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AF Recognizes Fleet Women of Influence

Women who manage U.S. commercial and public sector fleets have advanced the industry with innovations, best practices, and a continuous quest for improvement. AF salutes their distinguished contributions — past and present.

May 2008, by Cindy Brauer, AF staff editor

From the few pioneering figures to today’s growing numbers, women in fleet management have contributed in powerful ways to advancing the industry’s professionalism. Drawing upon research from its archives, suggestions from industry leaders, and an online survey, Automotive Fleet developed a roster of women currently in fleet who have influenced the industry through creativity, innovations, dedication, and common pursuit of excellence.

Each was asked to identify her important accomplishments and achievements. Common among their responses were best practice implementation, active participation in industry organizations such as NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), and membership on OEM and supplier advisory boards.

Notable, too, was the importance they placed on achieving industry certifications, such as NAFA’s Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM). Finally, as a group, these women recognized and applauded their mentors, staff members, and industry colleagues.

AF salutes the following Fleet Women of Influence and highlights a few of their extensive achievements.

DEBBIE MIZE, Corporate Services Manager, Fleet & Relocations Hallmark Cards

Total Vehicles: 900

Staff Supervised: 4

Years in Fleet: 31

Earned MBA degree maxima cum laude (4.0 GPA).

National board assignments and positions for both NAFA and A FLA and participation and leadership of local NAFA chapter.

Awarded NAFA National “Outstanding Chapter Service Award.”

SUE MILLER, Senior Fleet Manager McDonald’s

Total Vehicles: 3,724

Staff Supervised: 2

Years in Fleet: 29

  • Launched career by creating fleet coordinator position in 1978 at ServiceMaster Industries.
  • Instrumental in creating and implementing 1,400-vehicle sales & service fleet for A.B. Dick Company in 1980.
  • Implemented a nationwide trade-in program for McDonald’s owned vehicles.
  • President, AFLA (1997-1998).
  • AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 1998, and McDonald’s President Award winner (annually given to 1 percent of global workforce.)

Shirley Collins
Shirley Collins

SHIRLEY COLLINS, CAFM / U.S. Fleet Manager GlaxoSmithKline

Total Vehicles: 10,600

Staff Supervised: 6

Years in Fleet: 22

Achieved year-over-year savings through process improvements and automation, policy revisions, and selector streamlining.

Successfully integrated fleets in major mergers with Burroughs Welcome, and Smith Kline Beecham, and many smaller acquisitions.

Created comprehensive driver safety program, including risk assessment and driver training.

Involved in global GSK Operational Excellence initiative, a difficult and challenging review of outsourcing tactical activities.

AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2000, and GlaxoSmithKline CFO recognition as Finance Diversity Champion.

Patsy Brownson
Patsy Brownson

PATSY BROWNSON, CAFM / Fleet Director Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 15,366

Staff Supervised: 10

Years in Fleet: 32

Second woman president of NAFA (1993-1995).

1998 NAFA Distinguished Service Award.

President, AFLA (2005-2006).

Served on U.S. presidential task force that inspired the Clean Cities program: President Clinton appointee to the Policy Dialogue Advisory Committee to Develop Options for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Personal Motor Vehicles.

Member industry advisory boards.

AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2001.

Josie Sharp
Josie Sharp

JOSIE SHARP, CAFM / Fleet Manager Shire U.S.

Total Vehicles: 922

Staff Supervised: 1

Years in Fleet: 20

Influential in bringing the NAFA FMI to Philadelphia in 2003 for the first time in NAFA history.

With the help of five leasing companies over the years, developed several fleets, establishing and writing policies and procedures; effectively negotiated with vendors, OEMs and leasing companies; streamlined fleet operations; created safety programs; and “chose terrific people for my fleet teams.”

Member, Ford Fleet Advisory Board. GM Sounding Board, OnStar Advisory Board, and Donlen Advisory Board.

AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2003.

