Helping the VA go EV

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has set an ambitious target of rolling out a ground transportation fleet with zero-emission powertrains over roughly the next decade.

In support of the effort, the engineering joint venture of Citrine and Olsson will help the General Services Administration plan for the electric vehicle transition at 29 VA Medical Centers throughout the central U.S. The project will create a comprehensive electric vehicle supply equipment feasibility study by 2027.

“Electrifying a fleet is not simply a matter of trading in internal combustion cars and trucks for new electric vehicles (EV),” said Shannon Rasmussen, chief operating officer for Citrine. “It requires strategic planning, engineering, and the design of new infrastructure for EV supply equipment. It’s a challenging task, but one Citrine and our colleagues at Olsson readily embrace.”

A Beneficial Partnership

The EV readiness planning represents a recent example of the work being accomplished by the Citrine-Olsson mentor-protégé joint venture, a formal arrangement that pairs smaller and larger engineering firms to gain capacity and compete for federal contracts. The firms obtained federal approval of the mentor-protégé joint venture in late 2021.

Citrine, based in Lakewood, Colorado, delivers professional engineering services to the government and commercial sectors as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) and small disadvantaged business (SDB) with historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone) certification. Olsson is an engineering firm made up of people who craft expert solutions and designs that improve communities. Through the joint venture, the firms pursue procurement opportunities in 48 states.

“As the mentor firm, we provide the technical assistance and administrative capacity to supplement Citrine’s capabilities,” said Mark Himes, Federal market leader for Olsson. “As the protégé firm, Citrine provides specialized technical skills and the ability to access projects critical to the nation’s interests. It’s an effective and mutually beneficial partnership.”

Both firms have recently added key leaders with military backgrounds.

As part of a strategic restructuring, Citrine named Liz Poe as its new chief executive officer. Liz is a U.S. Army veteran who formerly held roles in the federal sector, including the U.S. Department of Energy. Himes, former Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District, joined Olsson in October.

An EV Roadmap

A rapid transition to clean energy is key to President Joe Biden’s goal of cutting the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The transportation sector represents the largest source of carbon dioxide in the U.S., where cars and trucks account for about 83 percent of the sector’s emissions. With more than 650,000 vehicles, the U.S. deploys the largest ground transportation fleet in the world. The president has also signed an executive order to require all federal agencies to acquire only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

Olsson and Citrine will provide master planning, design, civil engineering, electrical engineering, site design, and transportation planning across 29 medical centers in seven states. The firms will complete a comprehensive analysis, evaluation, and report for the installation of EV supply equipment at each medical center.

The project includes evaluating existing electric utility supply capacity, including solar power. The report will make recommendations on phasing, preliminary scopes of work, budgetary estimates, and life cycle cost analysis for converting the light-duty vehicle fleet to 100 percent electric at each medical center campus.

Because when a target is ambitious, the plan to reach it needs to be thorough.

Todd Henry
Senior Project Manager
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