Future of Transportation
Case Competition

Beyond Today – The Future of American Transportation

The Fuels Institute, a multi-industry think tank, is hosting its 2nd Annual Future of Transportation case competition. Finalists will be flown to San Francisco, CA, April 28-29, 2016, to present to industry executives for final judging at the Fuels Institute Annual Meeting. Benefits include cash prizes, publication and networking opportunities.


  • Review the tabs below for all pertinent information
  • Submit abstract (Statement of Intent) by MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2015

Today, there are over 250 million registered cars and trucks on America’s roads. Each of those vehicles require a specific fuel such as petroleum, electricity, hydrogen, natural gas or other alternative options, to power the needs of consumers. Modern society recognizes that the path that was laid out at the dawn of the 20th century is no longer sustainable for the health of the planet, national security or the economy. Through various federal regulations we are beginning to see changes that aim to curb global air quality and reliance on foreign resources. Interestingly, we are also on the cusp a new generation of potential drivers that are challenging the previous driving habits and needs of prior generations. Society is changing rapidly while the overall transportation sector is moving at a snail’s pace.

The Challenge –

Part I – What if you were able to simply press the figurative “reset button” on America’s ground transportation sector? The challenge before you is to envision and create an ideal future transportation (mass transit and consumer vehicles) sector. How will consumers move from point A to point B within an urban, suburban and rural setting? What sustainable fueling options would be used in each area? Who are the stakeholders (automakers, consumers, etc.) in your revised vision? Whatever you envision, how does that affect vehicle ownership, vehicle use and fuel demand?

Part II – Once you’ve thoroughly developed your idea, how do we take that vision and make it a reality within the next 30 years based on the current infrastructure of America? How will it affect today’s stakeholders moving forward? Who does it help and who does it hurt? How will your new infrastructure be funded and is it financially sustainable? What are your plans weaknesses and how will you overcome them to reach your goal within the next 30 years?

The future is in your hands.

Statement of Intent

Participants will submit a 1 – 2 page abstract that explains how they intend to approach the two-part case presented above. Fuels Institute appointed judges will read all submissions, and the teams with the most promising abstracts will be invited to continue and produce a full-length paper.

Final Submission

Abstract submissions selected to move to the second round will be asked to submit a full-length paper. This submission should be between 10 - 15 pages in length and should clearly outline your vision of the future and how we can reach a significant portion of that vision within the next 30 years.

The submissions which answer Part I of the challenge with originality and identify novel, realistic opportunities will be given much higher preference.

The finalists should answer Part II of the challenge by ensuring that their response thoroughly covers the key points listed below:

Identifying stakeholders
Clearly identify who needs to be at the table and why. Explain how you will get them to work together or why they won’t work together and the effect this will have on the plan.

Societal goals
How will your plan have a positive impact on the environment, society and social-economics?

Economics, financial
How will your plan be financed? Will every facet of the fuels and vehicles industry make a profit? Are there any strategic alliances to curve costs? Can your model for financial viability enhance the prospects of social and environmental sustainability?

Evaluate current fueling infrastructure and whether it is adaptable for the future. What are estimated costs of new deployment? What is the timeline? Can new infrastructure run parallel with existing infrastructure?

Explain clearly your “roll out” plan for generating and satisfying consumer education and demand for potential new fuels and travel options.

Supply chain
In your reinvented supply chain, how will the supply chain work? Will today’s network of fuel and vehicle manufacturers continue in your proposed future or will it need to be radically changed?

1. Each team must consist of at least three students (no maximum)

2. Teammates are strongly encouraged to be multi-disciplinary (from at least two different fields of study)

3. Statement of Intent and Final Submission must include –

  • Title of proposal
  • University name
  • Team members names and contact information for each member (phone and e-mail)

    Send by e-mail directly to Donovan Woods.

4. Only three students per team will be brought to San Francisco to present at the Fuels Institute Annual Meeting

  • Teams with more than three members will need to determine amongst themselves who will attend if invited to present

5. This contest is open to all academic levels – undergraduate, graduate, and PhD.

6. Prize money is set in advance as a “per team” amount

7. Each team is allowed to submit a maximum of three abstracts (only one will be selected to move on to the final round)

8. Abstracts will be a minimum of one page and a maximum of two pages

9. Final submissions will be a minimum of 10 pages and a maximum of 15 pages

10. Format all submissions with the following page layout:

  • 1” margins
  • 12-point font, Arial
  • Double-spaced
  • Single-sided print
  • Images are acceptable in final submissions only (not accepted in abstracts)

11. Legal Disclaimer - Must be reviewed and submitted back with Statement of Intent to be considered


1st Place - $5,000

2nd Place - $2,500

3rd Place - $1,000

Three finalist teams will be flown out to San Francisco, CA to present your submission to over 100 senior executives from a diverse group of fuels and vehicle stakeholders (flight, transfers to and from airport and one-night stay at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf will be paid for by the Fuels Institute).

