Fleet Manager Saves Millions with Business Approach

The winner of the 2009 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year Award, Doug Weichman of Palm Beach County, Fla., has saved millions by expanding fuel contracts and right-sizing the County’s fleet.

May 2009, Government Fleet - Cover Story

by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

For a PDF of the full article, click here.

Out of a record field of 31 nominees, the title of 2009 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year was awarded to Doug Weichman, CAFM, director of Fleet Management for Palm Beach County, Fla. Weichman was recognized April 26 at the 2009 NAFA Institute & Expo in New Orleans.

The award, in its fifth year, is sponsored by ARI and Fleet Counselor Services. The winner was selected by an independent panel of fleet professionals, appointed by Government Fleet magazine.

New Initiatives Allow for Big Fleet Savings

Prior to joining the Palm Beach County fleet team, Weichman, a 31-year industry veteran, was fleet manager for Miami-Dade County, Fla., for nine years and held private sector fleet positions upon graduating from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree in automotive and heavy equipment technology. He was the first runner-up for the 2008 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award.

“My college degree was a fleet management-related degree, which was unique in the ’70s,” Weichman said. “I was able to get hired in at mid-level management on my first job on the automotive industry side and have accrued a lot of experience through the years, allowing me to get ahead of the curve.”

Weichman also credits a supportive family, 29-year marriage, and his two children as a constant motivator in his continued hard work.

His recent successes are numerous. In 2008, Weichman wrote Palm Beach County’s policies for vehicle idling, energy conservation, sustainability, emissions, and greenhouse gas reduction. He also instituted several interlocal agreements to supply fleet services to several municipalities located within Palm Beach County, along with State of Florida agencies, the FBI, and Secret Service.

His fleet was ranked in the top 20 “100 Best Fleets in North America” in 2008, as well as the “Vocational Fleet of the Year” by Fleet Owner magazine.

Weichman’s numerous achievements in 2008 include expanding Tier I fuel contracts to include 3 million gallons of biodiesel, expanding the vehicle replacement fund increasing the county’s hybrid fleet to 220 units, and being the first government entity in the Southeast U.S. to purchase three hybrid-bucket trucks. In fact, Palm Beach County collected approximately $70,000 in tax rebates for hybrid vehicles purchased using EPAct 2005 re-write rules.

“In the past few years, we’ve accomplished a lot within our fleet,” Weichman said. “Our savings have been great, and networking has helped us because I’ve been able to pay a lot of attention to what others are doing.”

He also has reduced new-vehicle purchases and eliminating underutilized vehicles and equipment by approximately 250 assets in FY2008, accounting for savings of about $6 million. A strong proponent of continuing education, he enrolled six managers in the CAFM program, one of whom achieved certification in 2008.

“Fleet is highly productive due to established performance measures, policies, and standards that create efficient use of resources,” Weichman said. “Employee recognition programs and monthly team meetings contribute to this.”

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