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Gov. Herbert celebrates alternative fuels awareness, showcases clean vehicles

The Governor’s Office of Energy Development and other groups came together Monday at the Utah State Capitol to voice support for the state moving forward with development of cleaner forms of energy and celebrate Utah’s 11th Alternative Fuels Awareness month.

“It is important to diversify transportation fuels, build transportation infrastructure and a fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in order to reduce air pollution and improve air quality, and to save energy and preserve national resources,” reads Gov. Gary Herbert’s declaration.

Dr. Laura Nelson, executive director of the Office of Energy Development, presented a report examining how alternative fuel vehicles can “strengthen our state’s energy resilience and emergency planning through greater collaboration, education and adoption of alternative fuels.”

The proposals and advancements announced Monday are part of Utah’s Energy Action Plan to 2020, an effort by the governor’s office that, in part, aims to address the state’s poor air quality and inversion along the Wasatch Front.

In Utah and Salt Lake counties, air quality in the winter can reach “unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels on the Air Quality Index.

Several “green” vehicles were parked outside the capitol steps and showcased for the public, including a zero-emission natural gas-powered Ford Explorer designed by ReFuel Energy Partners, a New Flyer Industries all-electric transit bus, a duel-fuel service truck and a natural gas-powered Ace Recycling and Disposal dump truck.

In 2016, Utah ranked as the 8th highest state in electric car sales, with almost 1% of new car sales being of electric vehicles, according to a “Clean Energy Momentum” report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Utah Transit Authority executive director Carolyn Gonot said that the public transit company currently operates 54 electric-hybrid buses, three fully electric buses and 47 powered by natural gas. She added that UTA has reduced emissions from its bus fleet by more than three quarters since 2008.

“As UTA continues to incorporate clean technologies and people choose to ride transit, the air pollution savings per trip will only continue to increase,” Gonot said.

The Utah Clean Cities Coalition, a group that works with local leaders to reduce the use of petroleum in the transportation sector, announced that it would advance two United States Department of Energy clean vehicle projects, one that would transition Zion National Park shuttles from propane-powered to electricity-powered and another that would support electric vehicle markets throughout the rural Intermountain West.

The two initiatives are projected to generate over $3 million in revenue for the state over the next three years, according to a Utah Clean Cities Coalition press release.

Another way the state can achieve greater air quality is through providing consumers with sustainable fuel options. Nelson from the Office of Energy Development said that said there are currently 941 gas stations in the state that offer alternative fuels or electric charging stations.

Dr. David M. Christensen, executive director of Utah State University’s Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center, which partners with out-of-state colleges to research sustainable vehicle options, spoke about the center’s growth since its formation in 2016.

“What began as five university partners and a dozen faculty members (has expanded) to 13 core and affiliated university members with more than 40 researchers with globally recognized expertise across sectors in the electric transportation ecosystem,” Christensen said.

The accumulation of these initiatives will contribute to Utah’s “economic and environmental success,” Herbert said in his declaration.

Utah company InsideSales announces rebrand, new CEO

InsideSales announced a corporate rebrand to XANT Monday morning, as well as a new CEO and CMO, following months where several new executives have been hired.

Chris Harrington, who first joined InsideSales in October 2018, is now the CEO of the Provo-based software company, and Matt Langie is the new CMO. Langie and Harrington first met in 2008 when they both worked at Omniture. Langie spoke about the rebrand, citing an influential college professor who first told him that a brand is a promise.

“We have this amazing business. We have this amazing promise we could bring to customers,” Langie said. “Today is a new day to set and establish that promise.”

In his own remarks, Harrington discussed how the name “InsideSales” was simply too narrow and even misleading as to what the company truly does, and he wanted to make a change. There was brand recognition, but no awareness, Harrington said.

“XANT” is a play on the word “cognizant,” when Langie and Harrington both said they feel better reflects how XANT’s data, platform and sales engagement solutions enable sales organizations to become “hyper-aware” and “all-knowing.”

“XANT is changing how B2B enterprises buy and sell to each other, and our former brand did not capture that,” said Chris Harrington, CEO of XANT. “No group has benefited more from the continued proliferation of data and digital access than buyers ... XANT will do for sales what Waze did for navigation by using collective user experiences to improve sales interactions. We will continue to build on the company’s unparalleled data insights that help reps build closable pipeline and engage customers in ways that AI and CRM alone cannot.”

The new tagline for XANT is “pioneering the future of growth.”

“We’re charting a new course for this business,” Langie said.

Other new executives that have come on board in the past few months include John Markovich, CFO; Howard Bai, CLO; Dave Boyce, CSO; Ryan Allphin, CTO; and Steve Dixon, CCO. In his remarks Monday morning, Harrington admitted that the shift over the past few months has been difficult, with a lot of “parting of ways.”

“While this has been incredibly painful for the people who couldn’t make the journey with us ... remember this day, because it will be meaningful,” Harrington said.

In addition to the rebrand, XANT is expanding its recently introduced Revenue Acceleration Cloud offering to marketing and account management teams in addition to sales. The Revenue Acceleration Cloud enables teams to build closable pipeline and expand customer revenue more effectively, the press release states, and helps teams improve productivity, visibility and effectiveness.

Notable brands currently using XANT to increase revenue include Caesars Entertainment, VMWare, Groupon, John Hancock Investment Management, Pluralsight, Fidelity Investments, Experian, West Corp., and Ten-X.

The life of a Utah County ballot — where does your ballot go after you mail it?

So you mailed in your ballot for Tuesday’s municipal election. What happens next?

Ballots submitted by mail in Utah County go through a multi-step verification process before final results are tallied, according to election director Rozan Mitchell. The life of a ballot submitted by mail or dropped off at a voter service center looks something like this:

Pick-up: Two Utah County Elections Division employees pick up ballots from the post office, city recorder offices, drop boxes and voter service centers. The ballots are then brought to the elections office in the Utah County Administration Building for processing.

Scanning: Once envelopes are brought back to the elections office, they are sent through an automated ballot sorting system that speeds up the counting process. These sorting machines can process up to 18,000 ballots in an hour and sort ballots into different bins. Employees feed in stacks of ballots and the machine does the rest.

Signature verification: The processing machines automatically verify ballot signatures by comparing them to signatures that the state has on file. After this, the envelopes are scanned a second time and ballots with signature issues are sorted out from the rest. Employees will call and email voters within 24 hours if their ballot is unsigned or the signature doesn’t match.

Tabulation: After signatures have been verified, the envelopes are sliced open and the ballots are removed. The ballots are then weighed and scanned in batches of 200. A report is printed out and boxed with the ballots, which are then sealed.

Final check and storage: If a ballot has questionable or illegible marks, the marks are compared to a digital image of the ballot and corrections are made as necessary. Damaged ballots are subtracted from scanned batches and a team of two will re-make, re-mark and log the ballot. Finally, ballots are transferred to storage.

And that’s the process for counting your vote.

If you haven’t mailed your ballot by Tuesday, drop it off at one of the county’s drop boxes or at a voting center. Sign your ballot affidavit to ensure your ballot is counted. For a list of drop box and voting center locations, visit utahcounty.gov/elections. For elections results in Utah County, make sure to visit http://heraldextra.com/election after 8 p.m. Tuesday and thereafter.