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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
Local Businesses Win Awards as Best Workplaces for Commuters
March 29, 2012 - Six Smart Trips participating employers have earned the designation as Best Workplaces for Commuters by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The local businesses are Elizabeth Eason Architecture, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Mast General Store, Metropolitan Planning Commission, Red Chair Architects, and Tennessee Valley Authority. These six businesses join the one other employer in the state to earn this designation.
Click here for a larger photo
Left to Right: Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; Alisa Ashouri - Smart Trips Coordinator; Elizabeth Eason - Elizabeth Eason Architecture; Mike Brennan - Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; Jim Richards - Mast General Store; Mark Donaldson - MPC; Don Shell - Red Chair Architects; Dana Vaughn - TVA; Julie Bond - National Center for Transit Research; Kelley Segars - Principal Planner TPO; Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero; Sara Martin - Smart Trips Outreach Coordinator
Smart Trips, which locally promotes alternatives to driving alone to work, hosted an awards ceremony at the Market Square Pavilion on March 29. Officials from the National Center for Transportation Research, Mayors Rogero and Burchett, local business owners and sustainability leaders helped celebrate this achievement.

Best Workplaces for Commuters recognizes businesses that provide the highest level of commuter benefit programs in the country. These six Knoxville businesses made the conscious decision to offer strong benefits and identify themselves as companies committed to reducing pollution, commuting costs, traffic congestion, and employee stress caused by driving to work alone.

Jim Richards, manager of Mast General Store, believes this program directly impacts his business. "Our employees have embraced the benefit options. It is easy to offer these benefits and we are already seeing a reduced parking expense," says Richards. "Our folks feel empowered. Anytime we can support positive employee attitudes, our customers will feel the result."

"We are so thrilled to promote the BWC designation in Knoxville," says Alisa Ashouri, Smart Trips Coordinator. "We have relationships with dozens of companies in the region. It was clear our partners were ready for a bigger challenge. A national award like this demonstrates that local businesses are raising their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility."

Best Workplaces for Commuters www.bestworkplaces.org is a public-private partnership developed by the EPA and DOT and establishes a voluntary National Standard of Excellence for commuter benefits. The criteria include offering items like transit passes, an emergency ride home for special circumstances, carpooling benefits and a certain percent of employees participating. Specific details on the standards can be found at http://www.bestworkplaces.org/about1/standard-of-excellence.

Smart Trips www.knoxsmarttrips.org is a regional organization that promotes alternatives to driving alone and helps commuters find carpool partners, bike and transit buddies, save money on gas and help the environment. The organization plans to annually celebrate the BWC awards and honor the region's highest achieving business partners for commuter benefits.
For Immediate Release
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