Theresa Ragozine
Theresa Ragozine

Theresa Ragozine

Worldwide Director, Travel & Fleet Johnson & Johnson

Total Vehicles: 30,000 (global)

Staff Supervised: 11 (5 in fleet)

Years in Fleet: 9

  • Instituted Deals On Wheels, a multinational employee sales Intranet site, producing more than $25 million in savings.
  • Reduced operating costs by tens of millions through rigorous expense analysis.
  • Developed flexible replacement policy resulting in industry-low effective depreciation rates.
  • Fleet Financials Fleet Executive of the Year, 2006.
Lynda Dinwiddie
Lynda Dinwiddie

Lynda Dinwiddie

Associate VP, National Fleet and Travel Operations LabCorp

Total Vehicles: 4417

Staff Supervised: 4

Years in Fleet: 19

  • Established specific vehicle order guidelines, resulting in first-year $2 million savings.
  • Established close OEM relationships to influence various aspects of specific vehicles and implement newly designed safety features from vendors.
  • Serves on client advisory boards for three main fleet industry vendors.
  • Created in-house program for virtual accident review board to determine vehicle accident preventability and enable a faster decision turn-around.
  • AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2007.


Ruth Alfson
Ruth Alfson

Ruth Alfson

CAFM / Fleet Manager & Manager, Center of Excellence Serco Group, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 150; supports 8,000

Staff Supervised: 0

Years in Fleet: 17+

  • NAFA Excellence in Education Award winner.
  • Chair, NAFA’s Certification Board.
  • Serving as the Central Region Trustee for NAFA for the past two years.
Donna Bibbo
Donna Bibbo

Donna Bibbo

CAFM / Manager, Fleet and Employee Services Novo Nordisk Inc.

Total Vehicles: 2,338

Staff Supervised: 2

Years in Fleet: 18

  • Assumed fleet management at Pharmacia with no prior industry experience and developed an efficient operation with high driver satisfaction ratings.
  • Negotiated a fleet agreement for combined Amersham Biosciences and Health fleet projected to have saved the company more than $3 million in five years.
  • Renegotiated agreements and entered into new ones, reducing lifecycle costs, saving more than $300,000 per year for the next three years, and gaining high satisfaction ratings on driver survey.
  • NAFA FleetEd committee chair.
Barbara Bonansinga
Barbara Bonansinga

Barbara Bonansinga

Fleet Manager State of Illinois Fleet

Vehicles: 12,200

Staff Supervised: 165

Years in Fleet: 30

  • Reduced fleet costs, fuel consumption, and emissions using tool that compares cost-effective transportation solutions.
  • Developed an award-winning, biofuel-friendly, fuel-efficient fleet organization that produced a Transportation Sustainability Plan for state government.
  • Achieved “Accomplished-Sometimes Exceeds” overall rating on major fleet customer service survey, confirming effective fleet operations despite limited funding for staff, vehicles, and fuel.
  • Incorporated Web-based user interface for utilization tracking and efficiency.
Sheri Bonsall
Sheri Bonsall

Sheri Bonsall

Assistant VP, Manager, Employee Mobility Management Chubb & Son

Total Vehicles: 800-plus

Staff supervised: 6

Years in Fleet: 4

  • Kept fleet costs flat for past four years by closely monitoring major expense components and consistently tweaking and refining the expense levers.
  • Re-engineered fleet department end-to-end process, including billing process, driver profile enhancements, and selector timing and vehicles; matched re-amortization more closely to secondary market returns; and secured additional leasing company services.
  • Implemented fiat personal usage monthly fee.
  • Right-sized fleet and reduced inventory by 16 percent.
Kim Brown
Kim Brown

Kim Brown

Manager, Fleet & Insurance Heidelberg USA, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 550 (U.S.) 150 (Canada)

Staff Supervised: 1

Years in Fleet: 13

  • Respected by management team and drivers for fleet operations that focus on safety, downtime prevention, and driver productivity.
  • Manages order cycles to take advantage of the optimum resale markets.
  • Implements and enforces company fleet policy.
  • Created comprehensive internal fleet Web site for drivers.
  • Negotiates with manufacturers and vendors to lower fleet costs.
Margaret Chambers
Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers

Division Director Fleet Operations, State of Utah

Total Vehicles: 7,300

Staff Supervised: 41

Years in fleet: 10

  • Consolidated state agency and higher-education institution fleets into a centralized operation, eliminating cost and effort duplications.
  • Developed information system that gathers quality data with links to customized Web reports, maintenance and fuel vendor data, weekly driver’s license checks, and an internal billing system.
  • Initiated contracts that privatized vehicle maintenance and repair, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Most importantly, supported by an effective and efficient team of “the best, most qualified, loyal employees in state government.”


Christy Coyte
Christy Coyte

Christy Coyte

Global Fleet Manager Johnson Controls, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 14,000 (global)

Staff Supervised: 13

Years in Fleet: 13

  • Manages fleet operations in more than 20 countries.
  • NAFA Michigan chapter secretary.
  • Member, GM Fleet and Commercial Sounding Board and LeasePlan’s Future Directions and Global Advisory Boards.
  • Finalist, AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2008.
Brenda Davis
Brenda Davis

Brenda Davis

Strategic Sourcing Commodity Manager, Fleet & Temporary Services Baker Hughes, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 5,750 (US. & Canada)

Staff Supervised: 3

Years in Fleet: 17

  • Transitioned from traditional fleet manager role to strategic sourcing while maintaining integrity of fleet services.
  • Helped consolidate fleet services from 11 U.S. divisions into centralized fleet management center of expertise.
  • Using sourcing methodology, leveraged collective volume in negotiation programs with OEMs and suppliers to produce sustainable benefits; achieved 97-percent program compliance; and documented savings in the millions.
  • Identified best practices and implemented standardized policies and processes to maximize benefits and customer satisfaction.
  • Finalist, AF Fleet Manager of the Year, 2004.
Louise Davis-Lopez
Louise Davis-Lopez

Louise Davis-Lopez

CFM / CAFM / Fleet Manager Johnson & Johnson

Total Vehicles: 11,500

Staff supervised: 1

Years in Fleet: 32

  • Created Fleet Excellence Program, recognizing outstanding fleet performance among J&J operating companies.
  • Established vehicle condition program that reduced reconditioning cost.
  • Implemented environmentally friendly fleet program; manages and promotes company environmental goals to increase fuel efficiency mpg by 35 percent by 2010.
  • Manages successful internal employee sales program.
  • Helped develop and launch first NAFA-sponsored pharmaceutical survey, now a widely used and highly valued industry resource.
Kellie Duenke
Kellie Duenke

Kellie Duenke

CAFM / Global Travel and Fleet Management, Team Lead Monsanto Company

Total Vehicles: 3,200

Staff Supervised: 4

Years in Fleet: 10

  • Transforming fleet from a “commodity” service to an integral part of the organization and company.
  • Implementing Monsanto marketing programs, discount programs, vendor partnerships, and creative programs that support bio-fuels and farmers.
  • NAFA leadership roles, including local chapter and committee chair, FMI workshop co-facilitator, and FIRC committee.
  • Ethanol fuel advocate for infrastructure development, market influence, and greater OEM production of ½-ton E-85-capabIe pickups and wider range of E-85 vehicle lines.
Patti Earley
Patti Earley

Patti Earley

CAFM / Fleet Fueling Operations Supervisor, Florida Power and Light

Total Vehicles: 3,600

Staff Supervised: 4

Years in Fleet: 29

  • Named fleet manager for South Dakota State University (SDSU) at age 25, the only woman in state government in charge of a large-size fleet.
  • Facilitated integration of state universities’ fleet operations into South Dakota’s fleet centralization initiative.
  • Installed state’s first computerized fuel management system at SDSU, a program the state Department of Transportation later adopted.
  • Created a statewide fueling network at state-owned facilities, eventually including 93 fueling sites owned by seven different agencies.
  • Served five years on NAFA’s Certification Board, updating and rewriting the curriculum.
Sheryl Grossman
Sheryl Grossman

