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Stephen R. Connors Visionary Award

Stephen R. Connors

The Stephen R. Connors Visionary Award is awarded to an individual who exhibits “Leadership in helping make changes in the environmental sector that positively impact the world.”

Established in 2017, the award is named for AltWheels co-founder

Stephen R. Connors who passed away in 2016.

Erin Russell-Story head shot.jpg

Erin Russell-Story

Ms. Russell-Story is part of the Technology Integration team in the Energy Efficiency and Manufacturing group, which is part of the Technology Development Center at NETL. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) only government-owned/government-operated lab. NETL has been in existence for over 100 years and focuses on energy research as well as project management for multiple DOE directorates. 


In addition to her project management duties, Erin serves as the Northeast Regional Manager for DOE’s Clean Cities program. She has over 26 years of experience in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and started her career as the Clean Cities Coordinator of the Northeast Ohio Clean Cities Coalition in 1997. She went on to take the helm of the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, before joining NETL in 2009. In 2003, Ms. Russell-Story was honored with the Clean Cities Coordinator of the Year award and was inducted into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame in 2011. 


“Receiving this award – even being nominated for this award – is really an honor. To be considered in the same category as Stephen Connors and the past award winners is truly meaningful. I am genuinely humbled by this award and will continue to work towards cleaner transportation solutions. It’s something that we all have to work on together. Never doubt that expanding the use of alternative fuels is of vital importance. Reducing emissions and carbon in the transportation sector is the best path forward to a sustainable future.” 


Alison Sander

In 2017, for the first time, AltWheels presented an award to recognize individuals for, “Leadership in helping make changes in the environmental sector that positively impact the world.” The newly-established Stephen R. Connors Visionary Award, named for AltWheels co-founder Steve Connors who passed away in the year since the last AltWheels Fleet Day, was presented to Connors and his wife and co-founder Alison Sander. In Sander’s opening remarks she discussed three major trends that are playing a significant role in reducing transportation emissions: electrification, smart transportation, and autonomous vehicles.  

Steve Russell receives award from Mike,

Steve Russell

Steve Russell is the Alternative Transportation Program Coordinator and Clean Cities Co-coordinator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Russell has been an integral part of the AltWheels team since its inception and serves as co-chairman of the event. Russell was also inducted into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame and presented with an award from the US Department of Energy and Clean Cities for his 10 years of service.

Russell developed his reputation as a pioneer for using biodiesel in extremely cold environments. As the fleet manager for the city of Keene, New Hampshire, for 12 years, he introduced the use of B-20 into the city’s entire diesel fleet. This was a standout move for a New England fleet. Under Steve’s leadership, Keene also developed a sustainable fleet policy and showed great leadership in environmental sustainability.

During his tenure as Coordinator, Massachusetts Clean Cities stakeholders have displaced more than 60 Million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) of petroleum. In that same period from 2009 – 2018, Massachusetts Clean Cities avoided almost 171,000 tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) under Steve’s leadership. In 2016 alone, Massachusetts Clean Cities displaced more than 9.2 Million GGEs of petroleum and avoided more than 25,000 tons of GHGs.


Cathy Morrissey

Before retiring in October 2017, the majority of Morrissey’s 37-year career at Ford Motor Company was spent working with Government and Commercial accounts representing their fleet requirements to Ford for “Win Win” transportation solutions. She helped formulate strategies and assisted a large multinational account in the transition from full-size Econoline Vans to Transit Connects. The greenhouse gases for 4,000 vehicles went from 609 grams per mile to 378. Morrissey worked with Boston area biotechnology companies to move from 6-cylinder offerings to the Ford 4-cylinder Ecoboost offering, saving an average of 4 mpg per sedan/compact SUV. She has participated in every AltWheels event since its inception, highlighting Ford’s sustainability technologies. Morrissey received a BA from UMass Amherst and MBA from Nichols College.


Brion Gopigian, East Region Manager for Ford Commercial Fleet Operations commented, “Cathy spent 37 years of dedicated service to Large Fleets, many of them global companies, finding solutions to lower their carbon footprint. A quiet accomplishment that deserves to be called out.”


“Cathy is most deserving for her many years of exceptional service to Ford Motor Company and her Fleet customers,” remarked Steve Ellison, Regional Operations Manager, Ford Motor Company, North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing.

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