At a Glance

Campbell's accomplishments at the City of Fort Wayne, Ind., include:

  • Updating the maintenance shop.
  • Creating a point system for procurement.
  • Locking in fuel prices for 2011, leading to significant savings in fuel costs.
  • Expanding the City's alternative-fuel fleet.

Larry Campbell, CPFP

Larry Campbell, CPFP


Larry Campbell, CPFP, started in fleet as a mechanic’s helper 34 years ago, and has risen to become one of the most respected public-sector fleet managers in the industry, being selected the 2012 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year. And this isn’t the first year he and his fleet have been recognized. Campbell, fleet management director for the City of Fort Wayne, Ind., led the City fleet to No. 1 of the 100 Best Fleets in 2006 and has been either an Elite Fleet or on the top 20 since.

The award is judged by a peer group of 16 public-sector fleet managers from around the country. Sponsored by the Government Fleet Management Alliance (GFMA) and Fleet Counselor Services (FCS), the award recognizes excellence in fleet management. Campbell accepted a trophy at the Government Fleet Expo and Conference (GFX) on June 20.

“It was very much a team effort,” Campbell said during his acceptance speech. “I want to thank the staff back in Fort Wayne, because without them, this could not have happened.”

Leading & Promoting a ‘Green’ Path
As president of the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Board of Directors, Campbell has helped lead the drive toward alternative-­fuel fleet vehicles in the State. The coalition acts as a resource for member fleets in their deployment of alternative fuels and technologies, mainly in the form of educational events and training. Since his presidency at Clean Cities, the coalition has been able to grow through grants and training, moving from one part-time director to a full-time director position with two additional part-time staff, Campbell said.

In the Fort Wayne fleet, he has been able to provide a positive example of alternative fuel use through his work with International Trucks to develop a jetter truck with an Eaton hybrid drive system. After nearly three years in development, the fleet was able to deploy and use the concept vehicle.

The hybrid system allows operators to use the truck in hybrid mode, with the ­vehicle not running, while they set up a work zone. This eliminates idling time on a set-up that could take 20-30 minutes, Campbell said.
Because the truck is funded partially by grants, the fleet has to keep track of fuel savings for reporting purposes. Campbell reported a 45-47% in fuel savings compared to other trucks doing the same type of work.

Other alternative-fuel vehicles in the fleet include 38 hybrid Ford Escapes, 10 hybrid Ford Fusions, five all-electric Think cars, and an International truck with an aftermarket Enova hybrid system. Additionally, all diesel vehicles use B-20, and 57% of City-owned vehicles are E-85 capable. In 2011, the City used 124,000 gallons of E-85, with each gallon costing about 35 cents less than regular gasoline.

Fort Wayne technicians hard at work.

Fort Wayne technicians hard at work.

Larry Campbell (center) with Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year finalists Kevin Schlangen, CPFP, Dakota County, Minn., and Dave Head, Sonoma County, Calif.

Larry Campbell (center) with Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year finalists Kevin Schlangen, CPFP, Dakota County, Minn., and Dave Head, Sonoma County, Calif.


Fort Wayne Fleet's Key Numbers
On-road units 1,115
Off-road units 720
Maintenance facilities 2
Budget $7.3M
Technician-to-equipment ratio 1:111
Fleet availability in 2011 98.6%
PM compliance in 2011 95%
Gallons of E-85 used in 2011 124,000
Fuel savings from use of E-85 and locking gasoline fuel price in 2011 $109,000

Notable Accomplishments
While Campbell focuses on greening the Fort Wayne fleet, his list of other accomplishments at the City is extensive. One of them is upgrading the fleet facility to modern standards, with modern technology. This includes having a wi-fi-enabled shop, purchasing three laptops for the shop floor, and reducing paper usage. Fleet software continues to be upgraded and improved, giving the fleet department the ability to track equipment cost, utilization, fuel economy, and appropriate life cycling.

“When you see the facility, where it is today from when I started, it’s 200% better, and it helped morale,” Campbell said.

He’s also led the development and use of a point system for procurement, and used it to explain to City Council members why the lowest bid may not always be the best bid.

