Navistar gathers for a team photo at Grant Park at the 2010 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge (top photo). The team's participation in 2009 included a T-shirt design award (center photo in lower row) accepted by Company Co-Captain Sanjay Patel and Heather Samuelson-Peterson. In lower left photo, Trang Nguyen, Michelle Gleason and Kristi Nguyen stop for a pre-race photo. In lower right photo, Timothy Leith and Company Co-Captain Bob Beine share pre-race smiles.
Color Navistar's efforts green as entries
grow at Chicago's Corporate Challenge
There was plenty of activity at the Navistar tent at the 2010 Corporate Challenge. Above, family member Doris Woods (from left) shares a smile with Diane Woods and Erica Jordan.
CHICAGO, May 2, 2011 — When Navistar’s team for Chicago's 2011 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge pulls into Grant Park on Thursday, May 26 after a two-plus hour ride from its headquarters in Warrenville, it will be making a “green” statement.
At the least, Company Co-Captain Sanjay Patel will have transported his large — and growing — team in award-winning, Navistar-produced IC® hybrid buses that improve fuel economy by as much as 65 percent.
Patel said he is also working to get a Navistar eStar™ to display at the company's tent during the event, which would raise awareness of the product to Corporate Challenge’s anticipated 20,000-plus participants. (Registration remains open for the event through May 12.)
The eStar is the all-electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions that in August 2009 drew President Barack Obama to Navistar’s Wakarusa, Ind., manufacturing facility to announce a $39 million grant for the company to produce thousands more of the next-generation, all-electric commercial trucks, vans and buses. Recently, the eStar was added to the Canadian postal service's fleet of delivery vehicles, a move that that company's CEO said can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 10 tons annually.
Navistar’s efforts fit in beautifully with the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge’s “Teaming Up for a Greener Tomorrow” initiative, which encourages companies to use the best available environmental practices possible — including clean transportation.
These days, Navistar is focused on making “green” statements, even as it makes products not usually associated with the environment.
Navistar is a holding company that produces trucks, buses, engines, and other transportation-related products primarily to serve the commercial market. It traces its roots all the way back to Cyrus McCormick, who, in 1834, built the first mechanical reaper on his farm with the help of Jo Anderson, a slave whose friendship with McCormick endured long after slavery was abolished in the United States. McCormick also was a business visionary whose McCormick Reaper Works opened in Chicago in 1851 and was producing 4,000 reapers a year by 1856. Flash forward to 1902 and a merger involving McCormick’s company to produce the International Harvester Corporation, which, decades later, evolved into Navistar International Corporation.
With that background, it’s not surprising that this is no typical truck and engine company. With a long term goal of achieving $20 billion in revenues, Navistar has moved decisively into producing environmentally friendly trucks, buses and engines, which has resulted in a slew of awards recognizing the obvious — Navistar is at the forefront of the green movement in commercial transportation.
Their award-winning T-shirts proclaiming that they are not runners, but finishers, Tanya Jogee, Lisa Hartenberger and Elissa Koc smile before getting ready to finish.
It is working on more environmentally beneficial products than can be detailed here, but among them are:
It is teaming with NASA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to reduce the aerodynamic drag of big trucks even further after coming up with breakthrough designs in the last decade. The goal is to prevent 36 million tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year just by these design changes.
It produced the first hybrid school buses that, in addition to dramatically improving fuel economy, also reduce greenhouse gases by up to 39 percent.
And, it has developed its own MaxxForce® Advanced EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) emissions technology that removes harmful engine exhaust during combustion, rather than in costlier after-treatment methods.
The MaxxForce project alone shows that Navistar's green focus is not only good for the environment, it also good for its customers, said Patel, Manager, Safety and Operations Environment at Navistar Parts Group.
“We’ve got to make products that are cost effective for our customers,” he said. “Truckers are struggling out there, and our EGR solution really helps them.
“I’m just so proud to be part of this company,” added Patel. “It’s a fantastic place to work and we’re proud of what we do.”
That pride is reflected in the growing participation of employees in Navistar's team for Chicago's JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, which again kicks off the Memorial Day weekend with a start time of 7:10 p.m. on Thursday, May 26 in Grant Park. Chicago's favorite after-work road race and corporate party turns 30 this year, and is as popular as ever, expected to attract a field that may exceed 20,000.
A four-time finisher of the Chicago Marathon, Patel is sharing company captain duties for Navistar this year with Bob Beine. The two have Navistar on pace for perhaps record participation, with 144 registrants signed up for the team by late April.
"Our participation is growing every year," Patel said. "We used to have only 25-30 on our team in the beginning, and then 50 before I started (as company captain). The race entry was free for everyone (thanks to Navistar), but then I started taking deposits. That helped boost participation because people would lose their deposits if they didn't run. And, of course, we do a lot of advertising for the race in emails and bulletin boards. The turnout has gotten better and we're always trying to beat last year's participation."
For Navistar, with multiple divisions and facilities around the world, the Chicago JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge being relatively near its headquarters is an opportunity to bring employees together to share a healthy, fun activity. And employee health, like the focus on environmentally friendly trucks and engines, is a prime focus at Navistar.
A group of Navistar runners and walkers starts off at the 2009 JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge in Chicago.
"Basically, employee health and wellness is such a big part of our culture that we want to do everything we can to keep our workforce healthy," said Patel. He adds that the Corporate Challenge fits ideally into Navistar Vital Lives programs such as (the company's overall health and wellness program that provide early intervention to prevent issues such as stress, diabetes, smoking and obesity), Spring Tune-Up (a six-week nutritional program), and Trucking Across North America (a 13-week competition logging employees' weekly exercise miles).
"We sign up walkers and runners for the event, some newcomers and some repeat members for our team," said Patel. "We encourage people to come out and bring a buddy who hasn't done the race before. We give them T-shirts and make it fun with games and grilling with healthy cooking options. It's fun and fitness at the same time."
It's also work, especially for Patel, Beine and their volunteers, who include Patel's son, Amar. Different groups come together to make this event successful. IC bus group arranges for transportation. Facility management helps with grilling and food. Truck group assists in t-shirt design. Communications group is involved with registration and the tent.
"It’s truly a great team work to make this event successful," said Patel. "We are in the suburbs, 30-35 miles out of Chicago, so it's a challenge for us just getting there (to Grant Park)," Patel said. "Of course, we have buses and give rides to get people to come, but we have to leave at 4:30 to get there by 7."
They do, however, have the added satisfaction that they'll be riding to and from the race in the greenest possible way. And that's a tribute to them and their company.