The Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators (FLAGFA) and NAFA Fleet Management Association, Sunshine State Chapter, held their combined bi-annual conference at the Tradewinds Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sept. 4-6. Approximately 370 regular and affiliate members attended FLAGFA’s 35-year celebration.
The conference and educational seminars started early Wednesday with FLAGFA/NAFA, in conjunction with the Center for Professional Fleet Certification Inc., offering the Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM) exams. Mario Guzman, CAFM, fleet manager for City of Boynton Beach, Fla., held a fleet asset management boot camp in the morning. Dave Roussel, manager, fleet operations, Orange County, Fla., and president of FLAGFA, hosted a ‘Meet and Greet’ on Wednesday evening, allowing governmental attendees as well as vendor representatives a chance to network and enjoy.
Roussel kicked off the meeting Thursday with a moment of silence for Collier County Fleet Operations Supervisor and FLAGFA President Lynn Evans, who passed away July 9. A tribute to Evans was also written in the Fleetline magazine handed out at the conference. Roussel briefly discussed the agenda and welcomed all attendees.
During the conference, members also voted for new officers. Roussel, who became president after Evans’ passing, was voted in as the new president for the association. Other new officers are: Tim Calhoun, fleet director, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, vice president; Chris Grunder, Palm Beach County, secretary; and Sean Williams, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, treasurer.
Vicki Duval, senior office assistant for the Public Works Division of the City of Coral Springs, Fla., was presented with the President’s Distinguished Service Award. Duval received this award for her outstanding service and dedication to FLAGFA and her community. Duval was acknowledged by her peers for “her willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.” Duval handles all hotel arrangements, meals, vendor exhibition, and event closeout. Just recently she took on the assembly of FLAGFA’s Fleetline publication for the 35th Anniversary edition. This award is not an annual or recurring award; it is solely based on the record and merits of the individual recipient.
Michele Wetherington, CAFM, FLAGFA representative to the Center for Professional Fleet Certification Inc., provided an update on the CAFM and CAFS certification process as well as scholarship opportunities. She noted that if five or more FLAGFA members sign up for the certification program, they would be given a group discount.
Educational & Informative Sessions
President Roussel introduced the first presenter, Claude Masters, CAFM, president of NAFA. Masters discussed the most recent Institute and Expo in Atlantic City, N.J., and his vision for the future of his term as president of NAFA.
Susan Boyer, Florida Benchmarking Consortium (FBC), and Gary McLean, fleet manager, City of Lakeland, Fla., shared the work they have done benchmarking state, county, and city fleets. There are approximately 52 local government members in the FBC. Each local government member participates across 18 local government performance- and management-focused service areas. FBC provides more than 670 performance measures that have been dynamically crafted, managed, and improved over time by service area experts from Florida's local government. Local governments can use this benchmarking information to compare themselves with similar-sized organizations within the state.
Josh Chard, director of product and corporate safety, Altec Industries, presented updates to the latest B30 crane standard. He also reviewed what changes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has instituted relating to safety inspections and building of material handling trucks.
James Dunst, national training director, Bell Performance, did a presentation that set many fleet managers back in their seats. He discussed the effects of low-sulfur diesel fuel and ethanol on the newer engines and how critical it is to maintain and verify the quality of fuel used in these engines. He discussed the four major problems with ethanol. One is that it is hygroscopic and attracts water. Once water is introduced, the shelf life of fuel is only a few weeks. Ethanol is highly corrosive and also a powerful solvent. Dunst also spoke of additives that will help prevent some of the damaging effects of ethanol-blended gasoline. Dunst also spoke about the causes of diesel engine failure. He stated that microbial growth of fungus, mold, and bacteria is the number one cause of these failures. The second major problem that causes diesel engine failures is asphaltenes forming from degraded fuel. Once again, fuel quality is extremely important. Eliminating water in fuel and regularly inspecting fuel storage tanks are two necessary actions to maintain fuel quality. Dunst briefly discussed the effects EPA mandates have had on diesel fuel quality and engine-related issues.
Vehicle & Product Information
On the afternoon of Sept. 5, FLAGFA members explored goods and services offered by more than 80 exhibitors. These exhibitors made product and purchasing information available and included an outside display of vehicles and equipment.
Alan Jay Group has, for a number of years, donated a motorized cooler for raffle at the Fall conference. To celebrate the 35th anniversary, FLAGFA/NAFA members enjoyed a BBQ dinner and were entertained afterward by a new form of ‘racing’ on these motorized coolers.
On Sept. 6, Masters moderated a question-and-answer session with management representatives from Chrysler, Ford, GM, and Toyota. James McCoy from Chrysler, Tony Gratson from Ford, Brian Bowden from General Motors, and Mike Bassette from Toyota were very candid and forthright with members’ questions regarding product concerns, new product offerings, fuel mileage mandates, and collaboration among manufacturers.
President Roussel wrapped up the 35th conference thanking all who worked diligently to make the conference a success. He stated the spring 2014 FLAGFA/NAFA conference will be held March 26-28, 2014 at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla.