The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

2015 Nominees for Fleet Manager of the Year Award

July 2015, by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

This year’s group of highly qualified nominees share their accomplishments and compete for the annual recognition, to be presented at the AFLA Conference in September.

This year's group of nominees manages a total of more than 59,000 vehicles.

The nominees are as follows: 

Brad Bohnen, Head of Fleet Management for North America, Ericsson Inc.

  • Total vehicles: 1,556
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 6
  • Years in industry: 22
  • Replacement policy: 85,000-100,000 miles and 40-50 months (can vary).

Primary responsibilities: Bohnen provides cost-effective fleet vehicle solutions in support of all North American (U.S. and Canada) operations. He is responsible for fleet sourcing activities, procurement, establishment and governance of fleet policies, operational oversight, DOT compliance, safety programs, driver training, and driver eligibility management.

Notable achievements: Bohnen developed a “best-in-class” vehicle design process that incorporates driver survey feedback, OEM and supplier design input, and turns such feedback into action. This process includes on-site participation of equipment suppliers, upfitters, FMCs, OEMs, and end-users. The process includes face-to-face planning sessions, on-site pilot reviews (construction meeting where equipment is installed, tested, and approved) and weekly production meetings to review supply and construction progress. Process participants steer vehicle technology design and solutions to meet stakeholder requirements.

In 2015, Bohnen also developed a monthly recognition program to award drivers for demonstrating “green and safe” vehicle operations. Driver rewards are based connected car telematics data such as idle time, deceleration, acceleration, speed, and safety data such as preventable classified accidents. Also in 2015, Bohnen developed telematics tracking of upfitting and OEM delivery cycle times. With this visibility, Ericsson is able to track OEM production, upfit durations and transport cycle times. The process also sends automated Geofence pickup reminder notices to the driver when the vehicle is received by the delivering dealer. Additionally, Bohnen was finalist for the Professional Fleet Manager of the year award in 2014, and was nominated for the NAFA “Outstanding Achievement in Corporate Fleet Management” FLEXY award in 2015.

Brenda Davis, Fleet Commodity Manager, Baker Hughes, Inc.

  • Total vehicles: 16,500
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 18
  • Years in industry: 26
  • Replacement policy: 5 years/125,000 miles (gasoline); 5 years/200,000 miles (diesel).

Primary responsibilities: Davis is responsible for the management of the center of expertise that supports all aspects of Baker Hughes’ vehicle management from acquisition to disposal for North America. This includes such programs as vehicle selection, maintenance and fuel programs, IRP, registration, load permits, resale programs, and upfitting coordination. She is also responsible for contract development and cost impact analysis, as well as measuring, monitoring, and ensuring supplier performance.

Notable achievements: In 2015, in conjunction with operations, Davis helped manage the downturn in the industry and the utilization of vehicles, and worked to look out-of-the-box for solutions to optimize usage and lower operating costs, including reallocation and disposal. Along with other functional groups, such as HR and operations, business process norms and policies were reviewed, achieving in excess of $5 million in cost avoidance and savings in the first quarter of 2015. From 2013 to 2014, the company achieved reductions in excess of $12 million by the continual review of TCO, contracts, best practices, and program technology enhancements. Additionally, Davis was a finalist for the Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award in 2004 and 2014 and was recognized as one of the top women fleet managers in 2012 by Automotive Fleet.

John Dmochowsky, CAFM, Senior Sales Fleet Manager, Mondelez International

  • Total vehicles: 3,225
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 14
  • Years in industry: 14
  • Replacement policy: Varies

Primary responsibilities: Dmochowsky is responsible for the strategic development of Mondelez International’s U.S. fleet, including policy management, partner relationships, budgeting, vehicle acquisition/remarketing, driver safety, greenhouse gas (GHG) initiatives, and all fleet cost-avoidance projects. He is a member of the Mondelez International Global Fleet Team responsible for supporting the global cost package and coordinating best practice activities with global regions.

Notable achievements: In 2014, on a cost-per-unit basis vs. a fleet management company benchmark of similar size and type of fleet, Mondelez International delivered an 18-percent improvement and achieved best-in-class results in all major categories (fuel, maintenance, depreciation, and accidents). In 2014, Dmochowsky demonstrated continuous leadership focus on safety by conducting the second “Annual Safety Summit,” which resulted in a synergistic meeting of cross-functional leaders to drive rigor around training, accident reduction, and cost savings. As a result, preventable accidents decreased by 10 percent and CO2 emissions decreased by 12 percent in 2014.

Two additional programs were developed by the Safety Summit: The Manager Safety Engagement Initiative and Learning Link Proactive Driver Safety Initiative. Both initiatives bring safe driving to the forefront to company employees. Additionally, Dmochowsky currently serves on the AFLA Board of Directors and GM Commercial Sounding Board. He served as AFLA president from 2013 to 2014. Since 2011, Dmochowsky has been a Fleet Management Seminar Instructor for the NAFA Fleet Management Association and was a finalist for the 2012 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award.

