May 28, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign - John H & John L

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our twitter account (@WestportDotCom). Learn more about our third contributors, John H and John L, who start in the Driver's Seat today. They are both based at the Westport LD technical centre in Detroit, MI, USA.

John H

In The Driver's Seat this week: John H of Westport LD
Fuel: Coffee! Starbucks or the office espresso machine

John’s role leading marketing and business development for Westport LD involves collaboration with several Westport offices and navigating relationships for the company. Though fairly new to social media, John is pumped to be in the Driver’s Seat of the Westport Twitter account to get you excited about his current focus: the bi-fuel Westport WiNG power system featured in Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks launching this spring. He's just completed a road trip in the truck from Detroit to NYC using only natural gas.

John travels for work, and has always traveled. With over 30 years in the automotive industry, marketing globally, John clearly enjoys working in the sector. He is especially interested now in the transformation of the industry from purely petroleum-based to alternative fueled cars – not science projects, but vehicles available that actually work, right now!

“We have got the potential to change the world,” says John, who is currently based near Detroit, but has lived in Germany, Switzerland and Brazil. When not working to reach that potential, one vehicle at a time, John enjoys traveling for pleasure too. He has been to over sixty countries!

When at home, John keeps busy cooking, celebrating, golfing, hunting and working in his workshop.  Group dinners are frequently on his calendar with his wife and two grown sons, a huge extended family (he’s the eldest of seven) or friends. When asked if he could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, John says the current U.S. President would always be on the list. “I am very opinionated and could give him lots of advice,” laughs John, “though I wouldn’t want the job myself!”

John L

In The Driver's Seat this week - John L of Westport LD

Fuel: It seems John runs on air or water – no tea, no coffee...

John is Vice President of Westport LD, and Managing Director for  North American Vehicle Programs. Like John H, he is obviously much focused on the launch this spring of the Ford F-250 and F-350 bi-fuel trucks featuring the Westport WiNG power system. John is definitely a car guy. He reads many automotive blogs and news, and his favorite website is AutoTrader!

An engineer, John has worked with alternative fuels since 1980. He says, “In many ways it has defined my life’s work, and natural gas is my favorite by far. I have my dream job with people who share the passion.” John is social too; he enjoys working with people in the myriad of professional relationships.

When he is not at work or traveling for work, John says he would be in New York City, on the Jersey shore, or on a beach somewhere, but certainly with his family. When asked his guilty pleasure, he says shopping, but that is family time too – the father of 4 daughters he has had a lot of practice. He especially enjoys the time he spends with the 2 youngest who are still at home with him.

Another family member he wishes he could spend time with is his great grandfather. Having a nice filet mignon steak dinner with him would surely make John’s day. “I can read about other people,” he replies when asked who he would have dinner with, anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, “but I have no other way of connecting to my past and I have so many questions to ask him.”

May 25, 2012

Where in the World is Westport WiNG – Roadtrip Highlights

From May 21-24 three Westporters embarked on an epic road trip from Detroit to New York in the bi-fuel Ford F250 using only the CNG tank.

The WiNG Road Trip Crew’s t-shirts show all the stops on the trip

The Crew, consisting of John, Nicole and Alissa, made various stops along the way to show off the truck and allow people to take it for a test drive. They travelled through thunderstorms and crossed rainbows. Here’s some highlights:
From left to right, John H., Nicole, Alissa and Arnie C.

Bright and early at 7 am the four adventurers receive a warm farewell in Plymouth. Theirfirst stop? Starbucks.. er, Cleveland. John, who arrived on a red eye flight from the west coast only an hour earlier, demonstrated how comfortable the cab is by taking a long nap on the first leg of the drive.

Alissa was the first behind the wheel, here’s what she had to say about driving the bi-fuel Ford F250 for the first time:

When her turn driving was up, she was sad!

The crew arrived in Cleveland and headed straight to Valley Ford Truck Sales where they hosted a BBQ and encouraged people to stop by and take the truck for a test spin. They had lots of interest and loved showing off the truck.

 John Howell talks about the WiNG™ bi-fuel system

Huge turnout of folks at Valley Ford in Cleveland enjoying their BBQ

The crew headed off to their next stop in Canton Ohio, and had the chance to do their first CNG fuel-up. John’s excited about the $40 fill-up:

The group loved how inexpensive it was to fill the truck with CNG, with the CNG tank alone taking them another 300 miles before needing to re-fuel again.

While refueling they noticed that at the end of the rainbow, instead of a pot of gold, there was a WiNG™-powered Ford F250

The crew headed off to Pittsburgh, where they hosted another BBQ at Allegheny Ford and showed off the truck to visitors.

