The Leading Fleets program recognizes public sector fleet organizations for their leadership, efficiency, ability to overcome challenges, and vision for the future. The award is sponsored by Ford.
Applicants are judged on their organizations’ leadership within their operation, with customers, within the local community, and within the fleet community; how they ensure competitiveness and efficiency; how they address and overcome major challenges; and how they are working toward future goals. Fleets submit online applications between January and March of each year.
The rankings for the Leading Fleets were announced at the Virtual Honors Celebration on June 16.
No. 1 Small Fleet (499 or Fewer Assets)
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Ill.
With 376 vehicles, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Ill., is the No. 1 Small Fleet.
One of the district’s current projects is bringing more services back in-house. In addition to doing propane conversions and compressed natural gas (CNG) repairs in-house last year, technicians will be doing police car upfitting in-house this year. Staff have been trained, and the move is expected to save the district $20,000 per year.
The fleet team is also working on installing custom service bodies onto new truck chassis in-house. This includes converting the trucks to propane bi-fuel and installing generators, welders, and other required equipment. This will save the district another $15,000 in expenses.
Lastly, the fleet division is working on a test project to begin using B-100 biodiesel fuel in its off-road equipment. This will allow the district to take the next step in its efforts to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“I am humbled to be included in the list of the top fleets in the country. The Leading Fleets award helps to highlight the work we all do every day to keep our agencies running,” said Mike Webster, CAFM, fleet manager.
No. 1 Mid-Size Fleet (500-999 Assets)
Denver International Airport, Colo.
The No. 1 Mid-Size Fleet, with 940 vehicles, is the Denver International Airport in Colorado.
The fleet staff has begun installing GPS from a new provider in more than 800 vehicles. The new system will have improved fuel tracking for state reporting, as well as live data for vehicle tracking in storm events. Staff members rolled out an education campaign for operators that outlines what the system does and does not do.
Another project the fleet is working on, in conjunction with other government fleet agencies, is determining how to provide quality repairs considering current financial challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the airline industry especially hard, so funding for vehicles and equipment is a new challenge. The entire fleet supervisory team is helping write detailed justifications for parts and vendor repairs, and they’re also using the exercise to review the need for each part requested.
“Thank you for recognizing DEN fleet maintenance staff with the Leading Fleets Award! Fleet maintenance staff and DEN leadership are supportive and provide high quality maintenance and repair of essential air-side and land-side vehicles and equipment,” said Jeffery Bowman, director of fleet management. “I am proud of the Leading Fleets selection, especially knowing fleet’s hard work feeds into the greater airport mission.”
No. 1 Large Fleet (1,000 or More Assets)
City of Fort Collins, Colo.
The No. 1 Large Fleet is also the No. 1 Overall fleet — the City of Fort Collins, Colo. For more information about this operation, click here.
Top 50 Fleets
1. City of Fort Collins, Colo.
Contact: Tracy Ochsner
Units: 1,011 On-Road; 401 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Each fleet shop had different processes and training for environmental compliance and best practices. Fleet staff put together an environmental management system team and partnered with the Regulatory Department to become ISO 14001 certified.
2. Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Ill.
Contact: Michael Webster, CAFM
Units: 167 On-Road; 209 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Management was concerned with staffing, as three technicians were planning on retiring soon and new recruits were hard to find. The operation created an internship program, working with local technical schools.
3. City of Long Beach, Calif.
Contact: Dan Berlenbach
Units: 1,450 On-Road; 706 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet needed to coordinate with the Public Works Department, contractors, and others unfamiliar with electric vehicles (EVs) to make the transition to EVs. Staff members formed an EV Task Force, helped obtain $872K in grants, and quickly built out charging infrastructure.
4. County of San Diego, Calif.
Contact: John Manring
Units: 3,596 On-Road; 291 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet staff worked with others to develop an electric vehicle (EV) roadmap that encourages the public to convert to EVs and requires the county fleet to convert to an EV/plug-in hybrid fleet in a fiscally responsible manner.