Sheryl Grossman

Fleet Operations Manager GE Healthcare,

Total Vehicles: 5,600

Staff Supervised: 0

Years in Fleet: 23

  • Works for “the same great company for over 33 years.”
  • Handled a fleet expansion from approximately 2,500 to 6,000 vehicles without staff, but with “a great leasing partner company and computers.”
  • Serves on several supplier advisory boards, “knowing they trust me to think openly and clearly to help their business grow and develop, as well as my own.”
  • NAFA Wisconsin chapter chair.
  • 2008 NAFA Institute and Expo curriculum chair.
Barbara Kupkowski
Barbara Kupkowski

Betsy Kupkowski

CAFM / Senior Fleet Buyer Schneider Electric/Square D Company

Total Vehicles: 1,800

Staff Supervised: “Just me!”

Years in Fleet: 17

  • Developed and continue to refine fleet administration database.
  • Earned Square D Company’s “People Who Make a Difference” award.
  • Streamlined U.S. vehicle programs, including administrative processes, forms and document automation, and detailed lifecycle cost analysis.
  • Member of NAFA CAFM Certification Committee and NAFA Chicago Chapter board member.
Sherry Lewis
Sherry Lewis

Sherry Lewis

Associate Director, Transportation University of California Los Angeles

Total Vehicles: 1,012

Staff Supervised: 65

Years in Fleet: 18

  • Developed a managed competition initiative with two noted fleet consultants, providing framework for a successful fleet organization.
  • Transitioned central garage into a quality fleet services enterprise program.
  • Launched the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Program (AFVP) in 1998 to promote clean-fuel vehicle usage and minimize use of internal combustion vehicles.
  • Introduced low-speed vehicles (LSVs) at UCLA to replace campus-based vehicles and arranged donation of 184 vehicles across University of California campuses.
  • Program received three Clean Air Awards from the Southern California Clean Air Quality Management District for innovative transportation programs and the EPA 2006 Model Shop award as a pollution-prevention vehicle service and repair facility.
Elizabeth Linck
Elizabeth Linck

Elizabeth Linck

CFM / Fleet Director Town of Greenwich, Conn.

Total Vehicles and Equipment: 508

Staff Supervised: 17

Years in Fleet: 33 years

  • Computerized fleet maintenance, inventory, and fuel operations. Instituted comprehensive PM program and implemented vehicle replacement.
  • Fleet achieved ASE Certification and Blue Seal designation.
  • Outsourced parts room function with average parts-on-demand objective well over 90-percent target, and eliminated more than $300,000 in inventory.
  • Developed department operational manual, a total-quality management program; implemented outcome-based budget.
  • Nominated for 1996 AF Fleet Manager of the Year and 2007 Government Fleet Public Sector Fleet Manager of the Year. Fleet department named one of Top 100 Fleets in North America.


Elsie Lucia
Elsie Lucia

Elsie Lucia

Director, Fleet and Purchasing Services The Estee Lauder Companies

Total Vehicles: 950

Staff Supervised: 1 (fleet area)

Years in Fleet: 23

  • Developed effective cost-saving RFPs with little or no interruption to fleet operations.
  • Implemented program for idle asset utilization, saving company more than $60,000.
  • Prompted by company downsizing, developed redeployment strategy for cost avoidance of more than $600,000.
  • As NAFA New Jersey Chapter chair helped present informative programs and grow meeting attendance.
  • President, AFLA (2007-2008).
Lee Miller
Lee Miller

Lee Miller

Manager, Fleet Services Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Total Vehicles: 3,800

