Many of those in fleet management are baby boomers and are getting ready to retire, but a new generation of fleet professionals is ready to step into their shoes. These fleet professionals under 40 have already made an impression at their own operations or within the industry.
They’re taking steps to educate themselves, whether that’s in technical training, through a college degree, or with a fleet certification. They enjoy their jobs and are committed to improving their operations. And they’re aware of the challenges within the industry, including taking control of advancing technologies and addressing the technician shortage. While they don’t have all the answers yet, they’re ready to tackle these challenges.
How will this demographic change the industry? We’ll find out.
24, light duty shop foreman, Town of Jonesborough, Tenn.
Shane Atkins started in the family business repairing commercial and agricultural vehicles. At Jonesborough, he has taken on the task of modernizing the parts room. He takes night classes to learn about changing equipment on newer vehicles, and he’s taken what he’s learned there to recommend money-saving diagnostic tools that have allowed the fleet to reduce its outsourced repair work. He plans to continue learning about inventory, finance, and asset replacement schedules to broaden his knowledge of fleet management.
CAFM, 35, assistant director, Fleet Management, Palm Beach County, Fla.
Sara Burnam worked at an auto service center while attending college. She took the lead in dealing with larger fleet accounts, which led to a fleet position at Ohio State Highway Patrol. There, she set up a web page for fleet users that had current information they used regularly, providing information faster and reducing calls to the fleet office. She joined the county fleet in the fall of 2015 as part of a succession plan. Burnam’s concern is the industry trend to “do more with less,” and how a new generation of fleet professionals may not have the training necessary to perform their jobs well.
36, fleet supervisor, City of Anaheim, Calif.
Ryan Crabtree passed up an opportunity to study engineering to pursue his passion for cars. He enjoys staying current on automotive technology, diagnostic tools, and shop equipment, a benefit for the Anaheim fleet. He is working on his MBA and hopes to use knowledge from this degree to further streamline the fleet. Crabtree’s top concerns for fleet are emissions regulations and the new technology to address these regulations, as well as how the growing interest of college over trade education will lead to a lack of technicians.
CAFM, 35, fleet program specialist, City of Sacramento, Calif.
Iseña Garcia credits Ford’s Automotive Dealership Program for Minorities for providing her with the experience necessary to work for a public fleet. At a previous fleet, she changed the way bid specs were written and allowed for piggybacking, which reduced vehicle purchase costs through volume discounts. Additional education allowed her to change the procurement process at the City of Sacramento and reduce overall time for asset procurement. She has contributed to the city’s sustainability plan and helped it improve its ranking in fleet awards programs.
CAFM, 33, fleet director, Commonwealth of Virginia
Michael Bisogno studied business administration in college, but worked as a technician when he wasn’t in class. After being named fleet director at the state, he developed a fuel program that consolidated fuel purchases, offering a simplified experience and lowered prices. Bisogno is concerned about the knowledge gap that will be created when baby boomers retire and believes collaborating with others will be key to long-term success. He is evaluating the benefits and challenges that come from big data and how they will affect the industry. Bisogno is chair of the Old Dominion chapter of NAFA.
EMS, 39, fleet maintenance superintendent, Manatee County, Fla.
Matt Case previously worked at a dealership and now oversees maintenance at the county’s four largest service facilities. He was instrumental in the development of the county’s Tier 4 engine preventive maintenance program and regularly enlists his staff to review data for ways to increase staff productivity. Case believes it is imperative to stay abreast of technological advances in the industry and stay engaged with others in the region. He is committed to continuing his education with industry certifications.
37, lead equipment mechanic, San Jose Unified School District, Calif.
Andrew DeBolt’s interest in restoring hot rods led him into the auto industry, and he began with a job at a Ford dealership. When he joined the school district fleet three and a half years ago, he designed a comprehensive maintenance program and worked to purchase and implement a fleet management system. DeBolt is now analyzing fleet’s role in a large service expansion and has various plans for future improvements for the school bus fleet. His concern is harnessing all the data and technology currently available for a useful cause.
38, manager of engineering operations, City of Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Mani Deo began his career as a mechanical engineer before moving to fleet. Since joining the city, he has led an organizational review of fleet operations that resulted in 39 key recommendations for fleet improvement and justified the purchase of a new fleet management system. Deo also brought warranty repairs in house, reducing towing costs and downtime. To address the changing industry, he is focusing on balancing lowering costs with bringing in new clean vehicle technology. He has an MBA.
34, fleet services manager, City of Ontario , Calif.
Craig Grabow was able to reduce fleet operating costs as a civilian employee with the Marine Corps, an experience that will help him tackle challenges at the city fleet, including an airport acquisition. He hopes to address training, education, and recruitment challenges through an onboard training program and is building on a successful internship program. Grabow is passionate about future vehicle technologies and is thankful to have a career that involves these new vehicles. He has a master’s degree in management.