5. City of Tempe, Ariz.
Contact: Tony Miano
Units: 851 On-Road; 262 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Even fully staffed, the operation was still 4,500 annual hours short of the labor it needed, and staff members left faster than could be replaced. Management adjusted technician schedules to allow for flexible overtime, created an internship program, and gained approval to hire temporary technician positions.
6. Denver International Airport, Colo.
Contact: Jeffery Bowman
Units: 600 On-Road; 340 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Due to a high number of complex vehicles, onboarding time was high. Fleet developed a “performance dashboard” that tracks every vehicle and measures each step of the process, providing opportunities to increase efficiency, hold staff members accountable to the process, and keep customers informed.
7. County of San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Contact: Rocky Buoy
Units: 925 On-Road; 122 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet lost 40% of its heavy equipment mechanics due to retirements. Its comprehensive technician training program, based on a program from the U.S. Navy, allowed the fleet to hire less experienced technicians who are good with teamwork.
8. Dakota County Fleet Management, Minn.
Contact: Kevin Schlangen, CPFP, CAFM, CEM
Units: 315 On-Road; 92 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet secured funding to update its fuel system, including upgrading all six fuel islands, the old mechanical system, and software. Staff members upgraded the sites and transaction readers and linked all systems to the new software, saving significant staff time in fuel management.
9. City of Chesapeake, Va., Central Fleet Management
Contact: George Hrichak
Units: 1,349 On-Road; 104 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To address the shortage of heavy equipment technicians and lower public fleet salary in comparison to the private sector, fleet management continued partnerships with local shops, emphasized benefits while hiring, and hired less-experienced technicians who could be trained. All positions are full for the first time in three years.
10. City of Dublin, Ohio
Contact: John Hyatt
Units: 253 On-Road; 53 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The quality of upfitting service was subpar, so the fleet began doing its own upfits for a swap loader and frontline patrol cars. The city saved money by having its technicians install the swap loader.
11. City of San Antonio, Texas, Building & Equipment Services Department
Contact: Ruben Flores
Units: 2,625 On-Road; 152 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: An extensive internal audit found the fleet program to be efficient and effective. Fleet staff also conducted a study and determined it could extend police vehicle lifecycle to 100,000 miles, resulting in a replacement cost avoidance of $1.7 million.
12. City of San Diego, Calif., Fleet Operations Department
Contact: Casey Smith
Units: 4,156 On-Road; 287 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: More than 1,600 vehicles were past their lifecycles. Staff developed a replacement cycle, analyzed financial deficits to preemptively secure new contracts and funding, and successfully secured funding to purchase more than 600 vehicles annually to bring the entire fleet within lifecycle by FY 2025.
13. City of Milwaukee, Wis.
Contact: Jeffrey Tews, CPFP
Units: 2,533 On-Road; 787 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To attract new technicians and retain talent, fleet management worked with various departments and officials to create a new pay matrix that compensates technicians based on experience, training, and technical certifications.
14. County of Sacramento, Calif., Fleet Services Division
Contact: Keith Leech
Units: 2,665 On-Road; 122 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: New regulations required an addition of 22 refuse collection trucks and 20 routes to be added, affecting fleet workload, staffing, and shop space. Fleet management hired a consultant for guidance, and the results reaffirmed fleet’s recommendations and added credibility.
15. City of Sacramento, Calif.
Contact: Mark Stevens
Units: 1,917 On-Road; 604 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet management created a new vehicle replacement model that included points and maintenance costs. This new model is projected to save over $11 million in the next four years.
16. San Joaquin County, Calif.
Contact: Kevin Myose
Units: 1,000 On-Road; 100 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet management needed employees to use its motor pool system with consideration for other users, as some were reserving cars months or weeks ahead without having a need for them. Fleet developed sub-pools and guidelines for these employees, improving their behavior and eliminating complaints.
17. City of Durham, N.C.
Contact: Joseph Clark
Units: 1,502 On-Road; 271 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The number of electric vehicles in the fleet is increasing, but there wasn’t an adequate charging network, and aging facilities cannot handle the infrastructure for all the charging systems needed. Management is performing a study to determine costs and will develop a plan to fund the needed upgrades.
