Episode 149 - Improved EV Charging Meets a More Equitable Workforce

Planning a road trip in your EV? You may be worried about charging station reliability. But one company is boosting EV charging uptime, improving consumer confidence, and advancing economic mobility.

ChargerHelp! is a technology company committed to preparing workers from all backgrounds to diagnose and repair the wide range of unique EV charging technologies on the market today through their scalable safety and training curriculum. The company recently partnered with SAE to develop standards around an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) technician certification program that helps underutilized, high-performing professionals overcome the skills gap. This partnership was highlighted in a recent briefing from the White House on new standards and progress for a made-in-America national network of EV chargers.

We sat down with founders Kameale C. Terry, Chief Executive Officer, and Evette Ellis, Chief Workforce Officer, and Frank Menchaca, President, SAE Sustainable Mobility Solutions, to learn how ChargerHelp! is bridging the gap between technology, policy, and workforce development to support mass EV adoption and arm individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the new green economy.

Meet Our Guests

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, ChargerHelp!

With over a decade of experience in CleanTech, Kameale formed ChargerHelp! with her co-founder, Evette Ellis, to create a reliable Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure. Her past experience includes working at EV Connect as the Director of Programs, where she structured and guided teams to execute EV infrastructure projects in the United States, Australia, and Canada. She now uses her expertise to create an equitable green economy through impactful development and realignment of existing workforces in conjunction with clean technology at ChargerHelp!.

Co-Founder & Chief Workforce Officer, ChargerHelp!

As the co-founder and Chief Workforce Officer at ChargerHelp!, Evette Ellis has a proven track record of being a performance-driven leader in workforce development and a tech entrepreneur for over 15 years. Her past experience has allowed her to become an impactful, thought-provoking, and candid industry expert with a focus on technology, innovation, and equitable workforce development. She now uses her business savvy and entrepreneurial mindset in her own business, ChargerHelp! – a national EVSE dedicated operations and maintenance service provider.

President, Sustainable Mobility Solutions, SAE International

Frank Menchaca is President, Sustainable Mobility Solutions at SAE International, the oldest and largest technical organization for engineering in ground and air transportation. Frank incubated and developed SAE's work in sustainability and has also led the organization's product development, marketing, information publishing, professional learning, events and international business. Frank has a deep background in information products and served as Executive Vice President at Cengage Learning. Frank holds degrees from New York University and Yale University and is a candidate in the Chief Sustainability Officer certification program at MIT. A musician and artist, Frank has released ten records of original music under his own name and in the duo Hourloupe; his visual art practice includes painting and digital media.


Grayson Brulte:

Hello, I'm your host, Grayson Brulte. Welcome to another episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, a show about emerging technology and trends in mobility with leaders and innovators who make it all happen. On today's episode, we're absolutely honored to be joined by Kameale Terry and Evette Ellis, co-founders of ChargerHelp!, and Frank Menchaca, President of SAE Sustainable Mobility Solutions.

On this episode, we'll discuss ChargerHelp!'s partnership with SAE and the importance of having a certified trained workforce to build a safe and sustainable EV infrastructure. We hope you enjoy this episode. Welcome to the podcast. 

Frank Menchaca:

Thanks, Grayson. Great to be here. 

Grayson Brulte:

It's wonderful to have you here because ChargerHelp! is solving a major problem with charger reliability. Consumers are worried about if they go to a charger, is it gonna be up and operating and charging reliability as the future. So I can't wait to dive into this conversation as we kick it off Evette. I mentioned the anxiety that consumers face, but what did you see in the market that led you to co-founding ChargerHelp!?

Evette Ellis:

Let's be clear. I didn't see anything initially. Kameale saw it. So I'll let her tell you what she found, but, and then I'll go into why I decided to co-found. Tried to help with her. So Kameale what did you see? And then I'll jump in. 

Kameale Terry:

Totally fair. Yeah. I used to work for a software company that made software for EV charging stations. And what I was seeing in the market was two things. One was that keeping stations working was a lot harder than folks thought. And then two, the workforce that we had at that time period, which was typically, electricians weren't necessarily the best workforce for the issues that we were seeing out in the field.

And so that's why, I thought about creating ChargerHelp! is to figure out how do get these stations working and going. And then two, was there an opportunity to create a new workforce of the future before the future? 

