LAS VEGAS --- The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi) recognized outstanding leadership in the alternative fuels and vehicles industry as part of the opening day of the 14th Alternative Fuels & Vehicles Conference + Expo 2008. The awards honor excellence in individuals and organizations that have advanced the use of alternative fuels, vehicles or advanced technologies resulting in clean alternatives to petroleum.

The AFVi 2008 award winners are as follows:

AFVi Gold Mettle 2008 -- Marcy Rood Werpy accepted the award for her significant service to the alternative fuels industry. The award honored Werpy's "great character and commitment to the industry through her ability to create, shape, mold and bring about meaningful change." Until recently she served as the deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program. She was recognized for her "vigilance in strengthening the network of coordinators who comprise the Clean Cities program, as well as her vision to build a global alternative fuels community," AFVi said.

Corporate Visionary Award 2008 --, the philanthropic arm of the company that has transformed content on the Web, was honored for its "innovative approach in finding transportation technology solutions to combat global warming." The award, accepted by Adam Smith, honors the company for the RechargeIT initiative, which is part of Google's Climate Change Program. Under the leadership of Smith, the initiative's focus is on the commercialization of plug-in hybrids. RechargeIT incorporates investments, fleet data collection, a plug-in hybrid conversion fleet, and vehicle-to-grid demonstrations on the Google campus. This is part of a three-year, $175 million foundation project to "make the world a better place."

Green Fleet Award 2008 -- Robert Hall, director of vehicle engineering for United Parcel Service (UPS), received the award for his influence and vision in building and operating the largest private alternative fuel fleet in the transportation industry. Hall has been with the company for 32 years and for the past 23 years, has led the company's alternative fuel projects and technology development. UPS has a total of 1,629 trucks that run on compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane, as well as electric and hybrid electric vehicles. UPS is also working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on developing a hydraulic hybrid delivery vehicle. "The company plans to continue to expand its green fleet and to focus deployments in areas with air-quality challenges," Hall said.

Green Ribbon Award 2008 -- Patricia Mulroy, general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD), accepted the award, honoring the public utility for powerful communications and marketing strategies that raise awareness about sustainability. Sustainability is part of the LVVWD's mission statement and has resulted in a range of accomplishments from the development of the Springs Preserve, a 180-acre cultural and historical attraction, to solar power generation at its reservoirs. The district's vehicle composition is noteworthy, with 79 percent of the fleet running on alternative fuels. The recent addition of hydrogen-powered vehicles and a solar-powered hydrogen fueling station complements the fleet mix of gas/electric hybrids, compressed natural gas and biodiesel fueled vehicles. The LVVWD provides water to more than 1 million people in southern Nevada. The district has distinguished itself as a national leader among public utilities.

Industry Innovation Award 2008 -- The award was given to Sinclair Oil Corp. and was accepted by National Accounts Manager Todd Cawley. Sinclair has proven, as they like to say, that they are no dinosaur when it comes to alternative fuels. Sinclair, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, formed a partnership with Haycock Petroleum to make B5 biodiesel available through 16 of its fueling stations in the Las Vegas area. The company, which operates in 21 states, is testing biodiesel blends in Las Vegas with an eye toward possible expansion into other markets.

Industry Pioneer Award 2008 -- Lawrence Burns, vice president for research & development and strategic planning at General Motors, was honored for devoting his life to advancing the use of green vehicle technology. He has worked at GM since 1969 and is credited with a commitment to an automotive future that doesn't rely on the internal combustion engine. Burns leads all of GM's efforts involving new technologies and is an outspoken advocate for the hydrogen economy and for GM to be the first company to have 1 million fuel cell vehicles on the road.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2008 -- Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman presented his city fleet and transportation services manager, Dan Hyde, with the AFVi Lifetime Achievement Award. Hyde is known for his advocacy of strong fleet leadership as a key in cleaning up America's cities. His bold and passionate style is one reason that late last year the city received the World Leadership Award in London for its innovative approach to clean fleet services. For 15 years Hyde has built a fleet of 1,200 vehicles, with 90 percent operating on alternative fuels. In 1993, Las Vegas became the fifth city in the nation to become part of the United States Department of Energy Clean Cities program, which Hyde has led since it began. "He is recognized and admired on a local, national and international level for his commitment to alternative fuels," AFVi said.

Oxygen Award 2008 -- Matthew Payne came up with a great idea in 2002 that freight shippers, carriers and logistics companies would voluntarily sign up to reduce emissions through their freight operations. Today the idea has become a highly successful program, with more than 600 partners representing notable transport powerhouses like Wal-Mart, Swift Transportation and Whole Foods Market. Payne was recognized for his vision behind the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a program of the U.S. EPA. As a 17-year employee of the EPA, Payne has pioneered work in alternative fuels, diesel retrofit technology and now, he is working on a SmartWay program redesign to cover multimodal emissions from the entire transportation supply chain. AFVi recognized his public service that has "resulted in significant annual fuel savings and emissions reductions nationwide."

Vision 20/20 Award -- Ed Begley Jr. was lauded for his passionate commitment to living lightly on the planet. Begley is widely known as an American character actor. He's earned much acclaim for his environmentalism, including promotion of eco-friendly products and living in a solar-powered home. Begley serves as a spokesperson for Phoenix Motorcars and is a proponent of clean transportation alternatives to petroleum. He serves on numerous environmental boards, stars with his wife, Rachelle Carson, in their own reality television series called "Living with Ed," and is the author of a new book, Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life. Begley is honored for the "strength of his personal convictions resulting in his uncanny ability to motivate and unify people to act to protect the planet," AFVi said.