This year’s three finalists for the Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award all retired from the U.S. Air Force — one as recently as last year. They recall the comparatively “simple” fleet maintenance of the ’70s and ’80s, the biggest challenges they face, and their recent accomplishments.
Sponsored by FCA, the annual Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award is now in its 14th year.
Industry professionals nominate their peers. Nominees are then asked to fill out a questionnaire detailing their operations and accomplishments, which are judged by a panel of fleet managers from across the country.
Nominees are judged in 10 key categories: business plan, technology implementation, productivity, policies, preventive maintenance program, utilization management, replacement program, customer service, fuel management, and recent accomplishments.
Government Fleet will announce the winner of the 2018 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award at The Honors Celebration at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference (GFX), which takes place June 4-7 in San Diego.
Dan Berlenbach, CPFP
Fleet Services Manager
City of Long Beach, Calif.
Years in fleet: 43
Started as: Air Force heavy equipment mechanic
You joined the U.S. Air Force: In 1975, where I worked as a mechanic, supervisor, and manager. I spent 20 of my 29 years overseas.
When you first started in fleet: The industry was very manual. In particular, heavy equipment had virtually no emission controls or electronics. We equipment mechanics would razz the light-duty vehicle mechanics for the headaches they had with beginning emission controls and computerization, and with how “easy” we had it compared to them.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I’m blessed with supportive bosses and a motivated team who know and enjoy their jobs.
Most challenging: Both staying up with and integrating the technology that’s available for fleets nowadays. I’m a tech- and gadget-loving guy, so it’s fun for me, but the pace of change is extraordinary!
Proudest accomplishment: Being a leader in alternative fuel use — 42% of the fleet uses alternative fuels, and we are moving toward electric power.
Senior Director of Maintenance
Denver International Airport
Years in fleet: 34
Started as: Air Force mechanic
You joined the U.S. Air Force: In 1984, and I turned wrenches for 10 years before becoming a supervisor.
When you started in fleet: Carburetors and distributors made vehicles run. When I did my first 4-barrel carburetor rebuild, I thought adjusting jets and floats was the most advanced thing out there. Now we’re chasing electrons you can’t even see.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I enjoy seeing the ingenuity and drive of an engaged workforce. I love it when those I’ve mentored take full ownership of a process and take it to the next level.
Most challenging: Continually explaining why fleet operates the way we do and why it’s important to do it that way.
One of your favorite memories: Helping a mechanic stuck in a fully extended bucket truck during a torrential rainstorm in Guam.
Proudest accomplishments: Computerizing workflow processes and starting a business analytics team to enhance fleet metrics and reporting. We also commissioned a study to raise technician pay.
Tom Keyser, CFFA
Washington County, Ore.
Years in fleet: 29
Started as: Air Force vehicle operator
You joined the U.S. Air Force: In 1988, working as a vehicle operator, then dispatcher, shop manager, and finally, fleet manager. I retired from the military just last summer.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: The people I work with and the satisfaction I get knowing what I do makes people’s jobs easier.
You’re most excited about: Renewable diesel, which we hope to move toward.
One of your favorite memories: It was my first time deployed as a fleet manager in Iraq in 2005. I had never used a fleet software system before and I was the sole fleet manager overseeing 2,000 vehicles. I worked 18 hours a day for 6 months without a day off, and I learned so much. It cemented in my mind that I wanted to be a fleet manager after my military career.
Proudest accomplishment: We added a position to help maintain the motor pool fleet, assist with shop cleanliness, and reorganize the parts room, allowing the shop coordinator and technicians to focus on their primary jobs.
The Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award was created to recognize a public fleet manager for his or her performance in the past year. Government Fleet congratulates all the nominees for the 2018 award. They include:
- Charles Grab, general manager of transportation and fleet services, University of Connecticut
- Daryl Greenlee, business manager, Monroe County, Fla. (former fleet manager for the City of Orlando)
- Mario Guzman, CAFM, general services manager, City of West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Ron Kennedy, CEM, CPFP, fleet manager, Sarasota County, Fla.
- Robert Mascaro, manager of maintenance services, Massachusetts Transportation Authority
- Todd Richardson, fleet management division director, City and County of Denver
- Hector Sierra Morales, fleet manager, Osceola County, Fla.
- Darryl Syler, CPFP, director of fleet management, City of Dublin, Ohio
The Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year, Leading Fleets, Public Fleet Hall of Fame, and Legendary Lifetime Achievement Award will be recognized at GFX. Learn more about the conference here.