Operations

Q&A with the Fleet Manager of the Year Finalists

June 2016, Government Fleet - Feature

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

The three finalists for the Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award are recognized for excelling in 10 key categories that show fleet efficiency. These finalists have numerous career accomplishments, including being leaders in fleet greening, helping create a fleet association, and consistently providing excellent service to a diverse group of customers.

Industry professionals nominate their peers for the award. Nominees are asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing their operations and accomplishments, which are then judged by a panel of fleet managers from across the country. Candidates are judged on the following criteria: business plan, technology implementation, productivity, policies, preventive maintenance program, utilization management, replacement program, customer service, fuel management, and safety.

Sponsored by General Motors, the annual award is now in its 12th year.

Government Fleet will announce the winner of the 2016 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award at The Honors Celebration at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX), which takes place June 20-23 in Nashville, Tenn.


Gary Lentsch, CAFM, fleet manager, Eugene Water & Electric Board, Ore.

Gary Lentsch has more than 30 years of utility fleet experience. He joined the EWEB fleet in 2009, managing about 260 vehicles and one maintenance facility.

What’s the most enjoyable aspect of your job? The ability to work independently. This comes from earning trust within your organization, along with trust of the people you work with. I would not be here today if it weren’t for the working relationship I have established with them. It’s great to work with people who care about their community and enjoy doing a good job.

What’s the most challenging? Information overload coming from technology. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier — instead it has left our desks covered in reports of critical data, post-it notes, and plenty of paperwork. Being a fleet manager today resorts on what you are willing to take on and how you manage your time.

What are you most excited about this year? The same things that that have excited me for the last several years: Having an engaged workforce that improves efficiency and productivity, which have allowed us to implement new programs for our motor pool, restructure our parts operation, and provide staff training. It has also allowed me to contribute more to the fleet community.

What’s one thing your fleet colleagues don’t know about you? In my 30 years in fleet, I have literally performed the duties of every position of fleet operations — from the shop floor to administration, parts, and even as a spec writer.

What are some accomplishments you’re proud of? Interacting with other fleets throughout the county about environmental stewardship topics. Last fall we were able to switch our entire fleet to a greener alternative for our fossil-based diesel fuel. This year I’ve had the opportunity to present the benefits of using renewable diesel to more than 400 fleet professionals in six different states.


Kelly Reagan, fleet administrator, City of Columbus, Ohio

Kelly Reagan has more than 30 years of fleet experience. At the City of Columbus, he manages a fleet of more than 6,300 vehicles and three maintenance facilities.

How do you explain your job to those not in the industry? I manage the fleet for the city, soup to nuts, cradle to grave. Our team ensures that all user agencies of vehicles have the tools they need to get their jobs done. We are the voice of the city workers and if I am doing my job well, then end users have the vehicles that fit the applications for their respective missions.

What’s the most enjoyable aspect of your job? I enjoy working with the administration for ongoing initiatives such as carbon reduction as well as working with a great team of managers, support staff, and technicians to make our great city the best it can be. My job requires me to constantly learn from new technologies, fleet management peers, and stakeholders to achieve excellence. This means my job never gets old.

What are you most excited about this year? While our compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure and CNG fleet continue to grow, it’s critical to remain abreast of emerging technology. I was recently appointed to the advisory board of the Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Cell Collaborative by Ohio State University, and I am excited to explore creative opportunities for zero-emission vehicles in the Midwest.

What’s one thing your fleet colleagues don’t know about you? I am a certified Master Scuba Diver and my wife of 35 years is my dive buddy — she too is a Master Diver. We are both “fair-weather” divers and prefer warm waters.

What are some accomplishments you’re proud of? I have gained so much knowledge from the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA) that we decided a Midwest chapter was necessary. I served as founding chairman and with our founding board members have seen our chapter grow to more than 150 members.


Robert Stine Jr., CAFM, CPFP, fleet director, Hillsborough County, Fla.

Robert Stine Jr. spent 30 years as a senior executive in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Hillsborough County fleet. At the county, he manages 3,800 vehicles at four maintenance facilities. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

What’s the most enjoyable aspect of your job? Working with technicians as their advocate, to acquire what they need to be more efficient and effective in the performance of their positions.

What’s the most challenging? Working through the bureaucracy and drama that exists in all organizations to accomplish the mission of the business.

What are you most excited about this year? The presidential election cycle, with the hope that our new elected officials can make progress toward fixing our national challenges.

What’s one thing your fleet colleagues don’t know about you? I’m a 30-year U.S. Air Force combat veteran and have served worldwide in the aircraft maintenance and logistics career fields.

What are some accomplishments you’re proud of? The fleet department provides outstanding asset management, maintenance, and fuel services for a diverse fleet. The department provides “best in class” services to a customer base of more than 5,000 personnel from about 30 diverse departments. The fleet team is focused on providing professional asset preservation services to support community prosperity through: high customer satisfaction, affordable levels of service, and competitive service choices. We supported more than 13,000 work orders, provided more than 2 million gallons of fuel, and participated in contingency response activities. I use a common sense Lean Six Sigma approach to improve fleet processes, reduce no-value operations, and reduce cost of operations.


2016 Nominees

The additional nominees for 2016, along with their accomplishments, are:

Peter Bednar, fleet manager, Ventura County, Calif.

Accomplishment: Worked to modernize the fleet as the new fleet manager, promoting change while respecting existing staff’s past contributions.

Sharyl Blackington, chief, fleet services, San Diego County, Calif.

Accomplishment: Overcame staff shortages and increasing workload while launching an advanced technology maintenance facility and ensuring a high level of customer service.

Doug Bond, transportation services manager, Alameda County, Calif.

Accomplishment: Led the effort to purchase vehicles and fuel through collaborative bids with 18 government agencies, reducing purchasing costs.

Lloyd Brierley, general manager, Fleet Services Division, City of Toronto, Canada

Accomplishments: Improvements in the past few years include financial, efficiencies, fleet safety and security, training, equipment, and staff morale.

Craig Croner, CPFP, administrative services manager, City of Boise, Idaho

Accomplishment: Being named the No. 1 Leading Fleet in 2015, with fleet becoming a model division within the city.

Brandon Elliott, fleet operations director, Lancaster County, S.C.

Accomplishments: Obtaining ASE Blue Seal certification and beginning the process of building a new fleet facility.

Mario Guzman, CAFM, general services manager, City of West Palm Beach, Fla.

Accomplishment: Completing a departmental makeover, including the implementation of a vehicle replacement program.

Bruce Halliday, fleet manager, City of Rochester Hills, Mich.

Accomplishments: Investing in employees, using technology to provide more effective services, and purchasing the right vehicles to fit the operation’s business model.

Mary Joyce Ivers, CPFP, PWLF, fleet and facilities manager, City of Ventura, Calif.

Accomplishments: Promoting public fleets nationally through the national APWA Board of Directors position and managing a talented fleet team.

Gregory Morris, CEM, fleet manager, Sarasota County, Fla.

Accomplishment: Completing the transition to a new fuel management program for improved fuel control and accounting.

Marilyn Rawlings, CEM, director, Fleet Management, Lee County, Fla.

Accomplishment: Completing a 28-year career having created positive, lasting relationships with employees.

Facundo Tassara, fleet manager, City of Norfolk, Va.

Accomplishment: Restructuring information collection, creating monthly fleet reports to easily see fleet performance.

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