Many people hope to find a career they are truly passionate about in their lifetime. Chris Trull, fleet manager for the City of Charlotte, N.C., is one of the lucky few who have achieved this. His father was a mechanic, which means Trull grew up around vehicles and heavy equipment. Trull also took an interest in management, so he graduated college with a degree in it. Both passions have served him well and helped shape him into who he is as a fleet manager today.
Making it Happen
The City of Charlotte has six shops, three of which have two shifts. Trull helps oversee those locations, and he also works with the budget office from a strategic level to make decisions on vehicle replacements.
He says assisting with daily operations is what continues to interest him.
“Ensuring the fleet is always available for police, fire, solid waste and water enables them to be able to take care of citizens, and it’s a point of pride that our department gets to assist in making that happen.”
Prepping for a Sustainable Future
The City of Charlotte is currently in the process of building another shop with the goal of creating a facility that is as carbon-neutral as possible. It will have solar panels on the roof, electric vehicle charging stations outside the shop, and geothermal flooring.
“This kind of innovation gets you to think outside the box, which is always a good thing. We’re also in discussions about putting in a conduit to set up large charging stations for when electric dump trucks and construction equipment become more prevalent in the market. It’s something I wouldn't have thought about without our sustainability and building group. We're doing what we can to prepare in advance for what the fleet will look like years down the road.”
Staying Healthy Enough to Assist
Dealing with the fallout caused by COVID-19 is obviously a huge challenge for every fleet. Trying to balance the safety of employees – and by extension, their families - with trying to get a job done on a regular basis can be taxing.
“We regularly come into contact with garbage trucks, police cars and fire trucks, which can potentially expose us to this highly contagious virus. It’s become a matter of protecting the individuals who help make these vehicles run so government workers can, in turn, help provide the best service to citizens.”
Rearranging schedules to ensure proper social distancing has made it somewhat difficult to execute jobs as fast as they did pre-COVID, but that doesn’t stop Trull’s team from doing their best.
Leading by Connecting
Throughout the years, Trull has been exposed to varying leadership styles that have helped him form his own.
“Connecting with your people is absolutely vital. You need to treat them as individuals, not assets. If you do that, they become more productive because they want everyone to succeed as a team. You have to be genuine; this isn’t something that can be faked. Do this early on in your career, and it will go a long way.”