  • Submissions which display excellence but do not make it into the finalists’ round will receive an opportunity to be published at a later date


December 7, 2015
Submit abstracts: 1 – 2 pages

December 14, 2015
Best abstracts invited to round two

February 19, 2016
Final submission due before 9PM EST

March 7, 2016
Winners announced and invited to San Francisco, CA for Annual Meeting presentation
Honorable mention announced and will be published; however, will not be invited to San Francisco, CA

April 28, 2016
Three teams will present in San Francisco, CA at the Fuels Institute Annual Meeting

Inaugural Future of Transportation Case Competition
April 2015

The University of Wisconsin team’s proposal, “Electricity and Petroleum as Long-Distance Fuels,” focused on a unique 15-year, five-city initiative to develop a model battery swap retail program similar to the concepts pioneered in Israel. The team of Justin Goninen, Daniel Schmidt and Mike Lyons captured the $5,000 top prize in the national, multidisciplinary student competition.

Students were asked undertake a broad industry reinvention of both the motor fuels and motor vehicles industries. From all abstracts submitted, 12 schools were asked to submit proposals. Teams represented the following universities:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • Iowa State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Northwestern University captured second place and $2,500 for its proposal, “Integrating Electric Vehicles in the Future Transportation Value Chain,” and third place and $1,000 went to the University of Texas at Dallas for “Monetizing Environmentalism.”

Chris Blasinsky, Editorial Projects Director | NACS
Blasinsky is the editorial projects director at NACS, The Association of Convenience and Fuel Retailing, where she helps guide and manage all aspects of content projects for NACS events and the Fuels Institute. She joined NACS in February 2005 as communications manager and became managing editor of the association’s award-winning NACS Magazine in January 2007, a position she continues to hold today. Prior to NACS, she was the communications manager at the National Association of Beer Wholesalers and legislative correspondent for then-Chief Deputy Majority Whip Roy Blunt in the U.S. House of Representatives.

John Eichberger, Executive Director | Fuels Institute
Eichberger leads a diverse group of stakeholders in the fuels and vehicles markets to promote collaboration and to deliver independent, unbiased research evaluating opportunities and challenges in the market. Previously, he served more than 14 years at NACS as Vice President of Government Relations and Director of Motor Fuels where he oversaw the association’s comprehensive advocacy operations and represented the convenience and fuel retailing industry before the media and federal government. He joined NACS in 2000 after serving two years as an energy and environment policy advisor to Rep. Greg Ganske of Iowa.

Matthew Forman, Senior Manager, External Affairs | FCA US LLC
Forman joined FCA US LLC in 2011 and advises on energy, environmental and transportation public policies, including matters related to alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Forman advocates for FCA's interests before Congress, federal agencies and other public and private stakeholder groups. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Fuels Institute. Forman also serves on the Board of Directors of Natural Gas Vehicles for America and the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Before joining FCA, Matt was a Senior Attorney at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Prior to that, he practiced environmental law in the Washington, D.C. and New York City offices of an international law firm. Forman graduated from Amherst College in 1998 with a degree in history. In 2001, he earned a JD, cum laude, from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Caley Johnson, Transportation Market Analyst | National Renewable Laboratory
Johnson assesses the economics of advanced fuel and transportation technologies in various applications, locations, and policy environments. He also monitors the adoption of these technologies into local economies through the Department of Energy's Clean Cities program. Johnson has also worked to reduce transportation petroleum consumption in developing countries through the Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) program and in island territories through the Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN) program. These projects included technologies and strategies as diverse as coconut biodiesel, electric bus rapid transit, efficiency-based vehicle registration taxes, strategic parking lots, drive-cycle matching, bus geotrackers, vehicle specifications for government purchases, and more. Prior to working for NREL, Caley was a project manager in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Protection Partnerships Division. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology from the University of Colorado and a master of environmental management degree from Yale University.