18. City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Contact: Amy Sidwell
Units: 1,594 On-Road; 324 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet staff worked with five stakeholder groups to replace its fleet management system. Staff members set up a project team to oversee the implementation, successfully going live with no implications to daily services.
19. Hillsborough County, Fla., Fleet Management Department
Contact: Robert Stine
Units: 2,300 On-Road; 1,000 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet department continued to demonstrate its value to county leadership and customers by focusing on core services, costs of services (compared to commercial vendors), safety records, and positive customer survey results. As a result, the department continues to be used as an example for others to follow.
20. City of Greenville, S.C.
Contact: Scott McIver
Units: 603 On-Road; 90 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To recruit and retain quality technicians, fleet management began an apprentice program with a local high school. This increases awareness of the fleet industry, while investing in the local economy shows technicians they are valued.
The remaining fleets are listed in alphabetical order:
Charleston County, S.C., Fleet Operations
Contact: Michael Filan
Units: 871 On-Road; 184 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To help attract new technician hires, fleet staff worked with Human Resources to expand job ads to online services, social media, and new areas such as high school technical courses and an automotive intern program.
Chesterfield County, Va., Fleet Services
Contact: Craig Willingham, CAFM
Units: 2,583 On-Road; 500 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: With a low unemployment rate in the area, recruiting technicians has been a challenge, especially for the evening shift. Fleet management revised its hiring requirements (allowing more time to obtain required licenses) and provided a shift differential of $1/hour for new candidates.
City of Boca Raton, Fla.
Contact: Tony Remige
Units: 723 On-Road; 143 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet team implemented telematics to help recognize weak points and make improvements. Now, it can track vehicles in real-time and identify vehicle location and use, improving operations.
City of Buckeye, Ariz.
Contact: Michael DePaulo
Units: 394 On-Road; 66 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To cover workload with the existing number of technicians, fleet management did an extensive oil analysis to extend the interval between preventive maintenance visits and monitored factory warranties to avoid nearly $40,000 in labor costs.
City of Cape Coral, Fla.
Contact: AJ Forbes
Units: 867 On-Road; 785 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet staff have continually worked to improve its natural disaster response plan, which was carried out successfully through both a major tornado and hurricane in past years.
City of Germantown, Tenn.
Contact: Eddie Johnson
Units: 210 On-Road; 71 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Extensive flooding damaged two pieces of fire apparatus. The city reached out to other government agencies through its mutual aid agreements and relied on contracts with private ambulance companies while fleet overhauled the engine on a damaged pumper and ordered a new ambulance.
City of Houston Fleet Management Department
Contact: Marchelle Cain
Units: 9,651 On-Road; 1,331 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The solid waste fleet was severely aged and highly prone to breakdowns. Staff members worked to obtain enough Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to replace most of the aged equipment.
City of Irving, Texas
Contact: Debbie Jackson
Units: 837 On-Road; 497 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Technicians were challenged with balancing time between police vehicle upfitting and repair of the rest of the fleet. Staff members went through a lean Six Sigma process and reduced the upfitting process to three to four days for police vehicles.
City of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Contact: Alf Soros
Units: 327 On-Road; 282 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet had to implement a new software that did not have a fleet module. Staff members worked with the city to ensure fleet needs were met, creating a custom scheduling tool to integrate the new software with the e-mail system for intuitive scheduling.
City of Lakeland, Fla., Fleet Management
Contact: Gary McLean
Units: 1,156 On-Road; 196 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet lost its shop supervisor while prepping for hurricanes and working without a fuel station. Staff sourced more tanker trailers and a second fuel truck to increase its emergency stores and retrofitted both fuel trucks so they could dispense and transfer fuel from trailers to vehicles.
City of Madison, Wis.
Contact: Mahanth Joishy
Units: 924 On-Road; 421 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The operation is governed by arcane local government labor rules and policies. Fleet management has worked around it by developing a recognition program based on key performance indicators and using city mediation services to address conflicts.
City of Midland, Mich.
