Three fleet industry veterans are vying for the 2020 Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award. All three have extensive experience and a wealth of knowledge. Sponsored by GovPlanet, the Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year award is now in its 16th year.
Earlier this year, members of the industry submitted nominations for the award, and nominees filled 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 a key accomplishment from the past year.
This year’s winner will be featured in the July/August issue of Government Fleet and recognized during the 2020 Government Fleet Expo, slated to take place later this year.
John Manring, Chief of Departmental Operations, County of San Diego, Calif.
Years in fleet: 45
First position in fleet: A “flat tappet grinder” for a major engine overhaul company. Most people don’t even know what a flat tappet is anymore.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I really enjoy helping others get their mission accomplished and helping less experienced staff in fleet grow and flourish while watching them turn into top-notch technicians and line supervisors.
Most memorable moment in fleet: Up until I was notified that I was one of the finalists for Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year, I would have to say it was when our fleet was selected as the No. 5 Fleet in Government Fleet’s Leading Fleets award program in 2015. This was the most memorable day to date for me.
Most challenging aspect of your job: Coming from the private sector to the public sector, I find it most challenging to get things accomplished without the delays of red tape. Now I understand the need for some bureaucracy. Policies and procedures define how an organization operates long term.
Best advice you were ever given: Be humble and always place yourself in the shoes of who you are talking to. Listen and be compassionate and understanding. Share your knowledge and wisdom so others may benefit from your mistakes and successes.
Kevin Schlangen, CAFM, CEM, CPFP, Fleet Manager, Dakota County, Minn.
Years in fleet: 39
First position in fleet: I grew up on a farm so I have been working on equipment my entire life. My first paying position was as a mechanic at a small gas station.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: All the vehicles and equipment continue to be the most enjoyable aspect of the job. There are always new “toys” to play with and learn about — it’s like I never had to give up the sandbox as I grew up.
Most memorable moment in fleet: Winning the 2014 FLEXY for Outstanding Achievement in Public Fleet Management at the NAFA I&E in our own backyard, with all of our local peers present, is an experience I will never forget.
Most challenging aspect of your job: Dealing with people in leadership roles who only see their group as important and are unwilling to accept change or responsibility. This tunnel vision is a disease in leadership roles.
Something most people may not know about you: In high school, I played baseball and was MVP of my conference my senior year. I was offered a scholarship to a university to play ball but turned down the scholarship to attend a technical college as I wanted to be a diesel mechanic. If I hadn’t turned it down, I would never have met Jackie, my wife of 35 years, as she was attending the same technical college.
Mark Stevens, Fleet Manager, City of Sacramento, Calif.
Years in fleet: 40
First position in fleet: Heavy equipment engineer for Detroit Edison, where I was responsible for the design and procurement of all cranes, bucket trucks, and digger derricks.
Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I enjoy the challenge associated with all aspects of fleet operations, from improving customer service to streamlining operations for improved efficiencies. I guess it’s the risk/reward aspect of continuing to improve operations and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. In two previous positions, I was hired into a fleet operation and had to build trust with customers and develop policies and procedures for the entire fleet operation.
Best advice you were ever given: Treat everyone with respect and treat them the same way in which you would want to be treated. I have earned trust and respect using this simple rule, and that is a very valuable commodity in this business.
Something most people may not know about you: I have always wanted to help people; I guess that is why I chose the line of work that I do. I am a type “A” personality, so I’m always on the move, playing golf or softball, working on the house, or my favorite pastime, restoring 1st and 2nd generation Corvettes. I just like to keep busy and if I can help someone while doing so, that’s all the better.