They spoke with Rick Price of Pittsburgh Clean Cities about the benefits of natural gas vehicles:

They left Pittsburgh and headed to Pottstown, where they weathered a massive thunderstorm that left a lot of other vehicles pulled over on the side of the highway:

On their way to Pottstown their GPS lead them astray, taking them through the Valley Forge historic site.

At Pottstown they stopped at John Kennedy Ford, their final stop before heading to the big apple. Another delicious BBQ, and more people interested in the bi-fuel truck!

It’s here that the Road Trip met the first WiNG™-powered Ford F250 owner, Ken Gibson

The crew arrived safe and sound in New York, and began setting up in Times Square for their final show-off of the truck, albeit in the pouring rain.

Nicole is happy to have obtained permission from the NYPD to park the F250 in Times Square.

The rain subsided and the crew had one final task to mark the end of their journey: ring the closing bell at NASDAQ. They changed out of their Road Trip Crew shirts and headed over to join the rest of the Westport team that was in NYC for the 2012 Analyst’s Day. The whole team was part of the bell-ringing ceremony, marking the end of business for the day, and the end of the Where in the World is Westport Wing? RoadTrip. The team thanks to everyone who came out to see them along the way.

Westport CEO David Demers

May 23, 2012

Inside Westport: Taking a look at IMPACT

Westport isn’t just a global leader in clean transportation solutions, we are so much more, and we have our employees to thank for that. People are typically drawn to working here because they are passionate about the environment and social change, and that passion isn’t just part of the work they do, it’s also important to them personally.

When a group of Westporters noticed that many staff were volunteering within the community on their own time, they decided to form a group to combine and organize their volunteer efforts; and so in 2007 IMPACT was born. IMPACT is the employee-driven Westport community engagement initiative, founded on three pillars: COMMUNITY, ENVIRONMENT and EDUCATION. The team has an ambitious mandate to have its activities leave a positive and measurable impact on the community.

Westport encourages its employees to contribute back to the communities in which we have a presence, through employee volunteering, sponsorship, cooperative programs and environmental awareness. The IMPACT program is a way for Westporters to do this. The program is grassroots and is led by a committee of engaged employees. They try to organize at least one event per month, along with a whole week-long program of events in the summer, called “IMPACT week.” Two very popular events are the “lunch-and-learn” program and group trips to help at the food bank. When a Westporter has an idea for a community project, they bring it to the committee’s monthly meeting, and the team helps to organize a group event. Anyone can join the IMPACT committee, which is currently championed by Westport product engineer, Greg Harper.

It’s through IMPACT that initiatives such as blood drives, invasive species removal outings, the Great Canadian Shore Cleanup, sorting food at the food bank, teaching children about science at the Telus World of Science and even group micro-lending projects through get planned and implemented.

May 17, 2012

Where in the World is Westport WiNG? Driver Profiles

Three Westport employees take to the road on May 21st driving the bi-fuel Ford F250 equipped with a Westport WiNG power system from Detroit to NYC using only its compressed natural gas (CNG) tank.
Here's a little more about our road trip crew:


John's role leading marketing and business development for Westport LD has his main focus right now on the Westport WiNG power system featured in Ford F250 and F350 bi-fuel trucks launching this spring. He's leaving his car parked at home for a week to drive one of the Ford F250 bi-fuel trucks equipped with the Westport WiNG power system from Detroit to NYC using only the CNG tank.
With over 30 years in the automotive industry, marketing globally, John clearly enjoys working in the sector. He is especially interested now in the transformation of the industry from purely petroleum-based to alternative fueled cars.
When at home, John keeps busy cooking, celebrating, golfing, hunting and working in his workshop. Group dinners are frequently on his calendar with his family, his huge extended family or friends.


Nicole’s leaving her walking shoes (her usual mode of transport) and hitting the road driving the bi-fuel Ford F250 equipped with the Westport WiNG power system from Detroit to NYC using only compressed natural gas (CNG). As a communications professional for Westport, Nicole finds herself in all sorts of places talking to various stakeholders, but this week’s road trip will be her first at Westport.
Nicole enjoys trying new restaurants (pizza is a favourite!), spending time with her family and watching The Amazing Race while eating popcorn. No TV required this week; she’s on a Westport WiNG amazing race of her own!


Alissa wears many hats in her role as executive assistant, coordinating and attending marketing and sales events at Westport LD. Parking her SUV at home, Alissa is excited to drive Detroit to NYC behind the wheel of the bi-fuel Ford F250 pickup equipped with the Westport WiNG power system – using only the compressed natural gas (CNG) tank.
Spending much of her time outside of work with her husband and her pets, Alissa also keeps in touch with her mom now living on the other side of the country. Otherwise Alissa can be found, as she puts it, “…escaping reality with a good book, movie or television show.” And dark chocolate is probably involved too.

