Cherokee County Fleet Management is now one of only six counties in Georgia to achieve the prestigious National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence’s (ASE) Blue Seal of Excellence. This is the second straight year the county department was awarded the designation. Michael Dupuis, director of Cherokee County, Ga., Fleet Management spoke to Government Fleet about what kind of work it takes and how other fleets can aspire to do the same.
To become a Blue Seal Certified shop, a department must have 75% of its techs certified in one category of the repairs they perform. Dupuis says the county set up an incentive program for its technicians to continue their education.
“Cherokee County puts a strong emphasis on continuing education, as well as safety. We want to make sure our technicians stay updated on the newest repair and maintenance techniques and safety standards. They worked hard to attain their certifications, and we are proud they put the time and effort into achieving their goals,” he says.
Fleet Management received the Blue Seal as recognition of its technicians’ proficient work – seven of the eight total technicians for the county have multiple ASE certifications. Two of the employees are master technicians.
Dupuis explains other fleet managers who wish to have their shop become Blue Seal Certified should plan ahead accordingly.
“Know how many technicians you have and what their certification levels are. Research with ASE and learn what it will take, both financially and in manpower, for your particular organization to achieve your goal. Work with your organization’s leadership to develop a plan to begin an incentive program. Once a plan is approved and dollars are allocated, roll out the plan to your employees and get them started.”
Planning for the Future
The technicians for Fleet Management maintain about 800 vehicles, and on average service more than 10 per day while also receiving multiple service calls for job sites. All the work is completed at their current facility on Chattin Drive in Canton. In the coming months, the department will have a larger facility for maintaining county vehicles.
The new maintenance facility expansion is currently under construction and expected to be complete later this year. The $600,000 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax project will greatly increase the capacity for maintenance and repairs of county vehicles. Features will include a higher roof to extend ladders on fire apparatus and larger areas for county-owned heavy-duty equipment.
The fleet includes many emergency response vehicles, ranging from ambulances, engines, ladder trucks, patrol vehicles, and specialized unit vehicles. The department is working over the next year to get their technicians EVT (Emergency Vehicle Tech) certified.
“Many of our technicians are skilled to repair and maintain the emergency vehicle portion of our fleet – we simply want to afford them the opportunity to learn more,” explains Dupuis.