Subadan Encourages Fleet Managers to ‘Take the Reins’

June 24, 2010

Subadan emphasized the importance of working together towards the same goals. "[Hillsborough County] is a very small department with a very big mission," she told attendees.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - Sharon Subadan, CAFM, CPFP, director of fleet management for Hillsborough County, delivered the opening keynote speech, "Taking the Reins: Leading Your Fleet to the Next Level," June 21 at the 2010 Government Fleet Expo + Conference (GFX). Subadan, a finalist for 2010 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year, helped lead Hillsborough County to the No. 1 spot on the 100 Best Fleets in 2008 and 2009.

Subadan encouraged fleet managers to find a leadership balance. "Part of achieving the balance and taking the reins is to shift the culture in your organization," explained Subadan, citing examples from her own experience in the fleet operations she has been managing for less than four years.

Referring to Hillsborough's fleet operations as "TEAM FLEET," Subadan emphasized the importance of working together towards the same goals. "We are a very small department with a very big mission," she said.

Hillsborough County expects accountability and professionalism from its fleet team, basing its work ethics on being "T.E.R.R.I.F.I.C." - an acronym for Trust, Effectiveness, Responsiveness, Respect, Integrity, Fun, Innovation, and Customer service, according to Subadan.

Communication is an important key in functioning successfully as a team, she told attendees. "Empower people by letting them feel like they know what's going on," Subadan said, noting employee morale at Hillsborough County is "very good." The County holds an Automotive Service Professionals Week to recognize and serve its employees, according to Subadan.

Increasing visibility, remaining relevant, and demonstrating leadership are also necessary efforts to ensure senior management and politicians understand the importance of the fleet manager role, said Subadan.

Referencing "Joe the Plumber" as an example, politicians need to meet "Mike the Mechanic," Subadan said. "Get the politicians out there [to your facility]. What's in it for them: They get a photo op and we get them to focus on fleet management." Hillsborough County has done just that, allowing for budgets to "sail through" during council meetings, she said.

After reminding attendees to have fun - "No day is complete without laughter," she said - Subadan closed out her presentation with two PowerPoint slides' worth of inspirational quotes.

"If you're doing your best, you won't have time to worry about failure," Subadan concluded.


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