Recognizing the 2014 Leading Fleets

July 2014, Government Fleet - Feature

by Staff

The Leading Fleets awards recipients are pictured here at GFX. Photo by Vince Taroc
The Leading Fleets awards recipients are pictured here at GFX. Photo by Vince Taroc

The Leading Fleets awards program recognizes 50 public sector fleet organizations for their leadership, efficiency, and vision for the future. The award, open to public fleets, encourages fleets to strive for excellence. In addition to the rankings for the top 20 fleets, the award also recognizes fleets in size categories to distinguish the differing challenges fleets of various sizes face.

This year's award is sponsored by Ford and Property Room.

No. 1 Small Fleet (499 or fewer assets)
City of Ventura, Calif.

With a total fleet of 392 units, the City of Ventura has been named the No. 1 small fleet. Mary Joyce Ivers, PWLF, CPFP, fleet and facilities manager, said “We are really happy to have received the award, and it was a team effort with all of our fleet staff, our IBS/NAPA store staff, and the local vendors that help us out. It has been a priority to move our operation towards a very cost-efficient and progressive unit, and this award shows we are heading in the right direction to serve our internal customers and community.”

The fleet’s current goal is to expand into repair and maintenance projects currently contracted out, such as fabrication, vehicle upfit, and refurbishing.

At the City of Ventura, fleet staff members manage and maintain the fleet of 392 units. Pictured here are fleet staff, the Public Works director, and contractors.
At the City of Ventura, fleet staff members manage and maintain the fleet of 392 units. Pictured here are fleet staff, the Public Works director, and contractors.

No. 1 Mid-Size Fleet (500-999 assets)
City of Santa Ana, Calif.

The City of Santa Ana has a fleet of 651 units and is the No. 1 mid-size fleet. The fleet plans to continue with its 5-Year Alternative Energy Strategic Plan, which will include installing 14 electric vehicle charging stations and a new propane autogas station, and making site improvements to the existing CNG fueling station infrastructure.

Rick Longobart, fleet, facilities and central stores manager, added, “The Alternative Fuel Program is in effect to ensure that future vehicle purchases save on fuel costs and energy consumption.”

The City of Santa Ana’s staff manages a fleet of 651 units. Fleet staff is pictured here celebrating with their awards.
The City of Santa Ana’s staff manages a fleet of 651 units. Fleet staff is pictured here celebrating with their awards.

No. 1 Large Fleet (1,000 or more assets)
City of Mesa, Ariz.

The City of Mesa manages a fleet of 1,875 units, which places it as No. 1 in the large fleet category. It was also named the No. 1 overall fleet. For more information about this operation, see the article, "Inside the City of Mesa, Winner of the Leading Fleets Award."

The City of Mesa’s Fleet Services Department has a staff of 85 employees. Pictured here is the management team, with Pete Scarafiotti, fleet management director and automotive engineer, at far right.
The City of Mesa’s Fleet Services Department has a staff of 85 employees. Pictured here is the management team, with Pete Scarafiotti, fleet management director and automotive engineer, at far right.

The top 20 leading fleets (including ties) are ranked below.

1    City of Mesa, AZ
Contact: Pete Scarafiotti
Units: 1,675 on-road; 200 off-road   
Staff: 85
Maint. Facilities: 2   
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s biggest challenge has been funding, both operational and capital. To address this, it reduced fleet size by 150 vehicles and identified another 200 potential low performers (both cost & utilization). By insourcing, it began to spread costs over more fleet units. Another strategy was to internalize all work that staff could do efficiently and move a number of jobs to vendors that had a cost advantage.

2    City of Boise, ID   
Contact: Craig Croner
Units: 1,009 on-road; 529 off-road   
Staff: 14   
Maint. Facilities: 3      
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet was challenged with implementing a new citywide enterprise resource program and integrating it with the FASTER fleet software. Fleet led an inter-departmental team with accounting, IT, and vendor participation to create and implement an interface to enable the new software to exchange asset management data with FASTER. Both software programs now exchange data automatically.

3    City of Santa Ana, CA   
Contact: Rick Longobart
Units: 521 on-road; 130 off-road
Staff: 31   
Maint. Facilities: 1   
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s challenge was to remove harmful pollutants from the community, where in the past few decades, smog levels have reached alarming proportions. In 2013, fleet staff performed necessary tasks to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its vehicles, such as removing underutilized vehicles and purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles and emission control devices.

