Smart Trips Announces 2012 Commuter Challenge Winners
Smart Trips announced the winners of its 2012 Commuter Challenge at an award ceremony held September 6 at the new Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center. More than 50 people attended the event where 14 group awards and 15 individual prizes were handed out.
Scripps Networks Interactive won the top prize—a $500 contribution to the charity of its choice—by accumulating the most points based on employee participation in Smart Trips. Scripps chose Friends of the Smokies, www.friendsofthesmokies.org, as its recipient, citing the importance of the group’s mission to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Commuter Challenge has been an annual Smart Trips event since 2004. This year, employers’ scores were determined based on points earned in three ways: when their employees join the program; when they take alternative commutes like bicycling, carpooling, taking transit, walking to work or working from home; and when they log those commutes on the Smart Trips website. The overall winner is determined based on an average of all points earned.
Other groups recognized at this year’s ceremony were The University of Tennessee Medical Center and The Tomato Head. UTMC won the Green Spirit Award, an honor given to the company which showed the most enthusiastic participation during the Challenge.
"Our wellness committee supports and promotes Smart Trips because it helps us find more ways to incorporate wellness into our employees' lives," says Shannon Reynolds, who manages network development for UTMC.
The Tomato Head was named Most Improved Employer in the Challenge for taking its participation rate from 1 percent to 15.5 percent, thanks to a combination of employee incentives and a $500 donation offered to the charity of its employees’ choice if they met participation goals.
Knox Rockers, a group of friends who won the People’s Choice award in this summer’s Window Display Contest, received their award during the ceremony. Reruns was the winner of the Professionals’ Pick in the window contest, and Bliss and Mast General Store were runners up.
Individual prizes—provided by AAA Travel of East Tennessee, Smart Trips, Mast General Store and Café 4—were awarded by a random drawing of all participants who logged at least one alternative commute per week during the 8 week long Challenge. Winners of those prizes were: Melissa Brenneman, Knox County Library; Valarie Lewis, Elavon; Peggy Province, Knox County; Rick McNutt, Bechtel; Wade Littleton, KUB; Karen Wilkerson, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; Peter Krawczel, UT; Pam Summers, Y12; Jona Shehu, McCarty Holsaple McCarty; Jason Kincl, ORNL, and Summer Mattman, Y12, who took home the grand prize of a $1,500 vacation package from AAA of East Tennessee..
Of course the big winner of the Commuter Challenge is East Tennessee’s natural environment. Smart Trips staff estimates that participants kept 250,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of the environment by taking alternative commutes in June and July.
Smart Trips, a federally-funded program housed within MPC, promotes alternatives to driving alone. For more information on the program, visit www.knoxsmarttrips.org.
Posted 9-7-2012, written by Alisa Ashouri and Sarah Powell