A Reflection on the Last 25 Years at GNA

December 10, 2018

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Twenty-five years is generally thought of as a long time. A lot can happen in a quarter of a century, and a lot has happened since that day–December 10, 1993, which marked the creation of the company that has become Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA).

GNA is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. It is baffling to think that our little company–which  started out as Gladstein & Associates (G&A)–has been around for twenty-five years. Looking back, as one so often feels compelled to do when these numeric milestones occur, it seems like a long time has passed since that chaotic December day, not yet a year in to the presidency of Bill Clinton. Seems so long ago, but also feels like yesterday.

Historically speaking, it was a fascinating time. As noted, Clinton had only recently been elected, the first Democratic president in over 12 years. The Soviet Union had dissolved only two years earlier, and the world was still reeling from the abrupt yet welcomed end to the Cold War. Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk of South Africa were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1993 for their work to end apartheid in their country. And 1993 was the year that the European Union was established, having been created in February by the Maastricht Treaty.

Environmentally, it was also a very important time. The requirements of the revised Clean Air Act were beginning to take hold, having been modified significantly by the Amendments of 1990. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was also being implemented, ushering in the first alternative fuel vehicle requirements for federal, state and utility fleet vehicles.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was being implemented, ushering in the first alternative fuel vehicle requirements for federal, state and utility fleet vehicles.

California was trying to figure out how to achieve the requirement, established by the Air Resources Board in 1990, that 2% of the vehicles offered for sale in California in 1998 be zero emissions. The state was also struggling to develop an implementation plan to meet air quality improvement targets that could be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The consequence of failure that was being actively discussed at the time was the imposition of a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP), an eventuality that galvanized opposition and stimulated creative solutions from virtually all California stakeholders.

From the Interstate Clean Transportation Corridor to the First Mobile Source Emission Reduction Credits

So much has happened in this quarter of a century, particularly in those arenas in which GNA plays–transportation, air quality and clean energy. So much has been accomplished, yet so much is left to be done.

GNA has been involved with a lot of great clients and projects over this span, almost all of which generate some pride. It is hard to call out those which have had the most impact, those which have made the biggest impression, those which have made the biggest difference. We have enjoyed working on so many great projects, and with so many envelope pushing clients.

It is not possible to talk about the history of GNA without mentioning the Interstate Clean Transportation Corridor. The ICTC was created in 1995 with the help of Dr. Carl Moyer of Acurex, Ken Kelley of JBK Trucking, and Jon Lear of the Center for Resource Management.  It was the first corridor project to focus on heavy duty vehicles, following Carl Moyer’s stricture that “it’s the trucks, stupid!”

Indeed, it was and continues to be the trucks, as it is heavy-duty vehicles and equipment–those that mostly consume diesel–that are the source of the vast majority of most cities’ smog and toxic air contaminants and a sizeable portion of the planet’s greenhouse gases. The ICTC provided an organizing principle around which stakeholders could focus public resources to develop fueling infrastructure and procure the vehicles to use it, providing a model of economic sustainability so critical to the success of alternative fuel vehicle commercialization.

The ICTC helped to propel the future of GNA. It gave the company a unique focus and unusual niche, because there were few consultancies at the time working on the development of alternatives to diesel in the goods movement sector.

So much has happened in this quarter of a century, particularly in those arenas in which GNA plays–transportation, air quality and clean energy.

Targeting the conversion of heavy-duty vehicles and equipment to cleaner technology ended up creating all kinds of new and interesting opportunities for GNA, including work on the first mobile source emission reduction credits, the first port-related clean truck programs, the first hydrogen power plant projects, the first projects to sequester carbon from electricity generation, the first LNG-fueled container vessels and many other groundbreaking and barrier breaking activities.

Since those early days of GNA, we have been privileged to be at the forefront of many diverse activities to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy, provide options for the reduction of smog-forming and toxic air pollutants in disadvantaged communities, and grow the market for low carbon fuels in the transportation sector.

We have helped protect playgrounds in New York City from exposure to deadly diesel exhaust, convert cargo handling equipment in the nation’s ports to low emission technologies, draft roadmaps for cities to convert their fleets to zero emission vehicles, develop public policies that accelerate the replacement of dirtier old technologies with newer, cleaner models and build plants that covert organic waste in to zero carbon vehicle fuel.

It has been a wild and wonderful ride, and it is fortunate for us that there is no sign of abatement.

Looking to the Next 25 Years

We have so much to look forward to as we begin the next twenty-five years. Renewable fuels are only beginning to emerge, providing important new opportunities to convert human waste streams into energy for transportation, residences and commerce.

We have so much to look forward to as we begin the next twenty-five years.

Zero and near zero emission vehicles are ushering in an era in which we can actually realize the elimination of transportation as a contributor to air pollution and climate change. Automation and telematics are advancing at furious pace, bringing the possibility of driverless vehicles that are safer and cleaner than any on the road today.

And those of us lucky enough to work at GNA will be working on all of these exciting development in the coming year.

They say that time passes fast when you are having fun, so I guess that says something quite good about how the last twenty-five years have sped by.  So, we pause a moment to celebrate.

We have accomplished so much. I am proud of what we have achieved and the people that have helped us achieve it. But there is still so much more to do. So we look forward to the next twenty-five years, during which GNA will continue to work towards the realization of that which has become more than a just a motto–striving to bring about a more sustainable social, economic and environmental future.

Read More: GNA Celebrates 25 Years of Innovative Clean Transportation & Energy Initiatives