Evette Ellis:

Yeah, and I'll say, after Kameale had this brilliant idea and we chatted about what co-foundership would be for ChargerHelp!, initially, I thought it was brilliant, but I didn't quite see where I fit in because my entire career history has been workforce development. She's duh that's the missing piece. So what I do know how to do is help folks get a job, figure out their skillset, transition, folks, retention, all that jazz is what I know how to do, and that's exactly what she was looking for.

We just really looked at the division of labor and how much of technology policy and workforce development would come into the fold. And, you when I saw a fit, a good market fit for me. I decided to team up with Kameale. One of the best decisions ever. 

Kameale Terry:

You said best decision ever?

Evette Ellis:

Yes. I said one of the best decisions.

Kameale Terry:

She has a new baby, so I've been deescalating in the ranking of best decisions.

Grayson Brulte:

It's absolutely wonderful and congratulations on the new baby. Evette, from the workforce development standpoint, are you getting applicants to code the program that are very excited to this, that, that see the future? Or are you having to community outreach to describe the benefits of what your program offers?

Evette Ellis:

It's a mixed shift too, depending on what part of the workforce development ecosystem you're working with. But I will say, just right off the bat, people hear about ChargerHelp!. They're excited, they definitely see ChargerHelp! as an opportunity for them to get in on the new green economy and be a part of a sustainable solution.

I think folks, especially in what people call priority or underserved communities are much more knowledgeable, much more excited than people actually think. So it has not been a hard ask are. A hard thing to attract people. When we first initially went out to recruit our initial technicians, we were recruiting for 20 positions and we got over 1600 applicants

And so no, no shortage of people wanting to be involved. I do think when you work with workforce development programs, centers, agencies, organizations, I do ou have to make sure that I call 'em the gatekeepers who are the workforce development specialists and experts, that they understand the opportunity, they understand the industry and what's happening, because then they can properly convey the information to the folks who are seeking new skills job more earning.

So I think with programs it's making sure that the folks that are actually boots on the ground working with folks get it.

Grayson Brulte:

There's clearly demand 1600 applications for 20 spots. That's impressive. You're doing one heck of a job and you're validating the market demand there. And what Kameale did with her hypothesis is she validated the market demand.

There wasn't the workforce. It was clearly there, and the charger uptime was an issue there. Frank, I'm gonna say your boots on the ground, you understand the whole sustainable economy. You have a really good understanding of EVs. How would you describe the current state of the out-of-home ev charging market?

Is it getting better? Is is uptime reliability increasing or what are your general thoughts on the market Frank?

Frank Menchaca:

Yeah, the EV home market or the EV charging home market, I think is obviously expanding. However you know what, it's interesting that you bring it up because I was just talking to someone today who is from a major OEM who said we had to go out and actually contract with a company that could put the home unit in.

People are going in to buy electric vehicles, but there's not really a reliable sort of home installation market. Do I call my electrician? Well, What if you live in a place where your electrician doesn't have that skillset or that experience? So I think the EV home market is is maybe all over the place.

And then for people who live in multi-unit, dwellings. That is that's a complicated issue. If you're in an apartment building with 20 apartments and two chargers that's a, that's an issue. So the public charging that ChargerHelp! helps to support and expand, is super important for building customer acceptance of EVs and customer confidence. And without customer acceptance and customer confidence the net zero emission promise of EVs really isn't going to be, isn't gonna be fulfilled because people will be reluctant or slow to to take them up and they're going, it's, the business is going to become challenging for OEMs and supplier.

So I see the reliability question really as the pivot around which the entire industry is gonna turn for a good long time until we get to a point where the charging infrastructure is really robust and we have public confidence in charging and we have a really well defined program for maintenance of those chargers. And that's where ChargerHelp! is I think an early pioneer in all of this. 

Grayson Brulte:

You hit the nail on the head, Frank. I it started with range anxiety. Remember? Oh, the vehicle only goes a hundred miles, 200 miles, and then the Lucid Air went 400 and now there's various other vehicles, Teslas, Mercedes, are going 400 miles. So the range anxiety debate to me has been settled. But now we have charging anxiety. If you're on your, with your family and you're going on a road trip, and I talked about this one on a previous podcast from miles in South Florida to Disney World you pray that the c hargers work cuz it creates anxiety and you get to Disney World and you're stressed out.

