John S. Hunt began his professional career in Fresno, CA in 1977 working with large fleets in the private sector. - Photo: Government Fleet

John S. Hunt began his professional career in Fresno, CA in 1977 working with large fleets in the private sector.

Photo: Government Fleet

John S. Hunt, CPFP, Public Fleet Hall of Fame inductee and co-founder of Public Fleet Advisors LLC, passed away on Saturday, April 6, at the age of 66.

Early Life and Leaving a Legacy within the Fleet Industry

Hunt began his professional career in Fresno, California, in 1977 working with large fleets in the private sector. In 1987 Hunt joined the city of Fresno fleet management division as a mechanic.  

He studied business at California State University, Fresno and, moving up the ranks from mechanic to manager, Hunt advanced from working on public sector equipment to building the fleet budget. In 2004, Hunt's hands-on experience and administrative knowledge helped the city of Fresno complete the nation’s most rigorous fleet industry certification.

In 2005, Fresno received the Clean Cities National Partner Award for City Fleet of the Year by the United States Department of Energy. In June 2005 Hunt was named the first-ever Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year by Government Fleet Magazine.

"John was a servant leader in the government fleet industry and was very giving of his time to help other fleet professionals," stated David Worthington, Santa Clara County, California, fleet manager. "He was also innovative and did not shy away from solving the most challenging problems for the fleet operations he managed. Even in retirement he was educating fleet professionals through training events held across the Country.  He was one of the very best of the best in our industry."

Leading the City of Portland's Fleet

In November 2005, Hunt was recruited by the city of Portland’s fleet operation where his responsibilities included managing 77 employees with over 900 years of combined fleet experience, seven service and repair shops, 10 fueling stations, two mobile fuel trucks, and an automated motor pool.  

The diverse fleet consisted of approximately 3,300 vehicles and pieces of equipment valued at over $135 million. The annual capital acquisition budget was over $18 million and operating budget was over $19.6 million.

Services included: fleet management, acquisitions, equipment support, preventive maintenance, equipment repair and services, accident repair/body shop services, fabrication, welding, motor pool, and fueling. Portland was recognized as a quality service provider with competitive prices, which led to providing services to outside agencies.

Accolades, Awards, and Memorable Moments

Under Hunt's leadership, Portland rapidly transformed and received national recognition by Government Fleet Magazine and The 100 Best Fleets in North America program.  Portland went from an unranked fleet in 2005 to #1 in 2011 and maintained Government Fleet Magazines Elite Fleet status for the five-year maximum term.

In 2007, Hunt was certified by the American Public Works Association (APWA) as a Certified Public Fleet Professional (CPFP). In 2008, he received The Professional Manager of the Year Award in Public Fleet award from APWA for outstanding achievements.

Hunt served on several Boards and Commissions that support public fleet managers including the APWA, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Fleet Managers Association, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force (SETF).  

In June 2014, he was among 10 inaugural members inducted into Government Fleet Magazine’s Public Fleet Hall of Fame, which recognizes fleet leaders and pioneers who have significantly contributed to the profession.

In June 2015, the Government Fleet Management Alliance (GFMA) and the Coalition for Green Fleet Management awarded the City of Portland with highest industry honors as the very first of only two fleets in the nation to be named a Fleet Masters operation. Fleets must have both a Certified Fleet Management Operation (CFMO) and CLEANFleet certification in order to earn the Fleet Masters designation. 

After many years of managing organizations and teaching fleet management, Hunt co-founded Public Fleet Advisors LLC in 2017 to provide fleet management mentorship and training to public fleet organizations. Before his retirement last year, he was a principal advisor and enjoyed helping fleet organizations implement efficiencies to streamline and strengthen their competitive edge.

"John Seaton Hunt III, CPFP was a very knowledgeable and dedicated fleet manager as well as a devoted son and brother, loving husband, father and grandfather," said Sam P. Lamerato, CPFP. "He had a passion for the fleet industry and believed in giving back by sharing his knowledge at seminars and conferences as well as mentoring fellow colleagues in the industry. His presence will be missed by everyone who had the privilege to know him."

Hunt enjoyed bicycling and traveling around the U.S. and was a member of his Homeowner's Association where he implemented a corrective preventive maintenance program to reduce the cost of maintaining the communities. 

He is survived by his wife, Betsy, his three children and two grandchildren, and his mother and sister who live in California. 

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