Staff Supervised: 3

Years in Fleet: 27

  • Created and distributed industry-first new-vehicle selector video to core sales force drivers.
  • Developed, implemented, and currently co-facilitate monthly fleet safety committee review board.
  • Established an E-fleet pre-ordering process with GM/Wheels to manage 1,000-plus sales force expansion and avoid unnecessary rental car expenses.
  • Implemented cost-saving internal process changes and performed lifecycle and fuel savings analysis, producing more than $4 million in savings.
  • With help of “hardworking and dedicated staff,” challenges vendor partners and OEMs, while “trying to laugh and have fun doing what we do.”
Lillian Palmieri
Lillian Palmieri

Lillian Palmieri

Manager Fleet Operations Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Total Vehicles: 8,000

Staff Supervised: 3

Years in Fleet: 10

  • Implementing green fleet initiatives in sales vehicle fleet.
  • Developed comprehensive fleet Web site, Web-based mileage reporting system and a cost-reducing management reporting system.
  • Achieved more than $1 million in costs savings through increased personal mileage use charge and efficient vehicle assignment.
Gayle Pratt
Gayle Pratt

Gayle Pratt

Director, Global Fleet Ecolab Inc.

Total Vehicles: 7,400 U.S.; 13,783 Global

Staff Supervised: 7

Years in Fleet: 30

  • Consolidated two LabCorp large fleet operations: National Health Laboratories and Roche Biomedical Laboratories.
  • While at the State of Michigan, ran consolidated fleet operations of diverse state agency fleets as internal service fund (a full-fledged business) with customized billing, operating schedules, and financial statements.
  • At Ecolab, directed a growth fleet in a global environment.
  • President, NAFA, 2007-2008, implemented NAFA rebranding.
Marilyn Rawlings
Marilyn Rawlings

Marilyn Rawlings

Fleet Management Director Lee County, Fla.

Total Vehicles: 2,000

Staff Supervised: 32

Years in Fleet: 32

  • First female president of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP).
  • Obtained a CEM (Certified Equipment Manager) designation through AEMP.
  • Lee County fleet ranked the No. 1 fleet in North America (consistently in the 100 Best Fleets).
  • Developed an outstanding leadership team at Lee County. All staff members have completed extensive leadership training.
  • Developed a proven customer-driven fleet operation.
Nancy Reingold
Nancy Reingold

Nancy Reingold

CAFM / Staff Analyst Right-of-Way Fleet Maintenance Division of the Public Works & Engineering Department, City of Houston.

Total Vehicles: 3,956

Staff Supervised: 4

Years in Fleet: 31 years

  • Hosted a successful NAFA FMI in Houston in 1990 while Southwest Chapter chair.
  • Modified restrictive vehicle and equipment specifications for the Strategic Purchasing Division of the City of Houston, resulting in increased bid competition and cost savings.
  • Co-chaired NAFA Light-Duty Truck Committee.
  • Earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree while working full-time.
  • While at NL Industries, Inc., helped centralize three diverse divisional fleets, developed job descriptions and responsibilities for staff reorganization.

A Wealth of Distinguished Women

AF salutes the following women who also help move the fleet industry forward. They include:

  • Barbara Banks, fleet manager, DuPont.
  • Christine Chmiel, fleet administrator. United Agri Products.
  • Catherine Crewson, director of vehicle fleet, United Rentals.
  • Vicki Dahlquist, director of fleet, ValleyCrest.
  • Carol Davies CAFM, fleet manager, Advance Auto Parts.
  • Susan Fensky, fleet manager, Travelers.
  • Marianne Garvey, Corp fleet manager, Sealed Air Corp.
  • Margaret Huval-Neal, fleet services manager, PoolCorp.
  • Kimberly Jamme, U.S. fleet manager, AstraZeneca.
  • Kathy Jebbett, purchase card & fleet, administrator, Cooper Tire & Rubber.
  • Rita Knoll, corporate fleet/ safety manager, Andersen Corp.
  • Diane Lopez, manager, corporate fleet & limo, Abbott.
  • Suzeit Moye, senior manager, fleet management, sanofiaventis.
  • Peg Nicholson CAFM, fleet manager, Monsanto.
  • Kathy Schulz, fleet manager, The Progressive Corp.
  • Linda Taylor, fleet manager, Diebold Inc.
  • Gail Watson, fleet manager, Nationwide Insurance.
  • Maria Williams, fleet operations manager, USG.