Is this where ChargerHelp! comes in, Frank, they can help overcome that anxiety. So let's say Acme charging has a contract with ChargerHelp!, they can come in and then the customers, oh, this is great. I'm not gonna have to worry. Is that how we relieve that anxiety? 

Frank Menchaca:

I think that's an important part of it. I think ChargerHelp! is helping to build by creating a workforce of field technicians that are able to diagnose and service these charging stations. ChargerHelp! is helping to, helping to raise the level of reliability and therefore raise consumer confidence. The other really important role that needs to be recognized is that ChargerHelp! by having a programmatic approach to these diagnostics is a valuable source of information for how to improve not only the user experience, but actually the engineering. tremendous amount of information gets exchanged in these charging sessions and that information is valuable to the consumer. It's valuable to the vehicle manufacturer.

It's valuable to the charging provider, and I think the field technician is someone who is the first point of contact for those diagnostics. And if we do a good job at capturing that information that's a, that, that's information that does good to the entire ecosystem. So it's not just, customer confidence or alleviating range anxiety or charging anxiety. It's also helping to build a better vehicle. 

Grayson Brulte:

Kameale, in my opinion, that's where ChargerHelp! Comes in. You have the field technicians, they're out there looking at a variety of chargers. In your opinion, what can be done to increase the uptime at public EV charger stations? They have to potentially, if there's one that's in salty environment, they have to be hardened for the elements. Have you seen any trends that have that emerged that can help the uptime reliability? 

Kameale Terry:

Yeah, it's so interesting. So many of I think the pro, so we, there's two sets of problems, right? You have low hanging fruit problems for just the connector being cut, some of the physical things. But I think there is a higher, problem that I think will grow exponentially as we have more connected devices.

And it, it really comes back down to how do we understand software interoperability? How do we think about data sharing? . And then also h how do we bring forth, error codes in order for us to make actionable steps? And most importantly, how do you identify which component actually has the issue?

And that's one of the reasons I've, have hats off to SAE cuz they've done a tremendous role just in identifying this. Sometimes of standardization around just error codes. Like how crazy is that, right? Like you have a machine that is admitted an error code that like folks get it and they're like I don't know what to do.

So I think one is definitely okay. How are we thinking about collaboration around data sharing? I definitely think the second piece is also collaboration around training. Every machine that comes out has a different way on how folks want it to be trained. So how are we thinking about, con continuing the collaboration post what we're doing right now with SAE.

When the new versions of hardware comes out. And then how do we track that and ensure that people are safely interacting with these machines, right? What is the standardization? And then the final point, which I don't think we talk too much about is where is the responsibility of site hosts? In this whole ecosystem, right? You have businesses, small business, multi-unit dwellings, you know all of these folks who have gotten charging infrastructure for free. But if I need a go on site to maybe do something for a campaign, and you're not answering the phone or you haven't updated who the right point of contact is, but your charging station is there for the public good, where does that responsibility lie there?

And I think oftentimes a society is very easy to call out certain crews as the people that are performing poorly. And I think, network providers have taken the brunt of that. But I think that this problem is a little bit more complex. And I think in order to have high up times, we have to get into the complexity, which isn't fun.

And it's messy and it's annoying, but I don't believe that we'll get anywhere else unless we start having these deeper conversations, which I'll say with last thing I'll say is, The reason why we sit so heavily on data and tracking as a field service organization is because now we can bring to light these conversations through quantitative and I can point to and say Hey, I tried to do X and my barrier was because I didn't even know who to call at the location, and that's why the station has been broken like we're able to track those things.

Grayson Brulte:

Site host responsibility. Thank you for bringing that up. That is an issue cuz if it's at a multi-family dwelling and if it's a corporation that owns several apartment buildings and nobody picks the phone up. How do you fix it? It hurts. It hurts the environment and it hurts the individuals that live in that multi-family.

How do you see that responsibility changing? Is there some, through the inflation reduction act, are there certain standards that put in there saying, if you're gonna put a charger for the public good, you have to meet X amount of uptime. Do you see something like that to try and stop this? 