Paul Kaper, Sr. Marketing Manager, Encore | Gilbarco Veeder-Root North America
Kaper manages the Encore product line of retail petroleum and alternative fuels dispensing equipment for Gilbarco Veeder-Root. Having started Gilbarco in June 2008, Kaper has led development teams focused on new hydraulic and electronic platform technologies and has been directly involved in multiple new dispenser development initiatives to support various global markets. He has been involved in export market growth and has worked to develop sales and distribution channels to more effectively compete in primary global markets. In 2012 Kaper developed a program management office in the North America Service business, which directly supported all new product development efforts for Encore and Passport Point-of-Sale products. In 2014, he served as Integration Lead for the newly acquired ANGI Energy Systems business. In his current role, Kaper is focused on managing the Encore product and technology roadmap, ensuring industry support for EMV payment migration, and marketing of Encore across the widest range of traditional petroleum and alternative fuels.

Tom Kloza, Global Head of Energy Analysis | Oil Price Information Service
Kloza was among the founders of OPIS nearly 30 years ago. He is regularly cited for his no-nonsense, non-partisan comments on oil and gasoline by most of the major U.S. newspapers and has commented specifically on oil prices for major network news. He is also a frequent guest lecturer on fuel price economics at colleges and universities as well as for key petroleum associations. Kloza serves on the Turner Mason & Co. Advisory Board and the Fuels Institute Board of Advisors.

Kristi Moriarty, Senior Analyst | National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Moriarty has 12 years of experience evaluating, developing, and deploying bioenergy projects. She is the author of numerous studies and reports analyzing biomass resource, fuels, energy markets, economics, and policies for biofuels, biopower, and anaerobic digestion facilities. She has a master's degree in renewable energy systems technology engineering from Loughborough University, a graduate diploma in biomass energy from Universidad de Zaragoza, and a bachelor's degree in biology from Virginia Tech.

Caroline Quat, Manager Political Engagement | NACS
Quat runs and manages the operations of NACSPAC, raising contributions and managing the Friends of NACS membership program, in addition to other NACSPAC activities. Quat also manages social media communications and helps coordinate grassroots engagement such as the Government Relations Conference and NACS In Store.

Jay Ricker, Chairman | Ricker Oil Company
Ricker is the Chairman of Ricker Oil Company, operator of 56 Ricker’s, headquartered in Anderson, Indiana. Jay is currently the Chairman of the Fuels Institute as well as past Chairman of NACS. He has chaired the BP Marketers Association as well as the Indiana Petroleum and Convenience Association. A graduate of Purdue University, Jay worked for Shell Oil before founding his business with his wife, Nancy, in 1979. The two of them ran the company from their home as the companies only employees. They have two children, Quinn and Laine, who are both involved in the company and five grandchildren.

Hart Schwartz, Consultant | Clarify Consulting & Research
Hart Schwartz is a business consultant and policy researcher, who writes studies on disruptive trends in the transportation, energy, and fuels industries. He is based in Austin, Texas, where he runs his own consulting company, Clarify Consulting & Research. Hart earned an International MBA degree at University of Denver and formerly worked at Fuels Institute, NACS, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Patrica Strabbing, Senior Manager, Federal Legislative & Regulatory Policy of External Affairs | FCA US LLC
Strabbing has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. Ms. Strabbing helps shape public policy on a wide range of issues affecting FCA US and the automotive industry. These include, fuel economy, climate, energy, alternative fuels, advanced vehicle technologies, sustainability, and others. Currently, Ms. Strabbing sits on the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. As a result of her enduring advocacy in the environmental arena, Ms. Strabbing has been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Excellence Award and the FCA Environmental Leadership Award. Ms. Strabbing holds a B. S. degree in Microbiology and Public Health from Michigan State University and a M. S. degree in Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology from Wayne State University.

Norman Turiano, Principal | Turiano Strategic Consulting
Turiano has expertise that specializes in retail fuel pricing, the customer experience, future transportation fuels, among others. His expertise was developed over 32 years working with Wawa Inc., his later years spent heading fuel business development. After retiring in 2012, he began a consulting career advising on issues of strategy, organization, operations, and transformation technology. He has been engaged in the new Mexican market resulting from deregulation. In 2013 he accepted a board position with the Fuels Institute.

Donovan Woods, Director Operations | Fuels Institute
Woods works alongside the Fuels Institute Executive Director, John Eichberger, as the Director, Operations. He manages the day to day activities, communications, research initiatives, marketing and promotions, and ensures that the Institute is executed at a high level. Prior to this, he worked with NACS as Strategic Sales Initiatives Manager, working with Supplier members on the NACS Show. He joined the fuels team in 2014, bringing over 15 years of knowledge and connection experience in sales, marketing and relationship building to ensure members gain valuable benefits from both the Institute and NACS fuels initiatives.

To answer any questions, please contact Donovan Woods, Director, Fuels Institute.