A Greener Solution

By: TEC Canada

Aug 1, 2014

As President of Vedder Transportation Group, Fred Zweep is always engaging his team to look for new ways to provide their customers with a more economic, greener mode of transportation. When Fred and his team heard of natural gas as an alternative to diesel fuel, they had no idea it would lead to international recognition.

“We were challenged by our customers to look at solutions for greener standards in our industry and find innovative ways to save them money. Typically, fuel is the largest cost component of operating a vehicle and the volatility and the inconsistency of gas prices gets passed along to our customers.”

Natural gas was the perfect solution. As an abundant resource in North America, natural gas does not see the price fluctuation of traditional fuels and emits 27 percent less greenhouse gasses than diesel or gasoline engines.

When Fred and his team began their research to see if natural gas was a viable option for Vedder Transportation they discovered that as of 2009 there were nine to ten million natural gas operated vehicles around the globe, but in North America there were less than 10,000. “We looked at the technology and it was viable and durable, so we asked what was holding it back in North America?” As it turned out, the largest setback was the lack of available fueling infrastructure.

Seeing an opportunity to expand into an untapped market and meet the demands of his customers, Fred took a serious look at their business model and discovered that they had 50 diesel fueled vehicles they could convert into natural gas engines. The company decided to invest six million dollars into a commercial natural gas fueling infrastructure on their property to be able to fill these vehicles. “We saw this as being the new generation of operating vehicles in North America and we were the pioneers in western Canada,” stated Fred.

Peer-to-Peer mentoring with TEC has allowed Fred to listen, learn and contribute to fellow members, allowing him to propel Vedder Transportation towards a brighter future. He has received the Global Champion Award for Natural Gas Vehicles, from Natural Gas Vehicles Global, for bringing a greener, more efficient mode of transportation to his customers. When Fred was asked about being recognized for his success he admitted: “We didn’t go looking for recognition; That came out as a surprise. Assisting in the promotion of the use of natural gas was our gift back to the technology that was made available to us to help us better manage our business.”

While TEC has helped Fred transform his transportation business, it has also transformed his personal life by bringing back a sense of balance. TEC has allowed him to take the weekend off and spend time with his family. “TEC has helped me to personally find balance in my life. When you are an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to trap yourself in your own confines and working long hours without taking a break – you don’t always realize that you‘re not being as productive as you could be. Taking some time away from the office is the key to innovative thinking and success."

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