4    County of San Diego, CA
Contact: Sharyl Blackington
Units: 3,686 on-road; 280 off-road
Staff: 56
Maint. Facilities: 8   
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet tackled the challenge of ensuring timely receipt, approval, and payment of 4,000 invoices monthly. It previously received invoices in hard copy format with several invoice delivery points, and invoices could be misrouted, lost, or delayed during distribution for approval. Staff centralized invoice processing and required all vendors to submit invoices in electronic format. This and other measures reduced average processing time to three days — previously 30 days — and reduced staff time spent on invoices. Fleet can now also take advantage of early payment discounts offered by vendors.

5    City of Rochester, NY
Contact: Mike Quattrone
Units: 1,300 on-road; 574 off-road
Staff: 69
Maint. Facilities: 1   
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet faced extreme winter weather and had to manage equipment malfunctions and salt shortages. Rubber blades on 28 salt trucks had to be replaced after three or four runs, usually on overtime. Fleet researched and switched to ceramic blades with the flexibility of moving over objects in the road such as manhole covers. During the pilot, the blades were wearing excessively, so staff modified the plows to tilt forward and fabricated blocks to increase spring tension. The fix worked, and uptime increased significantly throughout the end of the winter season.

6    County of San Bernardino, CA
Contact: Roger Weaver
Units: 4,997 on-road; 407 off-road
Staff: 114
Maint. Facilities: 6   
Overcoming Challenges: For more than 25 years, County Fire Vehicle Services and Fleet Management operated separate fleet operations at two facilities less than three miles apart. In March 2013, the two operations merged into the fleet’s facility, which was remodeled, rearranged, and significantly upgraded to optimize space. This merger increased labor and equipment efficiency and produced a reduction in parts inventory investment (about $250,000). Savings from reducing duplicated overheads and the anticipated synergy of the merged operation is expected to exceed $350,000 per year.

7    City of Sacramento, CA
Contact: Keith Leech
Units: 2,184 on-road;
151 off-road
Staff: 87
Maint. Facilities: 5    
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet was challenged with balancing the competing demands of employees while implementing fleet best practices that demonstrate cost effectiveness and competitiveness. Fleet established a performance management plan based on the guiding principles of accountability, integrity, and excellence. It includes an employee scorecard report, a job turnaround efficiency report, and a downtime report, which customers can access.

8    Manatee County, FL
Contact: Michael Brennan
Units: 993 on-road; 336 off-road
Staff: 35
Maint. Facilities: 3        
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s challenge was the migration from a Windows-based management system to a Web-based system (FASTER Win to FASTER Web). Fleet formed a migration team from across all disciplines and agencies and empowered each representative responsibility for his or her respective area of expertise. Staff developed a variable project timeline and completed the migration on schedule, with technicians offline for less than 30 minutes.

9    City of Fort Worth, TX
Contact: Wayne Corum
Units: 2,725 on-road; 807 off-road
Staff: 108    
Maint. Facilities: 3        
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet tackled the challenge of getting fuel transactions into the fleet management software in a timely manner for its preventive maintenance program. It has 43 manual fuel sites (17% of fuel consumed) and 20 automated fuel sites (83% of fuel consumed). Staff defended against a proposal to privatize all fueling operations and was able to purchase automated systems for all manual sites and update some older automated sites with new systems.  

9    New York City Police Department
Contact: Gregory Dimesa
Units: 7,707 on-road; 675 off-road
Staff: 406    
Maint. Facilities: 13        
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s biggest challenge was to sustain the relief and recovery efforts resulting from Hurricane Sandy while minimizing disruption of everyday business. Staff worked to replace 271 vehicles destroyed by flooding and other storm-related damage. They also supplied fuel for and maintained emergency light towers/generators, which required 24-hour fueling and roadside repair support. Several enhancements to the fleet and overall operations were borne as a result of the hurricane.

11    City of Columbus, OH
Contact: Kelly Reagan    
Units: 2,993 on-road; 3,289 off-road
Staff: 121    
Maint. Facilities: 4    
Overcoming Challenges: Columbus’ biggest challenge was implementing its CNG initiative. Fleet trained customers, vendors, and first responders, and worked with fire marshals and regulators and employed a CNG expert consultant to guide it along the way. In 2013, the first CNG station pumped 240,920 gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs), and the second station opens in July. Customers are now on board with CNG.  