Jacek (Jack) Graczyk
30, director of fleet services, New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Jack Graczyk worked in the car rental industry before joining the New York City fleet, where he quickly rose to the role of director of fleet services. He managed the rollout of truck side guards that led to a local law requiring side guards on city and private refuse trucks; he also coordinated a grant program to retrofit and install diesel particulate filters on city trucks. He hopes to expand the side guard programs and is excited about how advances in vehicle technology will change the design and functionality of future cars. He has an MBA.
36, equipment maintenance supervisor, City of Glendale, Calif.
Sevada Hambarsumian has strong technical skills and has been consistently promoted since joining the city fleet after working in the private sector. In his new role as equipment supervisor, Hambarsumian plans to improve the city’s preventive maintenance (PM) program by finding more efficient ways to schedule and complete PM services. He looks forward to technological advancements that will make fleet more productive and effective but worries that there won’t be enough technicians in the future due to lack of interest.
29, fleet service consultant, City of Rock Hill, S.C.
Ross Lawson previously worked as a dealership technician and now focuses on service writing at the city. His technical knowledge and customer service skills allow him to gain valuable information from customers to assist technicians in making speedy repairs. He started a new numbering system for the fleet management software that will help with vehicle replacements and reduce time on invoices. Lawson is enthusiastic about new technologies in equipment but acknowledges that these vehicles are more difficult to repair and maintain.
34, fleet management administrator, State of New Hampshire
Tara Merrifield took on the newly created state fleet role five years ago. The only employee in the fleet office, she has helped implement legislation regarding tracking non-business use, which led to a reduction of 1.2 million non-business use miles in three years. Merrifield is concerned about how the increase of driver assist tools in vehicles affects drivers and is excited about adding alternative fuels to the state fleet. She has an MBA and is on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators.
34, equipment mechanic, City of Orange, Calif.
Sean Selff worked in the private sector before becoming a fire truck technician. At the city, he worked on preventive maintenance checklists to ensure all technicians were performing the same service procedures on fire apparatus. Selff is concerned about increasing emission standards, and is looking forward to advanced technologies for better tracking of vehicle history and costs.
35, fleet manager, City of Norfolk, Va.
Facundo Tassara joined the public fleet industry in 2012, leading his agencies to award-winning status. When he joined the Norfolk fleet, he improved employee morale and fleet’s relationships with other departments. He set out to verify and correct the data in the city’s fleet management system to ensure accurate reports. Tassara hopes the increasing professionalism in the industry will help it retain talent. He has a master’s degree in public administration and serves on various fleet committees and boards.
CAFM, 37, general services manager, City of West Palm Beach, Fla.
Mario Guzman began working in auto repair shops when he was 20 and studied at night to earn his bachelor’s degree and master’s in public administration. He credits strong technical knowledge and administrative knowledge obtained through continuing education for his career success. At the city, he centralized fleet procurement and maintenance management and created a vehicle replacement program. He is thrilled about the increasing professionalism within the industry, and that organizations are recognizing the positive effects of having a professional fleet manager.
27, fleet acquisitions manager, Sarasota County, Fla.
When she joined the county fleet three years ago, Brianne Hayes brought a fresh set of eyes to old processes that had become comfortable, and she has made improvements in procedures that eliminate excess work and ensure accuracy. She is working on fleet certifications as well as purchasing and integrating more advanced modules into the fleet management software. She is a regional representative for the Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators. Hayes is eager to see how growing technologies will change diagnostics and preventive maintenance, as well as the increasing interest of women in fleet.
38, motor pool administrator, State of Missouri
Sylvia McGhee joined the Missouri fleet after graduating from college with a triple major. She manages a consolidated motor pool with multiple pool locations that has eliminated 44% of pool vehicles while accommodating more trips and miles for state employees. She works to keep utilization high and optimize vehicle replacements to keep repair costs low. Her goal is to automate more motor pool processes, encourage use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, and increase customer satisfaction.
38, equipment maintenance supervisor, City of San Jose, Calif.
David Mesa worked as a technician at various locations until he joined the city fleet. He recently worked on a fueling infrastructure upgrade that allowed B-20 biodiesel to be dispensed at all city fueling sites. He hopes to expand the city’s use of renewable diesel. Mesa enjoys learning about evolving vehicle technology but is concerned about finding the balance between adopting new technologies and waiting to see how they develop. He serves as vice president of the Public Fleet Supervisors Association (PFSA).
34, fleet supervisor, City of Santa Monica, Calif.
Marc Zamora studied automotive technology before joining the city fleet, and he continues to educate himself by learning from fleet associations and at conferences. At the city fleet, he made existing space more efficient and is working on improving preventive maintenance accountability. He’s excited about future vehicle technology that reduces dependency on fossil fuels and is concerned about veteran fleet staff being able to transfer their knowledge to the younger generation.