As I stood on the stage during The Honors Ceremony at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX) in June, handing out the Leading Fleets and other awards, I was filled with pride. This was what we, the awards organizers and applicants, had been working toward since the beginning of the year, this moment when fleets and fleet managers are recognized for their accomplishments. What did it take for them to get to where they were?

No doubt some fleets dash off quick responses and submit their applications immediately. But many fleets work on their Leading Fleets submissions for months, or start preparing a year prior, by making a list of their accomplishments throughout the year.

Having communicated with many of these fleet managers about the award and for other purposes throughout the year, I’m happy to see them in person in such a buoyant mood, receiving recognition for their fleets. In some cases, this is one of the few events where their fleets are celebrated.

Strive for Improvement

The fleets that are especially inspiring are those on the Notable Fleets list that keep trying year after year. These fleets are not named among the Leading Fleets, but judges have acknowledged their achievements are noteworthy. Some fleets start with fewer resources, making it harder to work their way to become a Leading Fleet. Perhaps these fleets lack staff members, have no support from management or elected officials, lack fleet management software or data, or have vehicles so old they hinder fleet management’s ability to run the department effectively. The fleet department could throw up its hands in despair, or it can do what every applicant for the award does — strive for improvement.

These fleets know that not only are they competing against other operations nationwide, they’re also competing against themselves.

While at GFX, I spoke to the manager of a Notable Fleet. He said he wanted to apply to motivate his team, and the acknowledgement from the judges is a good way to push his employees and show them they’re working toward a goal larger than just finishing a job at the end of the day.

And when those Notable Fleets from the previous year move into the Leading Fleets, I notice, and I silently cheer for them.

Overcoming Small Fleet Challenges

Being a small fleet sometimes means you don’t have the resources the larger fleets have. Maybe you don’t have the most state-of-the-art fleet management software. Maybe you don’t have an analyst to pull the reports you need to make the best decisions. Maybe you don’t have a “green fleet” coordinator to apply for grants. Or maybe your $10,000 in savings sounds like pennies in comparison to a fleet that saves hundreds of thousands simply by making a small change.

We get it. Government Fleet is a small magazine, and when we compete for editorial awards against much larger publications that have more staff members to dedicate to a story than we do, it’s certainly daunting.

We try to address this by awarding fleets in size categories. Our No. 1 overall fleet winners so far have been large fleets, which is why it’s important for us to also recognize the No. 1 small and No. 1 mid-size fleets.

Whatever your fleet size is, and wherever you land in the rankings, your efforts are appreciated. They’re appreciated by the industry, which you are working to improve. They’re appreciated by your staff and management, who recognize that you want to make the fleet the best it can be and be accountable for taxpayer dollars. And it must feel great to go back to your job and know your peers in the industry recognize and appreciate what you do.

What do you get out of awards programs?


Thi Dao
Thi Dao

Executive Editor

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

View Bio