Kameale Terry:

Yes. I, with the 97% uptime guideline, I think that is a way I believe as an industry we've been trying to force an uptime metric that just identifies what network providers are doing well. But I think we have to take a further step back and say, what is the uptime metric for the driver experience? And who are the responsible parties for each of these places? And I worry that my industry, at this industry that we're we're not being seen as like the bad corporates. Instead of looking at this from a more holistic space and to say sometimes it isn't your fault as a network provider, it's literally because Joe at X Property won't answer the phone, so you can block off the parking to do the upgrade on the station it wasn't your fault, so I do think that we need to have a better uptime that has multiple responsible parties and not have this narrow view that's only aligned with network providers. 

Grayson Brulte:

Evette, from a workforce development with your field technicians, how do you train them for these very scenarios since, as Kameale said, the chargers change the hardware upgrades, the environments that your field technicians are gonna work. They could be in an open parking lot working on a charger. They could be in a multi-family dwelling there, or they could be in a controlled access area. How do you prepare your technicians from workforce development for all the different scenarios that they're gonna run into as they work to keep the chargers up and running?

Evette Ellis:

Yeah, we're very transparent and open company, so we talk about what the challenges are in real time. First of all, we don't know everything and as they come, we handle 'em. We are really starting to practice this brainstorming, this idea that it's not one person with all the answers.

So with that, when we come into challenges for elements, we use our field service manager, we use our safety and compliance person, we use our logistics person, our head of ops, we even use products, right? Like how does it all work together to, really assist the technician that's in the field.

But I will say how we've done it so far, eventually everybody will know everything, but right now our Arizona tech is in 109 degree weather, right? So we don't need to call everybody. We really need to focus on this AZ person. Our Pacific Northwestern people have been in rain for a month, right?

And my New York tech is in snow. So we troubleshoot by region and we troubleshoot by what exactly we're dealing with. We don't make it bigger than what it is. And safety is first here at ChargerHelp!. So our safety person is always a part of it. And I think what we've learned from that, what we've learned from snow in New York, we then share with everyone. So when we encounter snow again, now we have a process. Now we have something to work with and an example. So I just. Using the entire team's brain as one has been really helpful for us to troubleshoot quickly and still get the work done. And the part that I think that is most important is like we're recording all of this, right?

Because this is the first time we've had a distributed IOT o t asset that is literally everywhere. So not only are we recording what, what are the element or what are the things that this technician needs to be successful within these different spaces, but then also how is the charging station behaving?

Are there any, commonalities on the issues that we see that are impeded by weather? And I think that's the part that's scalable cuz we can problem solve today. But it's like how do we take our learnings and allow it to be helpful towards the entire industry. 

Grayson Brulte:

You're getting a data set. You're getting a very healthy data set that's going to allow you, frankly, to learn. You're gonna spot trends and patterns that will increase the reliability, cuz 97% uptime, that's a difficult task, but your technicians are out there. They're learning, they're getting workforce development. And Frank, we've discussed up times critical without I'll use the word trust, without the public trusting when they go to a station that it's gonna work.

The EV adoption is gonna plateau at some point, but if they trust when they go that it's gonna work. All right we're going all in on EVs. ChargerHelp! they've got a really interesting data set that could potentially help SAE learn a lot as you develop potential standards through a committee.

Why did ChargerHelp! and SAE International Sustainable Mobility Solutions form a partnership? 

Frank Menchaca:

Yeah, it's a great question. We embarked on this effort to really address some of the things that Kameale mentioned in reliability. So we brought together a group of leading OEMs and charge providers and suppliers. And, we had this discussion and it was immediate, they said if you want to really solve something, solve what's immediately wrong. Why does charging fail? There's some estimations the charging fails 25% of the time. And so address that. And when we got when we peeled the onion, we understood that yet, yeah there's charging failure, but we don't really understand what charging failure is very well because there are error codes that are thrown off in the in the charging session. But they're not named in any consistent way. They're not benchmarked in any consistent way. Makes it very hard to compare them. It makes it very hard to learn anything. It makes it very hard to, to do better.

So we set out to to address that and very quickly one of our partners said, you really need to talk to ChargerHelp!. They have a lot to say about this and. We connected with Kameale and the team and went out and visited, and I think we came away understanding that, yeah, this is a good place to start.

