Photo of Mr. Lee Grannis standing holding his Benjamin Watson award and a framed photograph of Benjamin Watson.

Grannis says he’s honored to be in the company of fellow military veteran and friend Benjamin Watson.

From north to south, from east to west, the winners of the Benjamin Watson Inspirational Award are among Clean Cities’ best in the nation. Now Lee Grannis, coordinator of Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition, joins those esteemed ranks.

Grannis was honored on September 1 in OakRidge, TN, where representatives from Clean Cities coalitions across the country gathered for the annual Clean Cities Coordinator Training Workshop. Peers and past awardees Sam Spofforth, Jonathan Overly, and Barry Carr presented the award to Grannis in Benjamin Watson’s honor and memory.

“There’s no one more deserving,” said Spofforth, coordinator of Clean Fuels Ohio. Carr, who is coordinator of Clean Communities of Central New York (Syracuse), added, “He’s been an inspiration to all of us.” The award is presented annually to the Clean Cities coordinator who provides inspiration and motivation to other coordinators and who strives to create a fun, engaging, and unified team spirit within the program.

Grannis has been the coordinator of Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition in New Haven, CT, since starting the coalition in 1995. Among other recognition, he was selected as the Northeast Region Clean Cities Coordinator of the Year in 2004 and 2008 and was inducted into the national Clean Cities Hall of Fame in 2012.

“Lee is a great person and a great example of the Clean Cities program,” said Wisconsin Clean Cities Coordinator Lorrie Lisek. According to Christine Heshmati, coordinator of the Southeast Florida Clean Cities Coalition, Grannis (aka “the Colonel”) travels extensively to assist other coalitions with their events, often at his own expense. “His extensive knowledge of alternative fuel vehicles and his unwillingness to accept doing ‘business as usual’ makes him stand above others,” Heshmati said. “Lee is always willing to help, just as Benjamin Watson was many years ago.”

Nominations for the Benjamin Watson Inspirational Award come directly from coordinators, in a process overseen by the Clean Cities Coordinator Council. Coordinators then vote to select the winner.

The award is named after Benjamin Watson, a long-time coordinator of Kansas City Regional Clean Cities. Watson’s engaging personality and spirit left an indelible stamp on the Clean Cities program

To read more about Grannis’ accomplishments, visit the Clean Cities Hall of Fame for 2012.

  • Kathryn Ruckman, National Renewable Energy Laboratory