After eight years and working with Roush CleanTech since day one, Todd Mouw was promoted to president of the alternative-fuel vehicle technology company. But, before his career with Roush, Mouw owned a small sales and marketing company that opened the door for where he stands today.
“Roush was my client for eight years,” Mouw recalled. “Working with them in that manner allowed me to really understand the company’s culture of excellence, competition, and innovation. I knew it was a place I needed to be. Growing up in Detroit as a fan of cars, being able to work for Jack Roush and help play a very small part in his legacy — that was an opportunity I could not pass up.”
Work Truck sat down with Mouw, former president of the NTEA Green Truck Association, to talk about his history with the company as well as his vision for the future.
WT: As someone who has been with the company since its inception, please share a little about the history of Roush CleanTech.
Mouw: It has been a great ride. We incubated the technology within a sister division, Roush Performance, for the first 24 months and then launched the company in 2010 with six employees. It is a testament to our owners and their mantra, “It is a marathon and not a sprint.” They believed in our mission while we built a foundation that could foster significant growth. As we fast-forward to today, we have more than 1,200 customers in all 50 states and all Canadian provinces with more than 19,000 units on the road — supported by 90 of the best employees in the business. The most exciting part is the best is yet to come!
WT: As president, what are your responsibilities at Roush CleanTech now?
Mouw: My number one responsibility is to keep the team focused on the needs of our customer. We do a great job ensuring our customers and partners have the tools they need to achieve the desired results. Those relationships also help us understand future needs and trends, which drive continued innovation in the products we bring to the market.
The second and equally important piece is our employees. It is a diverse, happy, and talented group. My goal is to keep them challenged and thinking outside the box, which will ultimately be the biggest driver of our long-term customer satisfaction.
WT: How are you working to position the company for future growth?
Mouw: We need to continue to leverage the core foundation of what we have built to offer the best products and a premium customer experience. Because this foundation (the people, process, and technology) is so robust, we can focus on new ideas to supercharge our growth. That may be alternative energy propulsion technology or other services for existing products that will drive new customer adoption and revenue growth.
WT: Can you discuss current goals the company has in the fleet marketplace?
Mouw: We want to continue to be the “solution provider” to both the school bus and the commercial fleet markets. Today, that manifests itself in propane autogas and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel systems. But by leveraging the capability of our parent company, Roush Enterprises, we believe our customers will see us as a “one-stop shop” for helping make their operations more efficient, environmentally friendly, and safe.
WT: Will there be a change in strategy or direction with you at the helm?
Mouw: I believe in the adage, “don’t fix what is not broken.” That being said, we will need to continue to evolve and provide solutions that drive results for our customers. We will continue to invest in our core business, which is primarily propane autogas and also CNG for school bus applications. And, we will be opportunistic as we listen to our customers and the market needs that mesh with our culture and company skill set.
WT: What do you currently see as the top trends in the light-duty fleet market related to propane autogas?
Mouw: We started our journey on the light-duty side with the Ford F-150. After three years we began to recognize that the bigger pain point for our customers was diesel and primarily the Class 4-7 market. This is where our customers spent the most money on fuel and maintenance. By listening to our customers, we shifted gears to focus our propane autogas technology in Class 4-7. I think that shift has been validated by the significant growth we have enjoyed.
WT: What do you currently see as the top trends in the medium-duty fleet market related to propane autogas?
Mouw: The major trend we see and hear every day is the desired shift away from diesel engines for low speed, start-stop, and duty cycles. It is costing our customers a lot of money to maintain the diesel technology and they want a simpler solution, such as propane autogas, that will drive significant cost savings back into their business or school district.
We also have such a huge surplus of propane in this country that the gap in fuel price between propane and diesel is an appealing benefit when coupled with a simpler engine technology.
WT: What do you currently see as the top challenges fleets are facing related to propane autogas?
Mouw: I think the toughest challenge is human nature because change is not easy. Most of the heavy lifting has been done: the technology, the training, the fueling infrastructure, the safety aspect, etc., were all worry beads seven or eight years ago.
As new fleets ask those questions, we can point them to a huge evidence manual of 1,200-plus fleets running hundreds of millions of miles with our technology. Seeing and hearing from their peers helps alleviate the unknown. That being said, we have a team that is here for them from start to finish.
Whether we are helping them develop a total cost of ownership calculator to present to their board, training their drivers and technicians, or reviewing assets at the end of their useful life, our team is committed to our customers’ success at each stage of the product lifecycle.
WT: What excites you the most about the future of Roush CleanTech and propane autogas use in fleets?
Mouw: To see the difference it makes for fleets. To be a part of a solution that helps companies and school districts save millions of dollars, which allows that money to be reinvested in new products, jobs, curriculum, etc., is something that drives our organization. Couple that with the emissions benefits and leveraging a domestic energy source — it’s a true home run for all involved.
There is a reason propane autogas is the third most common engine fuel in the world. After a lot of investment and hard work, our country is clearly seeing why. The sustainability benefits — both economic and environmental — are too hard to pass up.