Start where there is failure. Create a better way of analyzing that failure. Create a consistent vocabulary. It sounds simple, but but it's hard. It, it really hadn't been done before. So we did, a charging reliability technical framework that is now forming the basis of something called the National Charging Experience Consortium, which is sponsored by several national labs with involvement from the DOE, the Department of Energy, department of Transportation.

So from a relatively simple set of problems, like why does charging fail? We've now gotten to a point where there's a much more systematic way of looking at all of this. So that's really the, that's really where our paths cross with ChargerHelp!, and it's helped us to develop this, charging reliability project.

And now we're engaged in, developing a set of certifications around the electric vehicle charging supply equipment field technician. So it's just a, it's scaffolded one piece building on another. 

Grayson Brulte:

I'll summarize it this way, EV Charging's growing up, it's . It's, growing up. Kameale, Frank laid out a lot of positive things for both SAE and for ChargerHelp!, but more importantly, positive for society. What are you hoping to achieve with this partnership? 

Kameale Terry:

Yeah, for us, E and I have built the company underneath with the foundation of equitable jobs. I think that was like the biggest thing for us was like, hey, there, there are multiple problems to society that we can actually fill with good paying jobs and like quality people.

Technology can help bridge the educational gap. There's certain things that can help bridge whatever it is. If there is a gap, like there's not even a gap, right? But we can properly align folks. And so what I'm really excited with this partnership is. We never intended that every field service person had to work for ChargerHelp!.

That's not our goal. We are a technology company. We had to have our own technicians in the beginning in order to properly build out a field service app to properly understand what are the skill sets and to make sure that the industry was approaching, workforce development of green jobs from an equitable mindset.

And as two black women run from South Central, another from Compton, these are things that it's it is our lived experience. So I don't know how to operate without thinking about like equity and folks in my community participating. And so what I'm super excited about, cause I'm all about how do we scale these things?

I think doing the partnership with SAE gives that idea legs credibility and allows a realistic scalability. And you know what you're saying, these tools for these folks in these communities and communities in general, like real communities, white, poor. To participate in a meaningful way for a problem that has greatly impacted us, that we haven't figured out yet.

So it just brings me immense amount of joy to be able to partner with SAE to take this little idea that E and I had, to that next level. 

Grayson Brulte:

You're taking it to the next level, but you're doing good in, in your community. You're doing good in other communities because, as I said earlier, you're creating jobs of it.

Let's go into the jobs it seems that. The skill sets, you can have an electrician and a potential, an operations individual. Could you talk about some of the skill sets going through your program that these individuals will learn? And then on the backside, are those skills transferrable to perhaps another industry down the line?

Evette Ellis:

Absolutely. So first thing I wanna clear up is our EVSE technicians are not electricians. However, the electrician route is a pathway for those that are field techs. It's actually a very natural pathway for them, career pathway. Super excited about that. I will say the skillsets initially who we found to be most successful were folks that had some background experience in field service.

First of all, they understood like it's not just doing a job field services. You're actually driving around, you're in the elements there, there's a whole nother component to field service outside of the actual job that you're doing. So it, field service experience just is very helpful. They don't get worn out as quick cuz they understand the mission , but also those who worked in gas and oil, believe it or not, have been very successful in our, at our company and in this industry, mainly because of the safety precautions our.

So high in the gas and oil industry working at a refinery. Like those are some safe folks. I don't know if you ever met. They are very safe . Okay. And so because of that we proudly don't have a any safety, we didn't have any safety concerns last year, but we have folks that are just really laser focused on that.

And then we find folks that worked in closing factories, that worked with like small machinery. Very, meticulous and you really had to know how to work this one thing and that we're curious and we keep digging and digging. And then lastly, folks that worked with the cable company or the internet company.

And they know they have field service of course, but they know also they have some electrical, insight. They're, they know. the basics. And that was very helpful. Then I don't wanna miss out on the folks that we did have the opportunity to hire people that had absolutely no nothing. Right?

And we were able to ramp them up in two different timelines. But we were able to leave a percentage of the folks that we trained, some folks didn't have any, and this was their entry, right? Their introduction into this industry and we're really, really proud of that. But I would. Being able to assess a situation, be curious, be safe, being able to have great customer service skills.

Service excellence is, you know what and what would our safety here. But being able to communicate with our customers in a lot of instances. Internally work remotely, be virtual. There's a lot of moving parts to being a field service technician, and that's just one position. We have the most folks in that position, but we also have an entire operations team, logistics.

