Chicago Area Clean Cities recognizes B20 Club, other sustainability leaders
Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition has announced its 2021 Leadership Award winners. The awards are given annually to organizations and individuals that take actions to locally reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.
This year’s awardees involving biodiesel include the B20 Club, Cook-Illinois Corp. and Ozinga.
Samantha Bingham, clean transportation program director for the Chicago Department of Transportation and co-coordinator of Chicago Area Clean Cities, said the award winners “are exceptional examples for others to follow [and] their efforts reduce vehicle emissions that cause air pollution and climate change. They’re helping to make the air we breathe cleaner and healthier for all and the world a better place.”
The awards were presented at the coalition’s annual meeting and holiday reception held Dec. 7 at Danada House in Wheaton. Award winners include:
Leadership in Public Service: B20 Club
Since 2014, B20 Club members have consumed more than 30 million gallons of B20 and higher biodiesel blends, contributing to cleaner air and more sustainable operations throughout Illinois. A partnership between the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program and the American Lung Association, the B20 Club recognizes a select group of Illinois-based organizations with strong commitments to run fleets on biodiesel blends of 20 percent or greater. These diverse Illinois-based commercial and government fleets rely on B20 biodiesel and higher biodiesel blends to fuel their vehicles. B20 Club members in Illinois include Ag-Land FS, Al Warren Oil Co. Inc., CityLink (Greater Peoria Mass Transit District), Cook-Illinois Corp., City of Elmhurst, City of Moline, Village of Arlington Heights, Village of Carol Stream, Village of Oak Park, Chicago Park District, ComEd, Lake County Division of Transportation, Green Grease Environmental, Excel Oil Service, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Ozinga, G&D Integrated, SK Davison, and R&N Trucking.
Bailey Arnold, director of clean-air initiatives at American Lung Association, thanked CACC for recognizing the hard work and dedication of B20 Clubbers. “I was honored to accept this award on behalf of our members and partners,” he said.
Clean Transportation Award: Cook-Illinois Corp.
Under the leadership of John Benish Jr., president and chief operating officer, Cook-Illinois Corp. was the first in Illinois to voluntarily switch an entire bus fleet to blends up to 20 percent biodiesel. Benish led efforts to implement buses powered by a suite of alternative fuels and technologies, including new technology diesel engines, electricity, propane, and 100 percent biodiesel. He also created the Clean Air Bus, the first-ever clean-air mobile museum for children and led the creation of a mobile farmers market to combat food insecurity in the Chicago area. Benish is an inaugural member of the B20 Club of Illinois and a long-standing member of Chicago Area Clean Cities. Benish spearheaded efforts to provide sustainable transportation options to Chicago-area school districts to protect the health of students and benefit the environment. Today, Cook-Illinois Corp.’s fleet of school buses is among the greenest in the nation.
Above and Beyond Award: Ozinga Energy
Ozinga Bros. is a fourth-generation, family-owned company providing ready mix concrete, building materials, logistics and alternative fuel solutions since 1928. Ozinga has more than 200 ready-mix concrete mixers running on renewable natural gas and another 600 on 20 percent biodiesel in the Chicagoland area. Over the past decade, Ozinga Energy, a subsidiary of Ozinga Bros., has successfully served many fleets in the greater Chicago area by providing compressed natural gas (CNG) as a clean alternative fuel. This has helped a variety of fleets reduce emissions in vehicles ranging from Class 8 tractor trailers to small passenger cars. Many are local delivery trucks, taxis, national carriers, and even local college student’s cars. Ozinga Energy takes this commitment very seriously, working hard since 2012 to build the largest fueling network around Chicago. Part of this has included building up a robust maintenance team that is hard working, reliable, and highly trained to keep everything running smoothly.
In 2018 Ozinga Energy made a big step to honor its commitment to customers, community, and the environment by securing renewable natural gas (RNG). All Ozinga stations, both public and private, are contracted to supply RNG. This RNG is being produced every day from decomposing landfill trash and is now used to replace traditional fuel consumption throughout Ozinga’s stations. This is a great benefit to fleets, as they are consuming carbon-negative fuel and doing their part to help reduce harmful emissions.
Click here for more information on the other award winners.