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Stephen Marlin

Organization: Young Professionals in Energy

Expertise: Transportation and Sustainability


Sustainable Transportation Initiatives – Background and Foreground


STI is the brainchild of a true car guy with over 25 years of automotive industry experience.  Stephen Marlin started his automotive journey in 1987 as an apprentice mechanic at a Chevrolet Dealership in Kansas City, MO.  After 5 years as a mechanic and the completion of his undergraduate work he moved to Detroit and worked his way through the maze of corporate life at General Motors.  When he was moved to New York City for a GM assignment in 2007 he took the time enroll in Columbia University’s Master of Sustainability Management program to increase his breadth of knowledge about sustainability as a whole.  At the beginning of the program he asked himself a series of questions about what sustainability meant to transportation and where transportation fit within sustainability.  They included the following:

1.     Why am I driving to work?

2.     Why do I drive an “inefficient” car?

3.     Is the information age workplace based on the industrial age workplace?

4.     Does current policy enable the commuter society?

5.     Why do we all go to and return from work at about the same time?

6.     What does a city look like if we want to change our answers to these questions and live in a more sustainable model?

7.     Can the auto industry, or even some of the stakeholders, embrace a market where people drive less?

STI was born not only of taking action on the answers to those questions, but also getting to even deeper knowledge of what the answers meant.  STI was founded on the recognition that many of the firms working on sustainability lacked a central expertise in the area of transportation.  The goal is to keep the firm small enough to work with larger organizations doing sustainability work while being agile enough to work independently if called upon to do so.

STI brings expertise in these key areas of sustainable transportation planning:

1.                    Technical Knowledge – While the need for action in sustainability has never been greater we are lucky to live in a time when the options for sustainable transport are broad and wide.  There are a wide array of alternative fuels like CNG, bio-diesel, hydrogen, ethanol, and electricity available in the market.  STI can help decision makers understand how each of these technologies can play in their larger system, as well as bring key stakeholders to the table to design the best sustainable transportation solution.

2.                    Market Awareness and Implementation – All too often the “if you build it they will come” approach is taken in implementing technical solutions to sustainable transportation programs.  However, community outreach is always a key to maintaining enthusiasm to really making a sustainable transportation program work.  STI brings years of experience in developing and implementing programs for educational outreach, service and safety training, and public awareness.

3.                    Program Planning and Design – STI’s core strength is actually to bring all of the pieces above together in a detailed plan to implement a sustainable transportation plan.  STI can help decision makers identify stakeholders, technology, and the right marketing tools to put together the plan that is right for their organization. This approach recognizes there is no cookie cutter process to a sustainable transportation plan. STI believes in the idea, gleaned from Stephen’s time as a mechanic, that the best tool for the job is the right tool.

About Stephen: Stephen has over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. Currently he is the manager of GM’s Advanced Technology Demonstration Service Facility in the Northeast. During his 4 years at the facility he has overseen the implementation of the GM Project Driveway Fuel Cell demonstration program and the development hydrogen-fueling infrastructure in New York and Connecticut. With the launch of the Chevrolet Volt Stephen became heavily involved supporting Detroit as vehicles and charging infrastructure were rolled out in the New York Metropolitan area. Stephen has served as an electric vehicle subject matter expert on a number of media outlets including CNN and Good Morning America. He is also serving on the board of the New York City chapter of Young Professionals in Energy responsible for transportation. Stephen holds an undergraduate degree in Power Technology from the University of Central Missouri, a MS in Organizational Behavior from Central Michigan University and is currently attending Columbia University to complete an MS in Sustainability Management.


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