Iwatani enters US market with purchase of four hydrogen refueling stations
Iwatani Corporation of America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese energy giant Iwatani, has acquired four hydrogen refueling stations located in California. The purchase marks Iwatani’s entrance into the US refueling station market. The firm already operates 26 hydrogen-refueling stations in Japan, as well as industrial customers via three liquid and ten gaseous hydrogen production plants throughout the country.
The stations, located in West Sacramento, Mountain View, San Ramon and San Juan Capistrano, were previously owned by Messer and operate as Open Retail Stations providing hydrogen fuel to consumers in support of rapidly growing demand for zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles.
According to GreenCarReports, there were 33 hydrogen refueling stations in the state of California in 2018, serving approximately 4,200 fuel cell cars. This number of vehicles is expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, as the effective range of hydrogen cell-powered vehicles increases beyond 300km as standard.
Japanese automakers are at the head of the hydrogen fuel cell car revolution in the US, with Toyota selling more than 5,000 units of its flagship fuel cell car, the Mirai, since its launch in 2015. Hydrogen fuel cells are already an established fuel source in the commercial sector, being commonly used to power forklift trucks and other industrial equipment.
Many industry leaders believe the technology could soon rival gasoline and batteries as a power source, although Elon Musk has described the technology as “mind-bogglingly stupid”.
Mineharu Okamoto, president of Iwatani Corporation of America, commented: "The four California stations are the first of a series of stations intended by Iwatani for deployment in the western part of the United States. Iwatani is committed to continuously improving the customers' experience and a number of upgrades are planned for the acquired stations. Our multi-year development program is aligned with plans by automakers and the state of California to extend the hydrogen supply chain infrastructure and make fuel cell electric vehicles available to consumers in the expanding U.S. market."
Mr. Okamoto continued, "California is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, specifically from on-road motor vehicles, and has demonstrated significant support for the creation of a hydrogen infrastructure which is what attracted Iwatani to invest in California as well as establishing its new Branch Office in Santa Clara. Several state agencies, including the California Energy Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the South Coast Area Quality Management District, have provided important and much appreciated grant funding towards the development of these stations as well as funding that in part offsets on-going maintenance expenses."
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.