Larry Campbell, CPFP, worked in fleet for nearly 50 years, most recently as the Fleet Operations Director in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 20 years.  -  Photo: Photo: Government Fleet/Canva

Larry Campbell, CPFP, worked in fleet for nearly 50 years, most recently as the Fleet Operations Director in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 20 years.

Photo: Photo: Government Fleet/Canva

Larry Campbell, CPFP, is hanging up his hat after 32 years in public fleet, and 48 years in fleet total. Campbell has most reccently served as Fleet Operations Director in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A Look Back at Campbell's Career

Campbell began his fleet career as a mechanic's helper in 1975 with a construction company. Then, he worked in construction equipment sales for five years, learning a lot about equipment utilization and lifecycles.

Around 1991, Campbell was brought in as fleet manager for the Allen County, Indiana, Highway Department to solve a personnel problem. During his time with Allen County, he managed two fleet garages and several miles of roads.

In 2003, Campbell began working as the fleet manager for the city of Fort Wayne; he worked for the city for 20 years.

Awards and Recognition

The city of Fort Wayne was named in NAFA's 100 Best Fleets nearly every year during Campbell's leadership, taking the #1 spot in 2006.

The city of Fort Wayne has also been named among Government Fleet's top 50 Leading Fleets over the years.

In 2012, Campbell was named the Government Fleet Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year. Then in 2014, he was inducted to the Government Fleet Public Fleet Hall of Fame in its founding year.

Larry Campbell was named the  Government Fleet  2012 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year.  -  Photo: Government Fleet

Larry Campbell was named the Government Fleet 2012 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year.

Photo: Government Fleet

In 2022, Campbell was named the Professional Manager of the Year - Public Fleet for the American Public Works Association (APWA) – Indiana Chapter.

Bettering Fort Wayne's Fleet Operations

Over the years, Campbell has headed up a number of projects in Fort Wayne to better the fleet operations.

When he first started there, the city didn't have any fleet processes in place. He created in-processing and out-processing sheets fleet data forms, and information on vehicle lifecycles for the department's FASTER fleet management system to make operations more efficient.

In 2010, Campbell (right) participated in a  roundtable discussion  with  Government Fleet  on budget issues affecting public sector fleet managers.  -  Photo: Government Fleet

In 2010, Campbell (right) participated in a roundtable discussion with Government Fleet on budget issues affecting public sector fleet managers.

Photo: Government Fleet

In 2018, Campbell and other city leaders made the decision to bring maintenance work in-house after 22 years of it being outsourced. Part of that work involved restructuring the staffing system to ensure all of the fleet employees were paid fairly. Overall, the change created a more efficient workflow and helped the department save money.

In 2022, Campbell was able to secure a hedging fuel contract with a low cost-per-gallon for the following fiscal year, despite high prices caused by Russia's war on Ukraine.

Over the last decade-plus, Campbell led the city's efforts to transition to alt-fuel vehicles when possible. He is an Honorary Director for Greater Indiana Clean Cities, where he has been on the board since 2003. Campbell has also taken home several awards through Greater Indiana Clean Cities.

Fort Wayne's fleet facility has received an ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, which requires at least 75% of technicians performing diagnosis and repairs to be ASE certified.

Campbell was on Ford's Police Advisory Board and assisted with the automaker's development of its Police Interceptor Utility (PIU), which the company reports outsells all other police vehicle makes and models combined.

Campbell's Advice for Fleet Managers

Looking back on his career, Campbell noted the relationships he has formed in the public sector fleet industry. He's pictured here at the 2023  Government Fleet Expo & Conference  in Dallas.  -  Photo: Ross Stewart Photography

Looking back on his career, Campbell noted the relationships he has formed in the public sector fleet industry. He's pictured here at the 2023 Government Fleet Expo & Conference in Dallas.

Photo: Ross Stewart Photography

With nearly five decades in fleet, Campbell has gained a lot of knowledge about the industry. His advice is to embrace change.

"There's always something changing in the automotive industry or within fleets. Whether it's new technology coming out, alternative fuels, the electrical side of it — there are so many other things. It never stops changing. If you don't stay on top of it, it's going to pass you by. And it'll pass you quickly," Campbell said.

He also wanted to take the time to thank his wife for being supportive over the years.

What's Next for Campbell

Campbell said he's not sure where he'll land, but he knows he will find something else to do in public fleet.

"I don't want to totally walk away from it; it's still in my blood," Campbell said.

Steve Gillette, the city's purchasing agent, is taking over the Fort Wayne fleet department.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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