May 16, 2012

Natural Gas Vehicle Program Shifts Local Businesses to a Cleaner Transportation Fuel

On May 15, the government of British Columbia announced the Greenhouse Gas Regulation to promote the adoption of natural gas vehicles in the province. As a global leader in natural gas vehicle (NGV) engine technologies headquartered in BC, we realize this is not only an endorsement from our own government of the potential for NGVs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also in the shift towards cleaner burning fuels.

While BC is already home to several organizations with natural gas fleets - such as Vedder Transport and Waste Management, - this program may be the catalyst for more fleet conversions in the province. The program not only offers incentives to transportation fleets wishing to adopt natural gas, but it may also increase infrastructure whose current lack is a barrier to the greater adoption of NGVs.

This new incentive program, administered by FortisBC - gives businesses in the province a chance to capitalize on a domestic ‘home-grown’ fuel that the global marketplace is increasingly demanding. We look forward to seeing the roll-out of this Greenhouse Gas Reduction incentive program and to BC businesses enjoying the advantages of adopting natural gas as a transportation fuel.

May 15, 2012

Where in the World is Westport WiNG?

The buzz you’ve seen on twitter is true: we’re taking it to the open roads! From May 21-24 our team will be driving a Ford F-250 Super Duty bi-fuel pick-up featuring the Westport WiNG™ Power System from Detroit to New York, running entirely on compressed natural gas (CNG).

Why, you ask? Our team needs to be in New York City for the Westport Innovations annual Investors’ Day on May 24; but instead of flying there, we see this as the perfect opportunity to showcase the WiNG-powered Ford F250, and meet our friends and fans along the way. We’ve planned stops along the route where you can come visit us, learn more about the bi-fuel truck, and even give it a test drive! Since Westport will start delivery of the trucks later this year, this will be the first opportunity for many people to see and drive the truck. This isn’t just about showing off the truck, though, it’s also about promoting the use of CNG as a vehicle fuel. By driving the entire route on CNG we hope to demonstrate how easy (with a bit of planning) and affordable it is to use as an alternative to gasoline.

Throughout the 700 mile journey our road trip crew will be documenting their experience driving the super duty bi-fuel pick-up. The three Westporters who will be taking turns behind the wheel are Nicole Adams, Alissa Marczewski, neither of whom has ever driven the truck before, and John Howell. They’ll be recording the entire experience on video, giving our blog readers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers the chance to see first-hand what it’s like to drive a bi-fuel truck for the first time (so we expect to see some shaky video at the start!). Their video diaries will not only record their impressions and experiences along the way, they will also demonstrate the capabilities of the truck and how easy it is to fuel up with CNG. In addition to video, the team will be sharing photos and Tweeting throughout the trip.

Want to come say hello? Here’s where we’ll be stopping:

• Valley Ford Truck Sales, Cleveland OH – May 21 from noon to 3 p.m.
• SARTA-Clean Energy, Canton OH – May 21 from 4 to 5 p.m.
• Allegheny Ford Truck Sales, Pittsburgh PA – May 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• John Kennedy Ford, Pottstown PA – May 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Times Square, New York City, NY – May 24 from 1 to 5 p.m.

If you’re planning on visiting Nicole, Alissa and John at any of these stops, please RSVP to so they know who to expect (and so we can order enough barbecue, too!).

Stay tuned as we share more about our road trip crew and updates from the road starting at 8 a.m. on May 21st!

May 14, 2012

The Driver’s Seat Twitter Campaign - Caroline Santoso

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our twitter account (@WestportDotCom). Learn more about our second contributor, Caroline Santoso, who starts her turn in the Driver's Seat today.

Caroline Santoso

Based in: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Fuel: anything crunchy… and it’s sure to have hot sauce!
Coolant: coffee

As the Manager of Investor Relations at Westport, Caroline has contact with stakeholders on a daily basis; however, this is her first experience personally writing for the Westport Twitter account. Caroline is based at the Westport head office in Vancouver where she is responsible for investor and analyst communications.
What does she enjoy most about her job? People.

Giving clear and correct information to investors and having exposure to the people and events in different business units are tops on her list. “Then I know what’s going on in the whole company,” explains Caroline. “I like seeing the whole picture.”

Originally from Jakarta, when Caroline is not describing Westport technology and strategy to investors, she enjoys travelling to Indonesia to visit family and old friends. When at home in Vancouver, Caroline can be found trying new restaurants in town, visiting friends or watching movies.

Her guilty pleasure is shopping for shoes and handbags (come now, what woman doesn’t at least browse?). When asked the question about whom she would have dinner with, if it could be anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, Caroline had to think on it. She decided on Barack Obama. She says, “Besides being the first African American U.S. President, he spent some of his childhood in Indonesia!” Order your own dish Obama; she puts hot chili sauce on everything!

Now famous at the office for her charity talent show entry involving an impressive cheerleading stunt routine, Caroline enjoys helping at many other community events and fundraisers with her family and friends.