Celena Stone

CAFM / Fleet Manager City of Huntsville, Ala.

Total Vehicles: 1,182

Staff Supervised: 30

Years in Fleet: 26

  • A founder and first chair of the NAFA Alabama chapter.
  • Chaired statewide team of fleet managers to provide consulting services to local municipality.
  • Wrote comprehensive fleet management consolidation plan to provide centralized repair facilities and accountability, improve preventive maintenance, reduce expenses, and improve services.
  • Achieved personal goal of managing a fleet department before reaching 30 years of age.
  • Industry speaker on fleet operations and functions.

Sharon Subadan

CAFM / Fleet Management Director Hillsborough County, Tampa, Fla.

Total Vehicles: 4,010

Staff Supervised: 69

Years in Fleet: 16 years

  • Builds effective employee teams based on philosophy that recognizes employees for outstanding service to fleet.
  • Applies sound, common-sense management principles and best practices, and develops strong, multitalented leadership teams.
  • Created positive change in organizational culture and alternative-fuel use, and utilized technology and information to improve operational effectiveness.
  • Earned additional fleet credentials: Certified Public Manager (CPM) and Certified Public Fleet Professional (CPFP). Actively promotes training and education of employees, including ASE certifications.

Rose Wilson

Chief Deputy Director State of Michigan Department of Management and Budget

Total Vehicles: 11,856

Staff Supervised: Fleet-related: 46

Years in Fleet: 4

  • Significantly reduced fleet expenditures through strong controls on fleet size, vehicle assignment, and utilization. Average operating cost per month (net of fuel) reduced by 77 percent.
  • Managed elimination of 77 fleet vehicles.
  • Developed model competitive bid on new fleet leasing contract, producing estimated $2.3 million in savings over contract life.
  • Maintained consistent vehicle replacement cycles through tough budget times and within budget limitations. Average vehicle in-service age in FY07 of 5.4 years.
  • Installed E-85 bulk fueling facility to support green policy.

Judy Workman

CEM / Fleet Manager City of Westminster, Colo.

Total Vehicles: 526

Staff Supervised: 11

Years in Fleet: 14

  • Mentors new employees and encourages staff to develop from apprentice proficiency to Master Mechanics.
  • Supervised removal of fuel tanks at various fleet locations and managed new tank installation with minimal operational interruption of services.
  • Managed successful competitive bid to return outsourced fleet operations to city government with cost-efficient and effective fleet management program.
  • Chaired stale Emergency Resource Typing Committee; served on Natl. Incident Management Systems Integration Division Public Works Working Group.
  • Served on the American Public Works Association (APWA) Fleet Technical Committee, APWA Accreditation Team and chaired Rocky Mountain Fleet Managers Association.


Significant Women from Fleet’s Past

The influence of women, though small in number, was felt more than 50 years ago in the nascent days of professional fleet management. These early pioneers included Betty Natili, a pharmaceutical company fleet manager, and Marie Loehrner of Yale & Town, members of the foundational Round Table Group (a precursor to NAFA), and Helen Bland, fleet supervisor at Hallmark Cards and the first woman president of NAFA 91985-1987). Their efforts paved the way for future generations of women in fleet.

Other women whose meaningful contributions also advanced the industry, but who have retired or moved to careers outside fleet include:

  • Jan Cornell, fleet manager, E.M.C. Insurance, retired.
  • Kathi Croze, formerly fleet administrator for Hughes Aircraft Company, fleet and travel manager, Computer Sciences Crop., now with CEI.
  • Tina Kourakos, former manager of fleet and safety for Aventis Pharma, now nation account manager for Subaru.
  • Shirley Roberts, fleet manager, 3M, retired.
  • Ellie Walsh, VP administrative services, ABM Industries, retired.
  • Elizabeth Witkowski, fleet manager, American Home Products/Wyeth, retired.
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