ANAHEIM, CA - From Aug. 26 through Aug. 29, public works professionals gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center for the 75th annual International Public Works Congress & Exposition, hosted by the American Public Works Association (APWA).
Attendees were given the opportunity to discuss and get acquainted with the latest innovations through educational seminars on technology, applications, leadership, sustainability, and infrastructure management. Industry vendors showed off their products on the show floor.
Different tracks for sessions allowed attendees to choose topics specific to their function. Government Fleet attended a fleet session entitled “Stop Creeping in your Fleet! Maximizing Utilization by the Cross Function of Equipment” given by three fleet professionals, each from different regions of the U.S. The speakers focused on strategies that have worked for their facilities.
“The number one way to stop fleet creeping is to share equipment between departments and open communication for better sharing systems,” said Ronald Brown, CPFP, fleet maintenance supervisor for the City of Conover, N.C.
Additionally, facilities can reduce the size of their fleet by purchasing multifunctional equipment and vehicle attachments. The goal is to have one vehicle capable of performing a variety of functions.
All three of the speakers agreed that the hook lift system, which enables trucks to swap flatbeds, dump bodies, and similar containers, drastically helps reduce fleet creep and cost while increasing services.
Thomas Collins, PWLF, deputy director of Public Works for the Town of Natick, Mass., reutilizes older trucks by fitting them with new hook lifts. “Although parts are costly, it is far cheaper than new vehicles,” Collins said.
Mary Joyce Ivers, PWLF, CPFP, fleet and facilities manager for the City of Ventura, Calif., sought to reduce fleet creep through conversion and avoided more than $225,000 in costs once the several-year process was complete. The Ventura facility originally had seven trucks and two trailers, which were eventually right-sized to four cabs/chassis and eight bodies/skids, all with interchangeable hooks.
Reducing fleet size can also prevent the underutilization of vehicles, which can lead to costly safety hazards such as leakage.
GF also attended the seminar, “Improving Management of In-house and Outsourced Fleet Maintenance.” Led as an informal group discussion, presenters Cheryl Graham and Robert Hoysgaard, Jr., of Automotive Resources International (ARI) asked about the fleet management systems attendees currently had in place and talked about strategies such as outsourcing specific maintenance functions and using electronic Web-based management systems to keep track of jobs and aid efficiency.
More than in previous years, APWA increased efforts to focus on sustainability. Specific lecture topics included: exercising a green procurement strategy; tips on implementing waste reduction; energy and water conservation; reducing general expenses; and clean air practices.
In addition, the expo itself was greener. APWA integrated sustainability principles in all activities by printing event materials on PSC-certified paper, utilizing electronic registration, and more.
For a photo gallery of select fleet session speakers as well as equipment on the show floor, visit the GF Photo Gallery.
By Brittni Rubin