Meet our November 2016 Educator – John FralaBy Jessica Morgan November 3, 2016 no responses
Name: John Frala
Role: Alternative Fuels Program Instructor
School: Rio Hondo College
Location: Whittier, California
Tell us about yourself and how you got started in education
I am a professor at Rio Hondo College and have been managing our alternative fuels program since 1998. I am a “gear head” at heart and I have 47 years’ experience in alternative fuels beginning with electronic propulsion. I currently coordinate the Alternative Fuels Technology Program at the college which consist of 2 degrees: Advanced Alternative Fuels Technology and Electric Vehicle/ Fuel Cell Technology Technician.
What is the Alternative Fuels program that you have created at Rio Hondo and what do you hope to achieve with this program?
Currently I have the only Associate of Science degree in the U.S. for Electric Vehicle/ Fuel Cell Technology Technicians and the only Active Associates of Science degree in Advanced Alternative Fuels Technology in California. My program is looked at as the cutting edge or premier program by many other programs in the U.S. This year building the Zero Emission Institute of Technology (ZEIT) at the college, we plan on having a large electronic and battery focus. Our goal is to expand the information technology to all community colleges who desire this curriculum for the programs. I have a NSF/ATE grant #1501735 which is allowing me to post the technology nationwide.
What kinds of opportunities are your student getting through this program?
The program is suppling technicians to many of the fleets in Southern California like LADWP, LA METRO, City of Whittier, City of Anaheim, TESLA, American Honda, Toyota, Faradays Future, Cal Trans, many of the independent shops associated with the Automotive Service Council of California Association and soon PROTERRA.
Why do you think there haven’t been more programs similar to yours throughout the country or even California?
I have built the premier program over the past 23 years at Rio Hondo Community College. The program has the support of the Board of trustees and my campus administration, which is key to continual expansion and adding technology to the coursework. I feel many campus programs lack this support and therefore cannot keep up with technology. I am currently the Committee Chair in California for the Course Identification Numbering System (C-ID, Alternative Fuels and Automotive Technology) that is making a common numbering for course transferring. This will allow students to move their units from college to college with a common numbering system, and give programs a common curriculum.
How have you incorporated Horizon products in this program?
I have been using Horizon products for the last 10 years incorporating the fuel cell vehicles in our summer camps for 10-13 year old students. As I have advanced into the Fuel Cell Technology I am now using the FCAT vehicle in my demonstrations. This week alone I demonstrated this vehicle at a NSF PI event where 800+ educators attended. I have also shown the vehicle on Cable TV and high school events.
Accolades & Grants:
2004 – State of California Community Colleges: Outstanding Education Program
2011 – California Community Colleges: Outstanding Green Instructor
2014 – California Automotive Teachers Association: Outstanding Instructor
2016 – SCAQMD Clean Air Educator for both Program and Instructor
2000 – ATTE $250,000.
2004 – IDRC, Transit bus Electronics, $240,000
2004 – IDRC, Allison Transmission, $200,000
2005 – IDRC Electric vehicle, $200,000
2006 – IDRC Electric Vehicle, $241,000
2008 – IDRC Heavy Equipment, $240,000
2010 – CEC Electric Vehicle Equipment, $210,000
2010 – Clean Cities DOE, First responder training, $110,000
2011 – Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technologies Program Phase II SFP, $245,000
2014 – California Energy Grant, $200,000
2015 – NSF/ATE electric Vehicle/Fuel Cell, $200,000
2016 – IDRC Electric vehicle curriculum, $19,000
2016 – ATRE Energy Grant, $192,000
2016 – ATMAE accreditation