Campbell attributes his success and that of the fleet to great City management and fleet staff.

Campbell attributes his success and that of the fleet to great City management and fleet staff.

“It’s not just about pricing. It has to do with parts availability, past service, location from our facility to their door. If someone was bidding from Indianapolis, that’s 140 miles for parts if they don’t have a dealership here,” he said. He also inputs information about resale value at the end of lifecycle and fuel consumption.

“It has become a tool that is used at the time of bid opening and to show justification for bid award,” he said.

Productivity at the shop is high — Campbell reported total fleet availability for 2011 was 98.6%. Turn-around goals are 80% completion in 24 hours and 90% completion by 48 hours — 2011 averages exceed, meet, or are close to meeting these turnaround times across all vehicle groups.

An ISO 9001:2000-certified shop, the fleet is driven to ensure high marks in customer satisfaction. Customer response cards come back with high satisfaction rates. Any negative responses result in an investigation ­outlining a resolution and action plan to avoid the issue in the future.

A locked-in fuel price for 2011 ensured the fleet kept on budget for fuel, and led to significant savings. The City negotiated with local vendors for a locked price not only for its centralized fueling facility, but also its satellite fueling locations. The locked fuel price averaged 14% less than an OPIS plus price that was originally bid for regular unleaded gasoline. That price difference, coupled with the lower price of E-85, led to total savings of $109,000 in 2011.

Campbell helped his son restore a 1968 Caramo when his son was in high school.

Campbell helped his son restore a 1968 Caramo when his son was in high school.


Campbell still enjoys operating equipment.

Campbell still enjoys operating equipment.


Keeping Fleet Fun

One of Campbell’s favorite parts of his job is a joint equipment operator contest/safety training day that the City sponsors for its employees. The City sets up different courses and stages where operators compete. The program was developed to address operator safety, and to act as a safety reminder. Operators might get to drive a piece of equipment they don’t normally run every day in order to get some training on it, Campbell said.

Campbell himself gets to go out and compete with operators.

“It’s still fun to go out there and run that type of equipment,” Campbell said.

He also helped launch a State-wide snowplow “roadeo” years ago. Most recently organized by Purdue University’s Local Technician Assistance Program (LTAP), the annual event pits the best operators in the State against one another, and Campbell said an operator from the City of Fort Wayne has won four years now, with a City employee always taking home top honors in the single-­axle or tandem truck in snow plowing.

In addition to training days for equipment operators, there’s also training for passenger vehicles on a different date. Police officers come out to judge a driving course for passenger vehicles during a safety day in the summer, the same course that officers run their cars through, according to Campbell. In the past few years, they were able to hold the event at an airport, on one of the runways not in use.

“When we did that in past, our accidents have reduced,” Campbell said. “When we don’t do it, we see an increase.”

The City's alternative-fuel fleet and hybrids befor electric cars came in.

The City's alternative-fuel fleet and hybrids befor electric cars came in.

With a Little Help from the Team

While hard work and making the right decisions have led Campbell to the honor of being named Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year, Campbell said management and staff have all contributed to his and the fleet’s success.

“I’ve worked with some great people, and I’ve got a great staff now, all the way through,” Campbell said. “Both mayors I’ve worked with have been very supportive of the fleet, and one of them told me, ‘I didn’t know there was that much savings in a fleet, or that we could make our fleet as one of the leaders.’ ”

He recalled one lesson he learned from a supervisor years ago, when he made a decision the supervisor didn’t like but was willing to support.

“He said, ‘I want you to look at this as a decision you make not this week, or next week, or next year, but you need to look at what it’s going to be five years, all the way to 10 years [down], how it’s going to affect [things],’ ” Campbell said. “I always look at it that way.”

When asked if he had any advice to give, Campbell said, “Don’t get frustrated. Don’t give up. If you have a goal in mind, sometimes you’re going to fall down a few rungs…Keep a positive attitude.”


  • Larry Campbell, fleet management director, City of Fort Wayne, Ind.
About the author
Thi Dao

Thi Dao

Former Executive Editor

Thi is the former executive editor of Government Fleet magazine.

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