We have a field service manager. We have safety and compliance. We have a government relations person . We have product, the product team sales so there's a workforce development. We have a trainer. For internal and external training. So there's a number of connecting positions and pathways to this.

One thing I will say, as far as stackable certifications are career paths that are connected to it. What we've seen is some of our workforce development partners have connected like program project management with the EVSE technician curriculum, right? So you can find a project manager anywhere, but can you find a project manager that has EVSE knowledge base, right?

Which made them super marketable and they flew, I'd say they flew off the shelves very quickly once they completed the training. And they have their project management, also sales and parts management. Like you will find that you can find these folks, but they don't necessarily have insight into the EVSE ecosystem.

And this training also serves as a foundational piece for folks that will be doing different jobs, but in this space. So we're really excited about that. I don't know if we started off thinking that , I don't believe we did. We were very focused on the EVSE technician our workforce development partners have gotten really creative with how can we push this out and allow more people to participate in this space.

Because everybody won't be EVSE technicians, right? Everybody won't be. But that doesn't mean that the material and the information will not be very helpful to our industry with folks in other. 

Grayson Brulte:

Frank, from an SAE perspective, SAE does a lot of really, I'll say Frank, very bluntly, wonderful work around workforce development.

You have the college programs the Baja program. And earlier you mentioned certification. What will that process look like when SAE puts all the good that SAE does into a certification process? 

Frank Menchaca: 

Yeah, so we we're working with a set of experts from major vehicle manufacturers and charging providers and service providers.

And obviously ChargerHelp! Is involved. We're defining a set of capabilities. That that we, as a community believe has to be established. And then we're creating a program based on the charger help training and the input from this community to create a structure, a set of capabilities, and then a testing of those capabilities so that individuals who wanna work in this area, they go train they, Test based on these capabilities, and they get a seal of approval to go and work in this area.

And that becomes like a calling card. It becomes an excellent recruit recruitment tool for companies like ChargerHelp! Or any company that is going to do this work. And I want to build a little bit off of something that Evette said. Samantha Ortega from the ChargerHelp! Team and I authored a white paper.

The whole idea of stackable credentials and providing a career path, I think is something that's really important. You can become certified as a an electric vehicle supply equipment and field technician that can lead to a lot of other things, not only in charging, but I think there are multiple fields that are opening up in this area, in the area of, sustainable transp.

that I think this work prepares people for in, ways that we didn't really think about, until now. And I'll give you an example. We hear a lot of the same pain points around battery development, right? There's not enough people to do battery development. The individuals that are coming through the ChargerHelp! training and the SAE certification those individuals could build up into a career of battery development because they are understanding at the point of use what's happening with the battery. And batteries, lithium ion battery creation. The workforce for that is probably going to have to grow by 10. 10 x between now and I think 2030, which is like seven years away, which might as well be tomorrow.

And if you can imagine like 10 x, is a huge amount. So I think the work that we're doing together not only fills an immediate need for qualified people from all sorts of back. To have access to great jobs in the in the charging world, but also I think it can be a stepping stone to adjacent careers in areas like battery development, charging and discharging and battery safety in general.

I think, I try and think really broadly across a whole spectrum of things, but these things are all connected cause they're all developing at the same time. 

Grayson Brulte:

How important, Frank, is it that industry, industry recognizes the certification? How important is that for the individuals gonna go through the ChargerHelp! program?

Frank Menchaca:

It's hugely important because if you prove that you have mastered the skills and you have the competencies. That's like ultimate workforce readiness. It means that you have the ability to do the job. Your time on task will be much sooner. The company doesn't have to necessarily worry about training you because you're coming in with a knowledge base that is a good business situation for them.

It's a it's a recruitment tool for them and it creates opportunity for people. So it's a win all the way around. 

Grayson Brulte:

Evette, with the certification. Have you seen an increased demand in applicants say, okay, wow, I'm gonna get certified now. Let's get to the front of the line.

Have you seen a large increase in demand? 

Evette Ellis:

The demand has been here. I have seen an increase in excitement around. Legitimacy, right? I think it will legitimize things. I think when we started off, we got the O*NET, we worked with Department of Labor and got the O*NET code, and that took us so far. But as the industry grows, as technology grows, trainings now are going to be taking place all over the country.