11    City of Ventura, CA
Contact: Mary Joyce Ivers
Units: 325 on-road; 67 off-road
Staff: 9
Maint. Facilities: 1    
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s biggest challenge came when its largest customer, the Police Department, proposed having its vehicles maintained by another public fleet. Management met with the Police Department and the manager of the other public fleet to discuss service and vehicle availability. Fleet staff was able to convince the PD that its rates at the city were competitive and service was quick.

13    City of Roseville, CA
Contact: Eric Kaiser
Units: 718 on-road; 123 off-road
Staff: 19
Maint. Facilities: 1    
Overcoming Challenges: During the past year, fleet faced three separate inspections and audits — the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) biennial inspection of terminals, CHP transit terminal inspection, and a Federal Transit Administration triennial review. During the three separate audits covering all equipment and records, fleet received zero citations and only three minor write ups.

14    City of Milwaukee, WI
Contact: Jeffrey Tews
Units: 2,357 on-road; 722 off-road
Staff: 106    
Maint. Facilities: 5    
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s biggest challenge was that pay had been frozen for four years and highly qualified technicians were leaving for other jobs. In 2013, the city approved and fleet implemented a redesigned pay plan to compensate technicians based on knowledge they acquire and maintain. Younger technicians are now staying with the city, and fleet has a better educated workforce and improved vehicle availability.

14    Sarasota County, FL
Contact: Gregory Morris
Units: 867 on-road; 672 off-road
Staff: 35
Maint. Facilities: 3    
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet’s largest challenge is a surge of retirements in the next five years. To prepare for this, fleet has been cross training individuals and immediately pairing newly hired technicians with a highly skilled technician for training. This is done on an ongoing basis, as fleet expects it takes three years to train a new hire to become highly skilled on specialized units.

16    Eugene Water & Electric Board, OR
Contact: Gary Lentsch
Units: 199 on-road; 49 off-road
Staff: 9.5
Maint. Facilities: 1    
Overcoming Challenges: After a severe storm in 2012, the utility realized it needed to see live vehicle locations to more effectively dispatch high-priority jobs. By the end of the year and after some pushback from drivers, all vehicles were equipped with GPS devices. Fleet services was able to provide management another tool to obtain real-time information including reduced outage response times, live data on vehicle performance, and proof of vehicle location.

17    Alameda County, CA
Contact: Douglas Bond
Units: 1,020 on-road
Staff: 15
Maint. Facilities: 3    
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet continues to be challenged by the budget, which it has recently addressed with technology. Since fuel accounts for approximately one-third of the fleet budget, the fleet set out to reduce fuel costs by purchasing 200 hybrid and electric vehicles with grant assistance. These vehicles have saved an estimated $400,000 in fuel costs. Fleet has also upgraded its fuel management system and installed GPS in 350 vehicles.

18    City of Moline, IL
Contact: J.D. Schulte
Units: 180 on-road; 200 off-road
Staff: 11
Maint. Facilities: 1    
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had to re-engineer and vent its canopy for lighter-than-air gases on its centralized fuel site to get ready for CNG use. Bids for the work came in higher than anticipated, partially due to the existing complex underground infrastructure. Fleet convinced City Council to allow it to use funding from its cents-per-gallon charge assessed to fuel customers and convinced a local transit authority to subsidize a portion of the cost in exchange for access to the site.

19    City of Fort Wayne, IN
Contact: Larry Campbell
Units: 1,167 on-road; 724 off-road    
Staff: 26
Maint. Facilities: 2        
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet’s main repair facility was built in 1954, and with fleet growth and larger size equipment, staff has been challenged with space constraints. However, improvements have made the facility OSHA compliant, and the facility has features of newer buildings. The space issue was addressed in the budget by City Council, which approved a new building. Building construction is expected to begin in 2015.

19    NYC Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services
Contact: Keith Kerman
Units: 23,466 on-road; 3,435 off-road
Staff: 1,600    
Maint. Facilities: 37    
Overcoming Challenges: In 2012, New York City transformed its fleet operations from agency-specific models to a shared services program. In 2013, fleet implemented an upgrade of its enterprise management system and rolled it out in all repair facilities. It worked with AssetWorks and hosted weekly inter-agency meetings to address technical and operational issues as well as training. Approximately 1,600 fleet staff members now have accounts.

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