We often hear that public sector fleet managers are underappreciated. People don’t understand what they do, or that the profession exists, or they’re only heard about when something goes wrong.
What I’ve learned, after reading through many Public Fleet Hall of Fame nominations*, is that there are definitely people who appreciate fleet managers and fleet management.
Public Fleet Hall of Fame nominations from staff members, customers, vendors, and bosses clearly show appreciation for public fleet managers.
One nomination from a customer said the fleet manager always gets the job done, even taking calls after work hours if needed, and expressed recognition for the fleet team’s ability to manage such a diverse selection of vehicles. Another nomination, which came from someone within the same department, stated that, among other things, this person was “the best fleet manager ever!”
A public works director communicated with me multiple times about whether a nomination been accepted because he strongly believed this fleet professional deserved the recognition.
Another fleet manager was nominated by a peer fleet professional for his contribution and leadership in a local association and for being a “trusted advisor and friend.” Other nominations noted the fondness and respect employees felt for the fleet professional. One insisted on nominating someone even though he knew the fleet professional didn’t meet the criteria; unfortunately, we didn’t accept the nomination.
Now Is Not the Time to Be Shy
Some fleet professionals are hesitant to accept the nomination because they don’t like tooting their own horn. That’s understandable, but I say if you’ve been nominated, someone else is already tooting your horn as well. Accomplishments vary from person to person, but if you’ve done something that makes someone else think of you for an award, that’s a good sign.
Contributing to the Industry
I’m impressed by the contributions these fleet professionals have made throughout their long careers — whether to their own fleet organizations or to the industry in general. Some have spearheaded alternative fuel use in their regions. Others have worked with manufacturers to improve fleet products. Some have used their limited resources wisely and in an innovative way to provide the best possible service for their agency and to improve the working conditions of their employees. And still others are spreading the word about the industry by mentoring and starting programs that let young people know about fleet — and to train them.
The day-to-day tasks of any job may be stressful, even downright dreadful at times. But looking back on a career that has resulted in some major accomplishments, that has improved the way a public agency is run, or that enhances public services for thousands or millions of people, that must feel good.
Kudos to the fleet managers out there doing their best to make a difference. Whether it’s expressed or not, someone appreciates you.
*Vote for the Public Fleet Hall of Fame by March 9!