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Our Climate Journey with Emory Jones

“We are spearheading the fight against climate change by providing children with cleaner, safer student transportation. The most crucial action Zum can take is to stay the course and avoid complacency. As trendsetters, we have to continue to innovate and stay true to our vision: building a cleaner, more sustainable future through electrified transportation.”

Emory Jones
Technology Recruiter

Emory is a recruiter at Zum, where he builds high-performing teams to help modernize student transportation. With an MBA and over seven years experience in technical recruiting, Emory has a deep understanding of tech and the skills and qualifications required for a wide variety of roles, from product management and design to engineering and go-to-market. Emory resides in Idaho, and is an avid outdoorsman.

1. Sustainability

At Zum, we’re revolutionizing student transportation in order to build a green, sustainable future. What does sustainability mean to you?

Fundamentally, it’s about stewardship and leaving things better than we found them. Leaving things the same is maintaining, not sustaining. That’s not good enough. I have nephews, which makes me hyper aware that we have to leave things better for tomorrow. Sustainability is a long term play.

It’s not always going to be easy. I’ll give an example. When I first joined Zum, I was impressed by the vision to electrify all of our school buses, but I was also aware that mining the lithium that goes into EV batteries, for instance, is extremely resource intensive, and is mined with the use of fossil fuels. If you look at things in the very short term, it’s actually better for the planet to drive an internal combustion bus.

But when you look in the long term, over a number of years—the exact number depends on the vehicle, on the bus—then an EV bus has a significantly smaller impact than a traditional bus. Further, the more advanced technology gets, eventually we’ll be able to reduce dependence on fossil fuels even in mining operations, making EVs the clear choice for a sustainable future.

2. Climate Change

Climate change is the single greatest threat to our way of life, but it can sometimes feel abstract, far away, a problem for another time. How has climate change affected you personally?

I’m lucky enough to have lived in Missoula, Montana, for several years. Missoula is home to some of the most beautiful rivers, and what many consider the best fly fishing in the country. In the years I was there, however, temperatures increased steadily, especially during the summer months. Those temperatures significantly stressed the fish in the rivers and the fisheries that outdoorsmen like me so appreciate. The effect was particularly intense in the afternoons. As a result, those wishing to fly fish were restricted to “hoot owl hours”—we could only fish during early morning hours, before temperatures climbed too high. It’s a small thing, but climate change can affect even the smallest parts of our lives, and of course, it’s deeply affecting the fish and their environment. Over time, unless we do something about it, we’re only going to see higher temperatures, more and more restrictions like hoot owl hours.

3. Leadership

What can Zum do to be a leader in sustainability, to spearhead the charge in the fight against climate change?

At Zum, I’m recruiting and hiring the next generation of our employees. It is truly remarkable to witness the growing recognition and respect for the “Zum” name in the world. We’re widely perceived as a leader, and rightfully so. We are spearheading the fight against climate change by electrifying our fleets and providing children with cleaner, safer student transportation. This commitment to sustainability and innovation is what sets Zum apart as a true pioneer in the industry.

That also means we will encounter competitors, imitators, and critics. The most crucial action our company can take is to stay the course and avoid complacency. We are the leaders and trendsetters in this field. People will challenge us, and that’s expected. We have to continue to innovate and stay true to our vision: building a cleaner, more sustainable future through electrified transportation.