J. Clinton Foundation established by former US president Bill Clinton to tackle some of the world’s most pressing development issues. Membership is by invitation only, so when Westport was asked to join it was an opportunity not to be passed up. Membership covers a large gamut from large multinational companies, to government, to non-profit organizations, and celebrities.

Each member is charged with either creating their own unique Commitment to Action (a goal they wish to achieve) or by partnering with other members. To date there are over 2,100 commitments that have helped close to 400 million people worldwide. Here is just a short list of the commitments:
  • Using Video Games to Increase Learning Computer Science by Glitch Game Testers
  • Sustainable Housing and Community Building – Kansas, MO by Make it Right Foundation
  • Green Rewards by Redefining Progress Deploying $1 Billion in Clean Technologies by Ceres and partners
  • General Mills/PEPFAR/USAID Partnership for Food Security by General Mills and Partners
  • Clean Stoves: Changing the Energy Paradigm in Kenya by The Paradigm Shift Project
Each commitment can address the following tracks:
  • The Built Environment
  • Education and Workforce Development
  • Energy & Ecosystems
  • Girls & Women
  • Global Health
  • Market-based Approaches
  • Response & Resilience
  • Technology
Descriptions of each track can be found here: Although these are broad subjects, there are smaller, more targeted sub-tracks such as Green Mobility, which is where Westport wants to focus its attention.

Currently a small team of Westporters, including Nick Sonntag, Husayn Anwar, Karen Hamberg, Teresa Ko and Ganesh Khanna, are working on developing our Commitment to Action and how we can contribute to sustainable mobility solutions. For more information on the CGI check out their website: If you are interested in the work we are doing and would like more information please feel free to contact us at

July 23, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Fabio V.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance F and Monica F. Our next contributor is Fabio - read on to learn a little more about him.

As the sales and marketing director for Westport LD Italy-based companies, Fabio is responsible for developing, with his team, sales and OEM business relationships in accordance with group strategies and revenues targets. With these responsibilities, Fabio is kept very busy travelling the globe about forty percent of the time.

Based in Pernumia and Brescia, Italy, Fabio says he appreciates the opportunities to meet people from many regions and different cultures, thus learning about those cultures and the ways of doing business.

Fabio enjoys the international breadth of his role, where he can contribute to solving the challenges of the exciting compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) market, which he believes will grow to be a major future fuel worldwide.

The trusting relationship with his experienced superior and the daily activities with his skilled sales team makes his experience at Westport really interesting: there is a “lesson to learn” every day.

Fabio and family

When he is not configuring solutions and keeping updated on market developments, Fabio is with his family – including 3 boys and 2 dogs – at home, travelling, skiing and snorkelling.

When asked who he would have dinner with, anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, he says certainly his wife. “I am often travelling for work and we have a lot of things to share and tell each other.” Between work and their “big, challenging, but wonderful family,” one can see why!

If there is ever a free hour for Fabio, he can be found woodworking or online reading woodworker forums for ideas and techniques.

Fabio’s indulgences include a meal at a good restaurant or a visit to a great winery. Not surprisingly, his fuel is coffee and Italian cuisine is his favourite, but he loves sushi, spicy Mexican food, and wine. Frankly, he says, he finds food for his tastes wherever he goes!

July 17, 2012

More DOE Support for NGVs in Our Future

On July 12, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced 13 new projects to advance natural gas vehicle (NGV) technologies, all in light-duty applications, through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).

Aimed specifically at new developments for natural gas tanks and potential home-fueling, the natural gas industry can only be pleased that Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman has said:
“These projects could transform America’s energy infrastructure and economy by utilizing domestic energy sources to power our vehicles…”
While the rationale behind funding many of the early-stage projects is their risk level for private investment, the DOE sees real potential for NGVs in America’s future and is prepared to invest in them.

Clearly demand for NGVs is increasing. And now, not only the DOE, but others are encouraged to tackle the passenger vehicle market.

The projects follow others that ARPA-E, launched by President Barack Obama in 2009, has proven successful by supporting. Many of its projects secured private capital after initial funding from ARPA-E.

Westport Innovations has benefit from DOE support over the years, and the success of its technology in all markets is proof positive that research support can ultimately translate into commercial application. Initially focused on the heavy-duty markets, Westport has expanded in a big way into light-duty, targeting fleets initially, but also the average consumer.

In passenger vehicles alone, Westport LD has acquired global NGV system and component operations in Australia, Italy and Sweden, launched its new Westport WiNG Power System this spring for Ford F-250 and F-350 pickup trucks, and secured a relationship with General Motors to develop two different combustion, controls and emissions approaches to natural gas engines.

The DOE also sponsored early research that helped in the development of many new natural gas resources in the U.S. The NGV technology projects support its efforts to act on President Obama’s call for “the safe, responsible development of the near 100-year supply of U.S. natural gas resources, which has the potential to support more than 600,000 American jobs,” according to the DOE.

Not likely that any NGV enthusiast will argue these are all great steps forward to a more energy independent future. Natural gas for transportation is here today – and here to stay for a good, long while.

July 9, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Monica F

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick S, Caroline S, John L & John H, Astrid Z and Lance F. Our next contributor is Monica F, read on to learn a little more about her.

Monica F

Monica’s fuel is coffee…

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Monica has the responsibility for purchasing and supplier development at Westport. As team director, she and the group find suppliers and ensure they can deliver parts that meet Westport requirements and quality standards. Monica travels quite often, meeting or seeking new suppliers. Though Westport needs automotive suppliers, the technology is new in the sector, especially for cryogenic-related components. So Monica finds herself seeking suppliers in surprising places, like aerospace shows, where suppliers are familiar with the pressure levels some Westport products require.

The best suppliers are the ones who believe in Westport technology. Monica builds relationships with companies that see future potential and share similar visions with Westport. That can be challenging, and it’s a challenge Monica enjoys. She clearly excels working with people and thrives on the fact that one day and the next are never the same.

When Monica isn’t at work, she can be found at her home just south of Vancouver where she likes to enjoy the calming atmosphere of nearby Garry Point, a park looking out to sea. Otherwise, Monica may be found in her kitchen, where her native Mexico provides inspiration because, “nothing in Vancouver is really Mexican food” and therefore cannot compare. Her favourite dish is chiles rellenos, chilies stuffed with cheese. When online, Monica loves YouTube for searching out cooking and hair-styling demos.

Monica is a fan of lists. She and her family, which includes two daughters and now a French bulldog called Lolo, make a list each December of everything they wish to do the next year – everything from big purchases to vacation ideas. Since moving to Canada in 2008, they’ve been exploring the area near Vancouver, and they have plans to see more. They also vacationed in China, where Monica says they were struck by how different life was.

Counted among her indulgences are girl-time with her daughters for manicures or pedicures and a thrice-weekly coffee with her husband while the girls are at swim club ­­– family time Monica wouldn’t give up.