The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

It's Good To Be King!

July 2004, by Ed Bobit - Also by this author

Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry.-George Ade

Victory has 100 fathers but defeat is an orphan.-Count Galeazo Ciano

Winning is overemphasized. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war.-Al McGuire

 

My mind won't let me stop thinking of our special event in Atlanta just prior to the NAFA meeting in April. They've always been memorable, but somehow this year made more of an impact on me personally.

Maybe it's because as one matures into the November of life, one appreciates the elements that stir emotions. Certainly it wasn't the venue, although the ballroom at the Hyatt was festive (we usually like to have the gala up top with a spectacular view of the city).

Upon reflection it has to have been a combination of a lot of things. For the Automotive Fleet Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award (every year for 20 years) you had to feel the tension and anticipation.

Consider that out of about 7,000 fleets with 100+ vehicles, only 19 nominations were entered; and these were 24-karat finalists.

It's exciting to see the field whittled down to the last three or four and wonder how the 26 judges will cast their votes. Actually eight of them are previous fleet manager winners, so peers have a strong influence choosing the winner within the industry.

When we present the $3,000 business school scholarship to the winner's university of choice (Wheels has been our continuous major sponsor along with AFLA), it's a special treat to listen to Jim Frank extol the virtues of fleet managers as he recognizes the award winner. Jim has never faltered from being the strongest supporter of the fleet manager's role and responsibilities.

You need to understand that while you and I are virtually enamored with an entire cult of vehicle managers, it's not exactly "show biz." We don't have Klieg lights scanning the skies out front. There are no police escorts. Celebrities are not sitting at every table. The band No Doubt is not playing in the orchestra well.

Why 145 industry people show up (our largest crowd ever), I'll just have to guess (of course I know why. Georgia "Blue Laws" prevented us from having the usual champagne and bloodies, so it wasn't the virtual reception). It was more like one of today's TV reality shows; no one knows who the eventual winner will be, and it's agonizing for all the nominees and their friends.

Fleet managers, as a group, are professional and not what you might term glamorous in the trade. It's not a weekly TV series, but it is a daily challenge faced each and every day. It could be compared to the TV show "Survivor," if you stick it out for years.

They don't hear the now almost-immortal words, "You're Fired," but they don't have a key to the executive dining room either.

Henry Paetzel of General Mills was this year's deserved winner, and we congratulate him and the other nominees. It's an honor to even be among the final group.

Similarly, our Fleet Executive of the Year Award was bestowed on Tyco's Gordon Campbell who is equally impressive among a finalist group of uniquely talented upper management people.

Perhaps it is Jim Frank himself whose keen mind puts it all into a clear perspective when describing the effect of the changing marketplace, technology, and the need for corporate flexibility.

He says, "... this transformation will require an in-house manager who can get things done, who can be more flexible. Someone who can communicate to the organization (that) we don't run fleet by fixed policy anymore. We run it by strategy."

Long live the (king) fleet manager!

 

 

Twitter Facebook Google+

Comments

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
 
 

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

FleetFAQ

Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Fleetmatics will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Fleet Management And Leasing

Merchants Experts will answer your questions and challenges

View All

 

Sponsored by

MSRP stands for manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Read more

Blog

Market Trends

Mike Antich
Growth of Crossovers & Compact SUVs in Fleet Is a Global Phenomenon

By Mike Antich
Crossover utility vehicles and compact SUVs represent the fastest growing segments in the global automotive industry in every region of the world, impacting both retail and fleet sales

Successful Fleet Managers Excel as Servant Leaders

By Mike Antich

View All

Driving Notes

Paul Clinton
2018 Volkswagen Atlas

By Paul Clinton
The three-row 2018 Atlas provides impressive cargo carrying capacity, along with a quality ride, responsive steering feel, and solid handling.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

By Mike Antich

View All

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
New Faces in Safe Places

By Sherb Brown
Conferences like AFLA can provide a space for new faces in the industry to meet and network with experienced peers and suppliers, without being crowded by salespeople.

Fleet Is a Full-Time Job

By Sherb Brown

View All

Data Points

Dylan Brown
What Are the Most Valuable Services Offered by FMCs?

By Dylan Brown
What do fleet managers value in their relationships with fleet management companies? The answer may surprise you.

Demand More From Your Fuel Card Provider

By Dylan Brown

View All

In Memoriam: Coach's Insights

Ed Bobit
Thinking of the Newbies of the Future

By Ed Bobit
A lot has changed in the past 10-15 years, so we can only imagine this momentum will continue into the next decade-plus. How will this change impact the fleet manager of tomorrow?

Managing a Car vs. Work Truck Fleet

By Ed Bobit

View All

STORE

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher