It’s March 23, 1995. With a slightly new name, the “Santa Clara Valley Manufacturing Group” creates an innovative partnership with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to get the region’s most polluting vehicles off the road. Our “Cash for Clunkers” program hits the road, attracting 30 major employers to buy back older, smoking vehicles to help reduce air pollution. This innovative demonstration project raises nearly half a million dollars to purchase and permanently retire more than 400 “gross polluters,” with a reduction in pollution of more than 400 tons. Our demonstration program is so successful that it becomes a model for the Air District’s own Vehicle Buy-Back Program.
Lesson: Every effort needs an “early adopter” to lead the way. The first contribution to our “Cash for Clunkers” program was from Applied Materials, under the leadership of a young executive Joe Pon.