Much like what Kameale said, like we don't own the training world. people are building their own trainings, their own curriculum all across the country. I know because we've been asked to steer some of 'em , right? But all across the country, however, i t's much like I, I use this example all the time. A nurse can be trained anywhere. You still have to take that one test to say we are all on the same page. No matter what hospital you're working in, you know how to do these core things and hospital, you may have to learn the culture of that particular regions. Space, but generally you know how to be a nurse and that's what this credential, I believe will do and really take the ownness.

While we're very proud of the pioneering that we've done, it'll take the onus out of ChargerHelp!'s hand, and it really becomes now a real equitable thing because you don't have to just go through ChargerHelp!, right? Anyone anywhere can get the training and they can all head to SAE to get the credential, which means that we agree that we understand, have learned these competencies and we can now execute, and the passing of the exam will then legitimize that for anyone that wants to participate. So that's very exciting to me because that's real equity. That's real. Putting folks on the field and giving them an opportunity to compete, this is it. And so we're excited to be a part of it. 

Grayson Brulte:

Frank, if there's an individual listening here, perhaps they're in college or they wanna learn a new skill. Where can they go to sign up to start the certification process? 

Frank Menchaca:

Yeah, so we are in the process of designing the capabilities and defining those. We still have a little bit more work to do with that, but somewhere in the middle of the year, SAE and ChargerHelp! And our other partners in the community will announce that this certification exists. And we're really gonna shout it from the hilltops because I think there is a that there is a huge opportunity for people to realize that, that they actually have access to really good jobs in areas that are only gonna.

And so we'll shout it from every possible rooftop. We'll put it on our website. We'll have a press conference. I want as many people to know and I think to, to that's point, if we have people banging down the doors for certification and we. People who are going, there, there are multiple, versions of ChargerHelp! Propping up, all over the place.

We've done something right. Then the work that we've done means something and we've done something, right? We've, we are, we're, we've solved a problem and now other people want to be part of that solution. That's to me that's like thumbs up all the way. 

Grayson Brulte:

It's thumbed up all the way around.

And Kameale, I wanna highlight something that I think is very special for ChargerHelp!. In addition to the partnership with SAE, you have a partnership with Tesla. They're the 10,000 pound gorilla inside of charging, and you have the partnership with them. You're helping them improve the reliability of they're charging stations in California.

That's a very big partnership in addition to SAE. Could you talk about that partnership?

Kameale Terry:

Yeah. I think that the neat thing about Tesla is that they're also really interested in workforce development. Like we've been super close to like their workforce development arm and just really thinking about how do they prepare people for the future.

And so honestly I think the first, which is I can see all these things cuz it was approved and the press release, I can't say anything outside of what's approved in the press release. But what was approved in the press release right, was that, we wanted to Support all of the efforts that they have cuz they do have, high reliability and to do a campaign just assessing their overall stations in California and then provide that data to them.

But most importantly, I think what's at the crux of what they're looking at doing is really the workforce, right? And they're, and I think that they, members of their team find value in how we're thinking about, the workforce. So that's been really cool. 

Grayson Brulte:

You're doing good, Kameale. You're creating value. What is the future of ChargerHelp!? How do you see it growing? How do you see it scaling? Where do you see the company in the future? 

Kameale Terry:

Oh, Evette started laughing. Why are you laughing?

Evette Ellis:

This is like the million dollar question. 

Kameale Terry:

Like what are we doing? 

Evette Ellis:

We're taking over the world. 

Kameale Terry:

I tell folks, I was like, I have a one track pony. So right now what I'm focused on is making sure we get quality data in order to be helpful for mass the adoption, for the uptime of the stations and for the training, and retention of technicians. I think what comes next, we will see, 2023 for me is all about data aggregation.

We did our 8000th work order a couple of weeks ago and that was only done in a little bit. Yes. Less than a year. And so that's crazy to me. But we need more data, we need more information. We need to be like, help steer more of these conversations, be more in partnership with more folks.

So that way we're hopeful. And then what comes after that? I We might have to do a part two in December. But that's the word I'm focused on right now. 

Grayson Brulte:

Continue to to be proud. Continue to be proud, as well said to you of that. In your opinion, what's the future of ChargerHelp! You're building out a workforce that's gonna have a lot of positive impact on communities across the world.

