Nearly two dozen students from Traviss Technical College in Polk County, Florida, learned there’s more to running the county’s Fleet Management Division than just working under the hoods of cars when they visited for a tour of the facility on Jan. 20.
Keeping inventory, working with municipal partners, calls to the field, rotations of vehicles, service scheduling, and retail partners are also part of the mix — and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the types of vehicles and machines they could one day operate themselves once they graduate.
“We showed them all the different operations that go on here at Central Fleet and walked them through the stage of our repair and maintenance procedures,” said Fleet Management Director Robert Biller.
Biller took the group of students through the various stations and units within the county’s Fleet Management Division to provide a realistic look at potential careers the students might enter once they graduate school.
Not only is it a benefit for the students to see and hear what the county does, but it also serves as a recruiting tool for potential new hires in a field that is in high demand.
“We are trying to give these young technicians an idea of what they’re looking forward to in their life as a mechanic,” Biller said. “Right now, industry-wide, there is a shortage of technicians. So, if we can plant a seed and get them interested in what the county does, it will be beneficial for us in the future and help us find technicians when we need them.”
Right now, out of the county’s 39 technicians, four of them are Traviss Technical College graduates.
“We’ve been successful in the past couple of years bringing them over,” Biller added.
From bucket trucks to fire engines and pickups, Polk’s Fleet Management Division repairs and maintains more than 2,400 vehicles and equipment owned by the county and its constitutional officers. While a large part of the division’s responsibilities includes maintaining those vehicles, employees of the division also conduct repairs that occur from traffic accidents, theft, vandalism, and other mishaps.