Green Fleet Conference Packs the House
With a number of industry leaders from both commercial and public sector fleets serving as presenters and panelists, general and concurrent sessions were standing-room only.
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Four hundred and fifty fleet professionals from both the corporate and government sectors gathered Oct. 18-19 for the 2010 Green Fleet Conference in San Diego to discuss green initiatives and technologies for fleets.
Attendees gathered for information-packed conference sessions, many of which were standing-room only. General sessions and keynote presentations addressed the concerns of the entire industry, while concurrent sessions led by industry leaders targeted the separate needs of corporate and government fleets.
Catherine Tillman, director of Global Fleet & Travel for Abbott, gave the opening keynote address on Oct. 18, discussing the initiatives Abbott is undertaking to meet its environmental impact reduction goals. As of 2009, Tillman said the company operates more than 20,000 vehicles, with more than 7,000 of these units in the U.S. fleet. Abbott is ranked No. 48 on Automotive Fleet's 2010 Top 300 Commercial Fleets listing.
Since 2006, Abbott has been able to increase the fleet's fuel economy by 8 percent, said Tillman. Efforts to increase fuel efficiency included limiting SUVs to snowbelt states, adding hybrids to vehicle selectors, and stressing the importance of driver behavior to all employees at the company. Tillman also presented a "green driving" video available to Abbott employees, designed to encourage more eco-friendly driving practices. For 2011, she noted minivans will be limited to business-use only and medical exceptions, which should help to further reduce vehicle use and fuel consumption.
Other corporate fleets that presented or participated in panel discussions on Monday included Infinity Insurance; Apple; Ferrellgas; PepsiCo; Sempra Utilities; American Electric Power; Baker Equipment; Verizon; Nestlé; Schwan's; AAA of Northern California, Nevada, and Utah; Millipore; and UPS.
During lunch, vehicle manufacturers were on-site with approximately 33 vehicles for a ride-and-drive event, allowing attendees to test drive cars, trucks, and vans with the newest green technologies. Monday's sessions concluded at 4 p.m., followed by a networking reception in the exhibit hall, where Todd Mouw, ROUSH vice president of sales and marketing, made a surprise announcement that ThyssenKrupp Elevator is adding propane vans to its fleet. (See "ThyssenKrupp Elevator Test Drives Propane Vehicles" in AF December 2010, p. 38.)
On Oct. 19, keynote speakers included Mark Smith, vehicle technologies deployment manager, U.S. Department of Energy, National Clean Cities Program; Mary Beth Stanek, director, Federal Environmental and Energy Regulatory Affairs - Public Policy and R&D, General Motors Company; and Dennis Beal, vice president, Global Vehicles, FedEx Express.
Commercial fleet sessions following the general session included a presentation from David Meisel, director of transportation services for Pacific Gas & Electric.
After lunch, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was on-site to deliver a keynote speech, speaking about the City of San Diego's environmental goals and achievements. Mayor Sanders helped hand out certificates to fleet managers awarded with Environmental Leadership Awards for excellence in environmental initiatives. A total of 32 fleet professionals
from both private and public sectors were recognized.
Sponsored by Automotive Fleet, recipients from the private sector were:
● Bob Adamsky, (formerly of) Del-Air Heating & Air Conditioning.
● Rahul Bhardwaj, Pfizer.
● Donna Bibbo, Novo Nordisk.
● Mike Britt, UPS.
● Denise Cross, Carrier.
● Suzanne Gallagher and Louise Davis-Lopez, Johnson & Johnson.
● Brian Heldebrandt, Verizon.
● Kimberly Jamme, AstraZeneca.
● Diane Lopez, Abbott.
● Hector Madriaga, Sempra Energy.
● Dick Malcom, State Farm.
● Mike Mannheimer, Cox Enterprises.
● Jeff Modica, Schwan's Home Service.
● Bud Reuter, Comcast.
● Pete Silva, PepsiCo.
● George Survant, Florida Power & Light.
● Jerome Webber, AT&T.
Tom Johnson, author of the 100 Best Fleets program, also recognized 40 government fleet managers during a Government Green Fleet Awards ceremony.
Closing out the day in concurrent sessions were NGVAmerica and Best Ideas/Practices from the Government Green Fleet Award competition. A post-show mixer allowed attendees to network with fleet managers and industry suppliers.
Photos featured in this article are also available online, along with additional images of conference highlights, at www.greenfleetconference.com. Also available at the Green Fleet Conference website are downloadable PowerPoint presentations from many of the speakers at the 2010 conference.