Since 2014, Government Fleet magazine and the American Public Works Association have named the 50 Leading Fleets in the U.S. and Canada. Every January, fleet managers are invited to submit an application sharing the ways their fleet operation has excelled over the past year in areas such as customer service, staying competitive, and overcoming challenges.
How Does It Work?
A panel of judges — including the leaders of former No. 1 fleets and members of the Public Fleet Hall of Fame — review the applications and vote on the top fleets. The 50 Leading Fleets are recognized at the Government Fleet Expo & Conference, the largest annual gathering of public sector fleet professionals in the country. This year’s show takes place May 22-25 in Dallas, Texas.
At the show, Government Fleet announces rankings for the top 20 fleets, and individual prizes are awarded to the No. 1 Small Fleet (with 499 or fewer assets), No. 1 Mid-Size Fleet (500-999 assets), and No. 1 Large Fleet (1,000 or more assets).
The Leading Fleets award is designed to highlight the top-performing fleet operations and their achievements, regardless of their location or budget. Applications are scored using blind judging — judges do not know where the fleet is located, and winners are selected based on successful programs and initiatives.
"Government Fleet brings together some of the most qualified and most knowledgeable fleet managers from around the country," noted Lee's Summit, Missouri Fleet Manager Mark Stinson, CPFP, who will service as one of this year's judges. "In this profession you can never stop learning growing and improving the fleet you manage, and the best way to do is to surround yourself with those leading experts and learn from them. I’m excited to have the opportunity to learn and grow from the best.
Why Should I Apply?
The government fleet industry is not one that often draws the spotlight. When a fleet management department in the public sector is doing its job well, this rarely earns public praise. Government Fleet aims to highlight the professionalism of the fleet manager role and the accomplishments of their departments.
Leading Fleets winners can leverage this honor to demonstrate to management that they are high-performing organizations. Past winners have used this new spotlight to secure more funding for a big project, call attention to key achievements, and attract more support from leadership to pursue new initiatives.
Past participants in the Leading Fleets award program have also treated the application process as an annual self-audit — a time to reflect on the past year, identify key achievements, and determine areas for improvement.
"The Leading Fleets Awards is a great way to compare your fleet programs with other municipal fleets," stated Kevin Schlangen, CAFM, CEM, CPFP, fleet manager for Dakota County, Minnesota. Dakota County was named the No. 1 Leading Fleet in 2022. This year, Schlangen will be among the Leading Fleets judges.
"The awards criteria covers key areas of professional fleet management and gives your team the opportunity to discus and review your programs without hiring a consultant," Schlangen added. "Over the years, Dakota County has used the Leading Fleets application as a roadmap to improvement. Being named number one in 2022 was both an honor and humbling for our core team and Dakota County Minnesota as a whole."
How Do I Prepare a Winning Application?
Ready to fill out your application? Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Start early: Applications officially open in January, but changes are minimal from year to year. A Word doc of the application is available on the Government Fleet website year-round.
- Make it a team effort: Getting other members of the team involved allows them to bring up accomplishments you may have missed.
- Be detailed: Because applications are anonymous when they are sent to judges, it’s important to use details when talking about your team’s accomplishments. Don’t assume judges know anything about your fleet.
Visit government-fleet.com/leadingfleets for more resources including a walkthrough of the application, list of past winners, and a cheat sheet with more advice.
Applications are now open! For 2023, the application window closes Friday, March 3.