Contact: Lance Hopper
Units: 210 On-Road; 59 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: A tire repair person retired, so technicians began spending time on tire repairs and replacements. Fleet hired a commercial tire serviceman, who has significantly improved tire shop operations.
City of Oakland, Calif.
Contact: Joseph Williams
Units: 1,500 On-Road; 300 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: With a 50% vacancy rate on the auto/heavy equipment mechanic side, it was difficult to continue to provide a 95% fleet availability rate. Fleet management developed new standard operating procedures resulting in a 94% availability rate.
City of Oceanside, Calif., Fleet Management
Contact: Jeffery Hart
Units: 500 On-Road; 47 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: A second year of reverse fuel auctions was even more successful than the first after including diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and select petroleum products.
City of Peoria, Ariz.
Contact: John Freuden
Units: 691 On-Road; 108 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet transitioned to two new operating systems within six months, a fleet management system and a fuel management system. The team cooperated to manage manual logging and learn new processes.
City of Roseville, Calif.
Contact: Brian Craighead
Units: 657 On-Road; 234 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet focused on controlling operational costs such as fuel, tires, fluids, and parts. This was done by changing purchasing practices and developing five-year contracts with only slight price escalators.
City of Salem, Ore.
Contact: Jim Schmidt
Units: 645 On-Road; 349 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet received approval for a $153,000 facility renovation that included the office, parts room, break room, and restrooms. During this time, the operation maintained its normal workload.
City of Tallahassee, Fla.
Contact: Roger Godwin
Units: 2,069 On-Road; 689 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: A city and fleet reorganization led to confusion, resulting in preventive maintenance compliance falling below 80% completion standards. Fleet made improvements by retraining supervisors and improving staff and customer communication.
City of Tampa, Fla., Fleet Management
Contact: Connie White-Arnold
Units: 2,479 On-Road; 787 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To resolve the problem of inconsistent refuse truck availability, the fleet identified a problem with inverted scheduled versus unscheduled maintenance ratios. After fleet tackled this problem, the vehicle availability rate rose, and technician overtime decreased.
DPW/Indianapolis Fleet Services, Ind.
Contact: Bill Rogers
Units: 3,513 On-Road; 982 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The city plans to transition to post-oil alternatives for its entire 3,600-vehicle fleet by 2025. It purchased its first five zero-emission electric mowers, which will reduce emissions by the equivalent of 10 cars over their service lives.
Iowa State University Transportation Services
Contact: Kathy Wellik, CAFM
Units: 796 On-Road; 5 Off-Road
Staff: 8 full-time; 11 part-time
Overcoming Challenges: The automatic kiosk key management system for accessing motor pool vehicles was small, limiting the number of vehicles that could be checked out. The staff installed a pull-down door in the reception area, tripling the kiosk space.
King County, Wash., Fleet Services
Contact: Jennifer Lindwall
Units: 2,025 On-Road; 297 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: One light-duty shop was inefficient, with poor workflow for people, vehicles, and materials. Shop staff members designed a new layout that includes an increased number of lifts, mounted air and electrical reels, and electrical outlets on the lifts.
Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas
Contact: Miguel Nunez
Units: 1,162 On-Road; 570 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Fleet sought operator compliance with aftermarket modifications and vehicle weight. Staff partnered with the legal team to develop a video reiterating expectations for operators and implemented a manual inspection for compliance.
Manatee County, Fla., Government Fleet
Contact: Matthew Case
Units: 1,694 On-Road; 1,061 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To reduce costs, the fleet team evaluated asset use to identify low-use vehicles for redistribution. Additionally, an updated replacement policy allows for quicker asset evaluation, and standardization made the procurement authorization more efficient.
Miami-Dade County, Fla., ISD Fleet Management
Contact: Alex Alfonso
Units: 10,054 On-Road; 638 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet management team created an automated fleet utilization report to show fleet information in “layman’s terms.” This allows users to easily see information such as underutilized vehicles.
New York City Fleet
Contact: Keith Kerman
Units: 25,615 On-Road; 5,387 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To improve fleet sustainability, the city is purchasing electric vehicles for non-emergency sedans, converting vans and pickups to diesel so they can be fueled via biodiesel, and transitioning police vehicles to include hybrid pursuit vehicles. The fleet is on pace to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2025 and be all-electric by 2040.
