Building a Rapport

Much of the work I have done at Clean Fuels Ohio has been related to outreach — emailing and calling current and potential stakeholders trying to sell them on our signature program, Ohio Green Fleets. This process began in tedious fashion by cold-calling dozens of potential Green Fleet members, with not much response to show for my efforts. It’s understandable, really, considering that these people have heard from various employees at Clean Fuels Ohio in the past. I’m a fresh face and a new name and a cold-call to city officials and business owners from “Matt Shomo the new Program Assistant” doesn’t carry too much weight. However, as the 40 days and 40 nights of rain here in Columbus has cleared, so too has my bad luck.

Recently, the mass emails and cold-calls are resulting in tremendous feedback for our program. I am beginning to build my own network of stakeholders and it feels like all the work is finally paying off. Initially, I would simply send out invitations and information with little hope of garnering much response. But now, people interested in Ohio Green Fleets and Clean Fuels Ohio are using me as a contact and I am helping to facilitate new fleets into the Green Fleets program. I knew that patience would be essential for this project simply because the culminating event for Ohio Green Fleets doesn’t take place until late September. But now it seems that as the calendars turn towards the second half of summer, we are starting to appear on more people’s radars.

If there’s a life lesson to be learned through this experience, it’s the age-old adage that good things come to those who wait. In full disclosure, it was becoming extremely frustrating to spend hours trying to connect with people with nothing to show for it. But now that the Ohio Green Fleets program is picking up speed (pun, unintended) so is the quality of my interactions with the people involved. Here’s to many more emails and phone calls — hopefully this positive trend continues!

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