Evette Ellis:

We want people to know who ChargerHelp! Is. The very rich history and how we started is super important to me. I hope it gives hope and encouragement to other people. I hope we make a dent in our equity efforts that I, I believe that the entire industry is really trying to do right now.

And I just hope that we serve as a blueprint for doing good business working with good people, being fair, me and Kameale, and. We have plans to be very rich, but we believe we can do that and not treat people horribly and we don't have to pay you $10 in order for, wealth to accumulate other places.

And I think those are the things that people don't wanna talk about . And I hope that us being transparent about, really our goals for our company to be super successful, to be very profitable, to be very helpful to be very equitable and treat people well. I think the companies that 50 years from when they start, the folks that work there are proud that they worked there. My, my grandfather worked for Boeing and he would tell people, I worked for Boeing, . And according to him, Boeing was it, so shout out to Boeing, , and that was something he was very proud of.

So I, I just want the folks that work at ChargerHelp! To know that really they had impact and to be proud of the work that we're. and to take over the world. 

Grayson Brulte:

Being proud goes a long way. You can do a lot of good when you're proud of the work you're doing. You should very be very proud of the work that you're doing with ChargerHelp! 

Frank the stuff that you're doing in SAE is gonna have a positive impact on society. As we look to lower commissions sorry, we look to lower emissions and decarbonize Evette, Kameale, Frank, as we look to wrap up this insightful conversation, what would you like our listeners to take away with? Evette, we'll start with you, please.

Evette Ellis:

I would like listeners to take away that ChargerHelp! is here. In ChargerHelp!, while we have great workforce development efforts and a lot going on, we are a business and we are growing this business. So we are always looking for partners and customers, and we welcome people to learn about ChargerHelp!.

Get in contact with us. Visit ChargerHelp.com. We have a absolutely brilliant product, RaaS, reliability as a service. And that's when we really start moving into the implementation of reliability when people actually invest in it. So I just encourage people to check us out and really put, let's put some actual movement to reliability by getting our charging stations covered and making sure we have a workforce to support it.

Grayson Brulte:

Reliability charging is one of the key ways to scale EVs. Kameale, your thoughts please? 

Kameale Terry:

Yeah, I think one, what I would love for folks to take away is This uptime problem. It's big. And let's create measurements that properly capture that information so we can, move towards the goal, which is a more sustainable transportation, which right now is electric vehicles, right?

So let's keep that goal at hard, like of course everyone have successful businesses and make a lot of money, all of these things. But like at the end of the day, the planet is burning and we need to be able to move about the cabin in a more sustainable way. So how are we thinking about that in the decisions, in the ways that we, we do things.

Grayson Brulte:

Well said. Frank, your thoughts please?

Frank Menchaca: 

Yeah, something really similar. So I'm in a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Sustainability. And the professor, one of the professors is teaching the program said something really impactful, he said, so I gotta be straight with you guys. What we do in the next seven years will determine the next a hundred in terms of climate change.

And okay. That's pretty profound. So second statement is that the transportation industry in the United States accounts for about 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, it's about 25%. It's the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. So this is what we're talking about is a question of business.

It's a question of technology. It's also a question of what happens to our children and our grandchildren, and that's not like hundreds of years in the future. That's that's the generation that is coming up and the generation after. . And so that's the stakes of all of this, right?

When you wanna, I try and see it from the big picture. Everything that we're talking about in this session is really about trying to do something in the next seven or eight years. That actually helps to improve the trajectory of the next hundred and build better, more fair lives for our children and the children that come after them.

Grayson Brulte:

I'll summarize this way. Invest today to decarbonize. Invest today to decarbonize. Today is tomorrow. Tomorrow's today and the future is the ChargerHelp!-SAE partnership. Evette, Kameale, Frank, thank you so much for coming on SAE Tomorrow Today. 

If you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please kindly rate review and let us know what topics you'd like for us to explore next. Be sure to join us next week for the second episode of SAE Tomorrow Today Unplugged, where I'll share my insights into markets and my opinion on the future of mobility.

SAE International makes no representations as to the accuracy of the information presented in this podcast. The information and opinions are for general information onlys. SAE International does not endorse, approve, recommend or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this podcast.


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