The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Energy Fleets Gather to Share Industry Efforts

Representatives from approximately 40 Houston area energy companies gathered for PHH Arval’s annual Energy Conference to address common fleet concerns and goals.

December 2009, by Grace Lauron - Also by this author

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More than 60 participants from approximately 40 Houston area energy companies gathered for the PHH Arval Energy Conference, held Oct. 22 at the Houstonian Hotel in Houston. According to company executives, PHH has held the annual event for 17 years.

The conference is designed to bring together fleet professionals in the energy industry to address common concerns, goals, and improve the business, said Steve DiBiagio, PHH senior vice president of business development, in his opening remarks. Based on feedback from last year's attendees, DiBiagio said the overwhelming majority of fleets found it helpful to spend more time with peers "figuring out what they're doing" in their operations.

PHH President & CEO George Kilroy, a 34-year industry veteran, said the forum provides a "unique perspective" and helps generate business changes. Kilroy also presented a brief business update on PHH.

PHH's annual benchmarking survey, presented by Bob Hertzog, PHH director of business development, revealed energy fleet manager responsibilities remain primarily in the U.S. and management generally continues to be centralized.

In addition, Greg Stanford, PHH manager of business development, presented an overview of the economy, energy industry, and fleet strategies, including a short video presentation featuring interviews with several company officials. Fleets were advised to start replacing vehicles now, since costs will go up as "supply and demand balance out."

After lunch, attendees split into four breakout sessions:

  • Reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Risk and safety.
  • Technology tools and reporting.
  • Vehicle selection strategy.

The topic of telematics was discussed in several sessions, with fleets sharing experiences, citing both benefits and challenges. Overall, most attendees agreed telematics was highly valuable, but only if data collected was properly evaluated and applied to operations. Attendees actively participated in discussions and listened openly and attentively to one another as they shared individual experiences and efforts in managing fleets.

Several motor company representatives also provided brief OEM updates from each automaker, and Jay Shelly, president of the Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) offered attendees the opportunity to test a "behind-the-wheel" simulator during the conference reception.



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