Battersby, Fleet Manager of the Year, Gets the Job Done

July 2013, Government Fleet - Cover Story

by Grace Suizo - Also by this author

At A Glance

Battersby’s accomplishments at the University of California, Davis include:

  • Reversing an $800,000 annual deficit trend
  • Completely revising the fleet’s financial structure, lines of business, and rate structure
  • Surviving potential outsourcing by clearly establishing the fleet’s value
Richard Battersby, CAFM, CPFP, director of Fleet Services for the University of California, Davis is this year’s Public Sector Fleet
Manager of the Year.
Richard Battersby, CAFM, CPFP, director of Fleet Services for the University of California, Davis is this year’s Public Sector FleetManager of the Year.

For public sector fleet managers, “doing more with less” is much more than a catch phrase tossed around the organization; it’s how they operate on a daily basis. 

Richard Battersby, CAFM, CPFP, director of Fleet Services for the University of California, Davis, is all too familiar with the concept. Despite a 25% reduction in workforce, he and his staff of 25 employees have successfully managed to stabilize the fleet department’s operations, improve efficiency, and correct an operating deficit of $800,000 annually over the past three years.

“What makes this even more significant is that we did this in the face of escalating costs including increased health care contributions, increased retirement contributions, bargained salary increases, an across-the-board departmental assessment, and of course escalating equipment and fuel costs,” Battersby noted.

This is just one accomplishment that helped Battersby earn Government Fleet’s 2013 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year at the annual Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX), which took place in San Antonio.

Sponsored by Fleet Counselor Services, the award recognizes fleet manager accomplishments from the prior year. Battersby was selected out of a pool of 16 highly qualified candidates, including finalists Paul Condran, fleet services manager for the City of Culver City, Calif., and William Griffiths, fleet management division chief for Montgomery County, Md. A panel of judges reviewed candidates based on 10 criteria: business plan, technology implementation, productivity, policies, preventive maintenance program, utilization management, replacement program, customer service, fuel management, and safety.

Finding a Home in Fleet

Battersby has more than 25 years of experience in vehicle fleet management in the public and private sectors. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that he actually never planned on a career in fleet management — or was even aware such a field existed.

After high school, he took a position as a technician at Big O Tires and Brakes, and then spent nearly 13 years as an ordnance officer in the U.S. Army. While in the service, he transitioned over to fleet management. “I didn’t even know fleet management existed as a career field until after I got out of the Army,” Battersby recalled, noting that in the Army, the fleet manager role is referred to as motor officer.

“The Army’s great for promotional opportunities, and I found myself in a leadership position pretty quickly,” he said.

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