LAS VEGAS - Natural Gas Vehicle Institute (NGVi), a North American provider of training and consulting services related to natural gas as a transportation fuel, is beginning its 21st year of working with fleet managers and technicians to advance their knowledge and use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and natural gas fueling.

Founded by Leo and Annalloyd Thomason, the company provides a wide range of services including technical training, consulting, policy development, asset evaluation, fleet assessment and expert testimony before public and private governing bodies. In their 20-year history, NGVi has equipped more than 14,000 employees with the skills they need to safely implement, operate and maintain an NGV fleet.

"Global transportation is undergoing a paradigm shift, and natural gas vehicles will be a mainstream option for years to come," said Leo Thomason, executive director of NGVi. "While demand for training continues to grow, I'm seeing two things that concern me. First, the need for training is soon going to outpace the available expertise. Secondly, the stalwart brain trust that has built the market is retiring, leaving a vacuum for the next generation to fill. NGVi is poised and ready to move to the next level and fill that void."

NGVi is the leader in the development of strategic training tools for the fleet sector. Mr. Thomason provides training in station design, maintenance, operation, cylinder inspection, as well as driver and technician vehicle safety. He has worked for 350 companies around the world, including New York City Transit, Pacific Gas & Electric, UPS, Orion Bus Industries, Sandia National Laboratory, the State of Arizona, the government of the Philippines and the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The natural gas vehicle market is enjoying a resurgence through a combination of efforts, including T. Boone Pickens' campaign called the "Pickens Plan," AT&T's recent decision to convert 8,000 vehicles to natural gas, landmark funding for liquefied natural gas as part of the Clean Air Action Plan at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and legislative initiatives at the state and federal levels.

There are currently 130,000 NGVs on the road in the United States and 1100 fueling stations. In addition to the abundant domestic availability of natural gas, it is a clean burning fuel. Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas are 23 percent lower than diesel and 30 percent lower than gasoline. Natural gas produces virtually no particulate emissions, making it cleaner than diesel.

NGVi is sponsored by the following industry partners: ANGI Energy Systems, Clean Energy, Enviromech Industries, GreenField Compression Inc., IMPCO Technologies, Inc., IMW Industries Ltd., Luxfer Gas Cylinders, Micro Motion Inc., Parker Hannifin Corporation, Pinnacle CNG Systems, Swagelok Company, T. Mitchell Engineers, Inc., Titeflex Corporation, Trillium USA and Xebec Adsorption, Inc. NGVi is a sister-company of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute (AFVi), both of which operate out of Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information call 702-203-4982.