What can shoes teach us about fleet? A lot. - Photo: Government Fleet | Bill Pugh

What can shoes teach us about fleet? A lot. 

Photo: Government Fleet | Bill Pugh

What is it about shoes that make them so interesting? Is it the patterns? Is it the colors? Is it the fact that the same shoe is available in different patterns and colors? A person who might know a thing or two about this is Bill Pugh, a tech founder and entrepreneur I met at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference this year in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Bill’s background is interesting. He's navigated through different technology companies that have landed him as an industry thought leader. He is the co-founder of a consulting firm, Smart Connections Consulting, which aims to align organizations with smart solutions that often result in revenue streams.

Additionally, Bill is the co-founder of True North Software Solutions, a SaaS company that builds and operates digital twins and distributed ledger solutions for cities and municipalities.

But, most interesting of all, at least for me because I am a shoe obsessionare myself (I think I just made up a word) is meeting the king of all shoe obsessions, at a fleet event of all places. Bill has over 1,000 pairs of shoes. I didn’t make a mistake on the zeros, he has over one thousand pairs of shoes.

As you first meet Bill, you may think, “well, Bill is really lucky,’’ or “Bill must be a billionaire!”
None of those are true. What is true is that Bill has always liked shoes and as a young man, he couldn’t afford to buy the shoes he wanted. As he progressed along his career, shoes suddenly became more affordable and eventually, Bill’s reward to himself as he hit certain milestones were…you guessed it, shoes!

A few of the shoes in Bill Pugh's collection. - Photo: Bill Pugh

A few of the shoes in Bill Pugh's collection. 

Photo: Bill Pugh

Bill and I talked about shoes at GFX. In fact, the shoes he had on were 50th anniversary
Converse that came out on his 50th birthday!

So, what does Bill’s shoe collection have to do with fleet management? Pretty simple if you ask me, nothing! Actually, that’s a joke…everything! You see, Bill didn’t just wake up one day to find 999 pairs of shoes under the Christmas tree…the collection started 20 years ago.

He cleans them regularly, in fact he has a “Preventive Maintenance Schedule” for his shoes with very specific products which he performs on defined intervals. How is that for a similarity to fleet management? Pretty good huh!

Ok, let’s get to the point, the key take away is this: if you are looking to achieve something
significant overnight, play the lottery…and good luck. If you want to take a chance on something a little more practical, start building your foundation towards that significant achievement brick by brick, #perseverance.

Fun fact, the original racetrack at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had 3.2 million bricks, which have been removed and replaced with a much smoother surface although a three-foot strip remains at the start/finish line.

I have spoken with hundreds of fleet professionals over the years, from fleet consultants to fleet tech company founders and seasoned fleet managers. None of them have had instant success, not with technology or with a policy. In fact, most started with the basics and the common themes seem to be:

  1. Don’t reinvent the wheel, when in doubt…ask a fleet friend.
  2. The easiest way to fail is to not have a plan but expect to be punched in the mouth resulting in needing to make an adjustment.
  3. If you stay the same, you will fall behind: innovate, improve, adjust.
  4. Small incremental changes = a success rate that is much higher.

Read Facundo Tassara's Last Blog: Breaking The Mold

About the author
Facundo Tassara

Facundo Tassara

Fleet Success Ambassador, RTA: The Fleet Success Company.

Facundo Tassara is the fleet success ambassador with RTA: The Fleet Success Company. He previously worked as the fleet manager for the cities of Norfolk, Va., and Ormond Beach, Fla.

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