Photo of Melissa Howell


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Clean Cities’ longest-tenured coordinator has served for nearly two decades Since the first six Clean Cities coalitions received official U.S. Department of Energy designation in 1993, these organizations have been making an impact in their communities every day. The Clean Cities model for local decision making works because of coalitions’ unique mix of businesses, fuel providers, vehicle fleets, state and local government agencies, and community organizations. Their activities stimulate local economies, facilitate the adoption of new transportation technologies, and make their communities less dependent on petroleum. Today, there are nearly 100 coalitions representing about 75% of the U.S. population.

Within each coalition, a Clean Cities coordinator works to connect the puzzle pieces, identify projects, find and leverage funding, and help stakeholders implement projects in the community.

Meet Melissa Howell of the Kentucky Clean Cities Partnership (KCCP). Howell has led the Kentucky coalition since 1994 and is Clean Cities’ longest-tenured coordinator. Over the years, she has worked with hundreds of fleets and other transportation decision makers to implement strategies to cut petroleum use and vehicle emissions.

As one example, Howell worked closely with Mammoth Cave National Park over several years, helping it become the first national park in the country to operate all its vehicles on alternative fuels. See the video case study.

Thanks also to Howell’s leadership, thousands of students across Kentucky ride to school on some 156 hybrid electric buses. The buses are fitted with data loggers that help determine which routes make the best use of the hybrid technology, and some are achieving double the fuel economy of their diesel counterparts. Read the case study.

Howell has been a very active mentor, especially to new coordinators in other coalitions. She’s often called upon to share her experience and knowledge to reinvigorate stalled projects, overcome technical barriers, and instill confidence in rising leaders. These qualities have earned her great accolades over the years, including Clean Cities Coordinator of the Year (2008) and her induction into the Hall of Fame (2011). Most recently, she was named Alternative Transportation Pioneer at the Clean Cities 20th anniversary event. Read more about Howell and her coalition’s accomplishments in a Q&A post on the blog.

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