May 9, 2012

The World’s Fastest Car Runs on Natural Gas

The world’s fastest street-legal car, the Maxximus LNG 2000, set world records in January this year for operating both on LNG (liquefied natural gas) and LPG (propane). It may come as a surprise, since the common misconception is that natural gas vehicles have less power than their gasoline counterparts.The Maxximus, however, can go from 0-60 mph in 1.96 seconds when running on LNG, while the average gasoline-powered car reaches that speed in around nine seconds.

Centaur Performance Group, the team behind the Maxximus, spent more than 21,000 man hours and used proprietary technology to create a car that can run on both LNG and LPG with the flick of a switch.

Some of the car’s features include:
• The car runs on LNG, CNG and LPG  
• All carbon fiber body
• 430 CI twin turbos
• All aluminum V8, 1600 + HP
• Cryogenic chilled center-coolers
• Self pressuring fuel tanks
• Gaseous fuel injectors
• Boost reference gaseous regulators
• All state legal emissions

Centaur’s owner, Bruce McMahan said, “When it comes to automobile performance, natural gas is at the forefront of people’s thinking. By using both LNG and LPG instead of gasoline, Centaur is taking up the charge in doing all it can to reduce America’s dependence on foreign fuel sources.”

The Maxximus’ designer, Marlon Kirby, added, “Natural gas is a lot more attractive given the situation in the market, and there isn’t a car on the market that currently utilizes both LNG and propane. It’s the ultimate win-win for everybody.”

It’s encouraging to see that natural gas vehicles are breaking records set by gasoline-powered cars. This record-breaking super car is a great example of the potential performance using the cleaner-burning fuel. More OEMs continue to announce natural gas options for their most popular models, a sign that the consumer demand for alternative fuels is reaching a tipping point.

Watch a video of the Maxximus in action:

May 7, 2012

The Driver’s Seat Twitter Campaign - Nick Sonntag

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our twitter account (@WestportDotCom). Here's a little more information about our first contributor, Nick Sonntag.

Nick Sonntag

Based in: Lyon, France
Fuel: Thai food
Coolant: thé, s’il vous plait

Travelling the globe for Westport, Nick brings a leadership perspective as the first employee contributor in The Driver’s Seat of Westport’s Twitter account. Nick is based in Lyon, France; he is President of Westport Europe and Asia and is responsible for the growth and development of Westport's emerging OEM global partnerships. Read his full official bio at Nick enjoys the challenge to change the world’s use of energy that his work at Westport brings. Working with people is a pleasure for him, and anyone who knows Nick will tell you it’s definitely one of his strengths.

“I have been working internationally more or less for the last twenty years,” says Nick, a Canadian. “I really enjoy working with teams and have always wanted to feel whatever I do is making a difference. Thus, I have had a career-long dedication to work that in one way or another embraces sustainability and societal change.”
Bringing an inclusive, diplomatic and friendly attitude with him wherever he goes, when Nick is not negotiating partnerships with global automotive manufacturers for Westport, he would rather be: golfing or walking in Southern France, Gibsons, British Columbia or Greece.

Clearly short on time due to business and travel, Nick says watching movies is a guilty pleasure! When asked who he would choose to have dinner with, alive or dead, real or fictional, Nick claims Einstein has been a hero of his ever since high school, inspiring – at least in part – Nick’s undergrad degree in engineering physics. Evidently, they would be eating Thai food, Nick’s favourite cuisine…

Westport Employees are in the Driver’s Seat

Westport Innovations is on the leading edge of natural gas technology with a diverse global presence. And we’re so much more. One of our great strengths is our people, and so we’ve decided to use social media technology than to showcase who we are and what we do.

Over the next six months, Westport is putting its employees in the Driver’s Seat of our Twitter account @Westportdotcom. Inspired by the RotationCuration phenomenon that was launched by @Sweden in December 2011, Westport’s Twitter feed is going global and giving employees around the world unlimited access to Tweet about whatever they find interesting, engaging or entertaining. Work or otherwise.

Each contributor will share their thoughts, ideas, interests, and respond the feedback they get from you. We want to show the world how diverse we are as a company, in terms of our what we do every day at work, and in our free time. We hope to inspire some new ways of thinking about Westport, natural gas technology, and our world.

May 4, 2012

From ABC12 News – Businesses are Switching to Natural Gas Vehicles

This news segment from ABC12 news showcases of the growing trend in truck fleets towards Natural Gas. John Lapetz, Managing Director, North America Vehicle Programs, Westport LD explains the fuel cost-savings that is driving the switch to the cleaner-burning, domestically available fuel.

The segment interviews drivers of the WiNG™ powered Ford F-250, who discuss their experiences switching from a gasoline vehicle to a bi-fuel CNG one.