Faces of clean energy: Building the transit of tomorrow

Name: Stephanie Laubenstein
Job title: Director of sales and business development
Works at: New Flyer Industries Canada
Favourite part of the job: Working in the shift to sustainable transit
Favourite hobbies: Spending time with her eight-year-old son, cooking, gardening, and socializing with family and friends.

At Winnipeg-based New Flyer, North America’s largest bus manufacturer, one woman is co-leading a team that will ready the 90-year-old company for one of the biggest market shifts it’s ever seen: the rapid transition to electric buses.

“We found our customers are increasingly focused on electric buses,” says Stephanie Laubenstein, director of sales and business development at New Flyer and also co-leader of the newly formed “Infrastructure Solutions” group, which explores sustainable transit initiatives.

The hybrid and electric vehicle industry, predicted to grow 28% annually over the next decade, is by far the fastest-growing industry in the clean energy sector. It’s expected to create 14 times more jobs in 2030 compared to 2020, while investment is on track to more than quadruple in the same period, according to Clean Energy Canada’s latest report, The Fast Lane. In fact, electric vehicles (albeit cars) are expected to make up 48% of new car sales in 2030.

Transportation is going electric and New Flyer, which employs 1,300 people in Canada, knows it. That makes Stephanie’s role one of critical importance. “When (New Flyer) started, it was a bus builder. Now, it’s a solutions provider, transforming transportation. I like the fact that we are willing to innovate, adapt and change with the industry,” she says.

And adapt it has. One of the biggest challenges for electric bus operators during the transition is finding ways to charge large bus fleets, something that Stephanie and New Flyer are working hard to address. “We work with (our customers) to find ways to move power from the grid to the bus in the most effective manner.  It is important we continue to develop creative ways to address a variety of items such as how to start managing power so it is effective, how to store power to manage peak demand costs, or how to finance the projects.”

A leader in her personal life too, Stephanie has participated on a few community-based boards and is active in the community in areas that support her son. But even the busiest of clean energy leaders need time to relax, which Stephanie does by cooking, gardening, travelling, and spending time with her large extended family and friends.