Ken Lett joined as the acquisition manager of the city of Alexandria, Virginia, in June 2022. The city of Alexandria has a fleet size of approximately 1,040 vehicles.
With a bachelor’s in aviation/business management and a master’s in human resources, Lett started his career in several different positions such as sales, customer service, asset management, finance, operations, and project management.
He is also a member of Fleet Management Association (NAFA) and the American Public Works Association (APWA).
Because of his experience in multiple fields, he’s been called a “jack of all trades.” But what solidified his career in the fleet industry was being a fleet manager for psychotherapeutic outreach services.
“I have always had a passion for transportation in general. My first experience with fleet was with psychotherapeutic outreach services as a fleet manager and discovered that I had a passion for working with vehicles,” Lett says
During his fleet manager role, he was able to build experience in the industry. Lett’s accomplishments include standardizing the fleet and reducing overall cost and maintenance.
With the experience of multiple roles in his career, easing into the acquisition manager role has been a breeze.
Some of Lett’s current responsibilities include researching and determining specs on vehicles and equipment, establishing contracts, purchasing, registering, titling, and auctions of assets. He is also tasked with standardizing the fleet and reducing overall cost and maintenance.
He added, “I am primarily tasked with vehicle and equipment acquisition and disposal, or ‘cradle to grave’ requirements.”
Thinking Outside the Box
Hobbies outside of work and “thinking outside the box” can not only benefit your career but also your personal life.
One past role of Lett’s really changed how he viewed the industry and helped him think outside the box in his career — project manager at Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority.
“This position allowed me to be innovative daily and create ideas to generate revenue and cut costs,” he says.
The constant need to create ideas set the tone for his future roles. “Innovative thinking is a constant in everything I plan to do, as it ensures that I am providing the best service daily.”
Becoming a jack of all trades didn’t stop with his career. What really helped him grow in the transportation industry and his personal life are his hobbies.
Like his past roles, he also has a diverse range of hobbies such as writing, creating music, poetry, video games, sports, fishing, carpentry, and of course, working and modifying his vehicles.
“I have many hobbies that encourage me to be continuously innovative. I believe in having diverse interests, continuously learning, and self-reflecting,” he states.
Last year brought challenges for every industry, including transportation. We witnessed supply chain restraints, parts shortages, labor shortages, and more.
Luckily for Lett, he loves thinking of innovative solutions, problem-solving, and learning more about vehicles and equipment.
To combat these challenges, he increased the time spent on researching more than usual to locate the best and most efficient equipment for the City of Alexandria employees to perform their duties.
As for 2023 and beyond, electrification and reducing emissions are in his future.
Lett states, “I’m very excited about some of the changes we are working on. We are very close to expanding our charging infrastructure and purchasing more electric and hybrid vehicles that will reduce the city’s fleet carbon output.”
When it comes to starting out as a fleet manager in the industry, Lett advises, “Learn from those who have years of experience to share and network as much as possible. Attend as many conferences as you possibly can continuously share information and learn from others what may make your fleet more efficient and productive.”