The Northern California chapter of the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA) held its second annual event at the Sonoma Raceway on July 12. The event brought about 160 fleet professionals from the region together to network, discuss fleet technologies and services, and ride in “hot laps” around the raceway.
“Last year we held the event in May and it was standing room only…after that we decided we had to find more meeting space,” said David Worthington, fleet manager at Sonoma County and MEMA chapter secretary and event organizer. “The biggest draw to this is the hot laps at lunchtime, and [Sonoma Raceway is in] a central location with a lot of free parking.”
In addition to an exhibit area and various vehicles on display, attendees could attend sessions from two tracks, with session topics that included electric vehicle deployment and infrastructure, hybrid aerial truck technology, automated fuel management, and renewable diesel.
“I’m attending the event to attend [the sessions] and learn from the various vendors what type of products they’re currently offering. And also I’m looking forward to the ride and drive,” said attendee Isena Garcia, program specialist for the City of Sacramento fleet.
For Mitch Southard, water coordinator and fleet manager for the Sonoma County Water Agency, the ability to connect with other fleet managers was key.
“I’m looking at getting a new fleet software so I’m trying to touch base with the other fleet managers that are here, see what they’re using, what they like and don’t like,” he said.
Joe Trujillo, light fleet manager for Sacramento County, was there to learn more about clean fleets. “Since Keith [Leech] has been on board, we’ve really been proactive on the green energy side, so it is primarily networking,” he said. Trujillo added that he wanted to learn from peers in the area spearheading green fleet initiatives and enjoyed Toyota’s session on safety technology.
During lunch, attendees could participate in “hot laps” around the racetrack with a professional driver. Vehicles of various makes and models were available for the event, including a Ferrari and a Mini Cooper.
With the event’s success, Worthington hopes to continue growing it by partnering with more associations and bringing in more vehicles to exhibit.
This year’s event was held in conjunction with the East Bay Clean Cities and Sacramento Clean Cities
“This is the second year we’ve done this program here, and we see this as part of our mission to bring fleet managers together,” said Dave Head of Head Fleet Management, chapter president.