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Contact: Varuna Sembukuttige
Units: 2,074 On-Road; 940 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: The fleet replaced 122 internal combustion engine light-duty vehicles with electric vehicles while following its “Buy America” policy and factoring in battery capacity during use in cold weather.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Alaska
Contact: Zaramie Lindseth
Units: 195 On-Road; 181 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: Recruitment, retention, and a less experienced workforce are all challenges. The fleet team focused on growing its own talent through a structured employee development program and invested heavily in OEM/factory training. As a result, the fleet has completed well over 90% of its preventive maintenance.
University of California, Davis
Contact: Dan McCann
Units: 1,029 On-Road; 110 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To update an archaic parts ordering process, fleet staff created an online application that could allow technicians to order from their workstations, track parts orders, and notify others of the order. The new system offers better communication, better reconciliation of parts requested and issued, and more transparent transactions.
Village of Arlington Heights, Ill.
Contact: Ray Salisbury
Units: 229 On-Road; 80 Off-Road
Overcoming Challenges: To reduce its underutilized vehicles, fleet staff created a vehicle assessment scorecard to analyze vehicle needs with each department. Fleet worked with departments to replace vehicles with less expensive, more fuel-efficient vehicles, or not replacing vehicles.
While the Notable Fleets were not named among the Leading Fleets, their accomplishments and efforts warrant recognition.
● Alameda County, Calif.
● Atlantic County Utilities Authority, N.J.
● City of Albany, Ga., Fleet Management Department
● City of Baltimore Department of General Services, Fleet Management Division, Md.
● City of Battle Creek, Mich.
● City of Brampton, Ontario, Canada
● City of Brooklyn Center, Minn.
● City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
● City of Charlotte, N.C.
● City of Conroe, Texas
● City of Coppell, Texas
● City of Fairfax, Va.
● City of Fairfield, Calif.
● City of Fort Wayne, Ind.
● City of Grand Prairie, Texas
● City of Henderson, Nev.
● City of Lewisville, Texas
● City of Little Rock, Ark., Fleet Services
● City of Marietta/BLW, Ga.
● City of Montgomery, Ala., Fleet Management Department
● City of Moreno Valley, Calif.
● City of Moscow, Idaho
● City of Muskogee, Okla.
● City of Newton, Mass.
● City of Orange, Calif.
● City of Phoenix, Ariz.
● City of Raleigh, N.C., Vehicle Fleet Services
● City of Reno, Nev.
● City of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
● City of Richmond, B.C., Canada
● City of Richmond, Va.
● City of Roanoke, Va.
● City of San Angelo, Texas, Fleet Services
● City of San Jose, Calif.
● City of Seattle, Wash.
● City of Ventura, Calif.
● City of West Jordan, Utah
● City of West Palm Beach, Fla.
● City of West University Place,Texas
● City of Wichita, Kan.
● CPS Energy, Texas
● DC Water
● DeKalb County, Ga., Fleet Management
● Fairfax County, Va., Department of Vehicle Services
● General Services Agency, Ventura County, Calif.
● Hanover County, Va.
● Johnson County, Kan.
● Montclair State University, N.J.
● New Jersey City University
● New York City Police Department
● NYC Parks
● Orange County, Fla., Fleet Management
● Osceola County BOCC, Fla.
● Pinellas County, Fla., Fleet Management
● Prince William County, Va., Fleet Management Division, Department of Public Works
● San Antonio Water System, Texas
● Sandy City, Utah
● State of Ohio DAS Office of Fleet Management
● State of Wisconsin - DOT
● Tennessee Valley Authority
● The City of Saginaw, Mich.
● Town of Castle Rock, Colo., Fleet Services
● University of Texas at Austin
Thank You, Judges!
The Leading Fleets judges are fleet managers of former No. 1 fleets and other respected industry professionals. We thank this year’s judges for dedicating many hours to review applications and lending their expertise to the industry.