Kate Duffy, Fleet Program Manager, Liberty Mutual Insurance

  • Total vehicles: 2,500
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 5
  • Years in industry: 37
  • Replacement policy: 100,000 miles/average; 40 months in service.

Primary responsibilities: Duffy manages the company vehicle program for Liberty Mutual. She is responsible for the formulation and governance of program policies, procedures, driver eligibility, vehicle assignment, and safety training. She develops and executes strategic initiatives and cost-effective fleet solutions for multiple business units. In addition, Duffy provides subject-matter expertise supporting procurement in FMS, OEM, and upfitter sourcing activities. She also conducts market research to ensure selection of “best-in-class” vehicles and technology tools, enabling drivers the optimum experience in functionality.

Notable achievements: In 2014, Duffy spearheaded the transition of the Liberty Mutual fleet from six- to four-cylinder engines, resulting in a $1.5 million average annual reduction in net expense per mile and a 27-percent decrease in CO2 emissions. She performed an analysis of vehicle considerations to balance fuel efficiency, safety, driver ergonomics, and weather and terrain, establishing a proactive approach to the fleet driver’s comfort and regional needs.

Duffy works with stakeholders across multiple business units within Liberty Mutual, and initiated engagements with various upfit suppliers in the design of varied and pragmatic mobile office configurations to support in-vehicle productivity, promote cargo security, and enhance the overall employee/driver experience. This project has raised cultural awareness of the business needs specific to fleet vehicles. Simultaneously, and in conjunction with FMS, Duffy initiated a pilot to evaluate mobile reporting capabilities as an alternative to traditional desktop. Results are being used to road map future augmentations in mileage record-keeping and driver communications. To date, automated driver messaging has reduced the number of field inquiries by 10 percent.

Demond Hammond, Fleet Manager, Service Corporation International

  • Total vehicles: 6,200
  • Staff supervised: 5
  • Years with current fleet: 2
  • Years in industry: 16
  • Replacement policy: 4 years/70,000 miles (sedans); 5 years/90,000 miles (vans/light trucks); 6 years/75,000 miles (professional vehicles).

Primary responsibilities: Hammond is responsible for leading policy administration, managing strategic vendor relationships, budgeting, vehicle acquisition and disposal, driver safety programs, staff development, fuel management, and all cost-saving/avoidance projects. He works to provide fleet drivers the best, most cost-efficient vehicles and fleet services that allow them to serve families during times of loss of a loved one.

Notable achievements: In 2014, Hammond managed the acquisition of a large competitor and its vehicles were seamlessly integrated into the fleet with no increase in fleet department headcount. With fleet department area of responsibility (AOR) realignment, the department was able to absorb the workload and later downsize one position by transferring an employee to another area of the supply chain. In 2014, Hammond achieved more than $2 million in fleet cost savings through renegotiated professional vehicle pricing and increased maintenance and fuel program utilization. The fleet team also developed new vehicle replacement strategies and introduced the company’s first sustainable hybrid vehicle in 2014.

Kim Jammé, Senior Manager of Fleet Operations,Teva Pharmaceuticals

  • Total vehicles: 1,700
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 3
  • Years in industry: 19
  • Replacement policy: 3 years/70,000 miles

Primary responsibilities: The oversight and management of the Teva U.S. fleet program. Since moving to Teva in early 2012, Jammé has been instrumental in delivering operational improvements by identifying, proposing, and implementing strategic initiatives for the fleet.

Notable achievements: Jammé demonstrates Teva’s culture of values — integrity, respect, collaboration, excellence, and leadership — as she continues the momentum gained by operational efficiencies and savings from earlier achievements. Further success factors have included an additional $2 million in savings through a combination of fleet selector optimization, fuel-savings targets, and the implementation of an enhanced personal use reporting function. Jammé encourages and welcomes open and frank conversations to advance what is best for the business and what is better for the driver, such as optimizing strategies that minimize driver downtime and maximize employee efficiency.

Jonathan Kamanns, Manager of Fleet & SRM, Ingersoll Rand

  • Total vehicles: 5,240
  • Staff supervised: 8
  • Years with current fleet: 4
  • Years in industry: 15
  • Replacement policy: 3 years/75,000 miles sales); 5 years/125,000 miles (service)

Primary responsibilities: Kamanns is responsible for the leadership of North America Fleet Services, Contingent Labor Services, and Global Mobility. He developed the supplier relationship management (SRM) function to build growth of internal and external organizations in an effort to improve compliance and productivity.

Notable achievements: Kamanns centralized the North America fleet & safety programs, improving compliance, accountability and customer support, implementation of total cost of ownership (TCO) fleet-model enabling investments in safety, ergonomics, and employee engagement; this ensures a positive impact on overall sustainability, resulting in more than $8 million in year-over-year savings for three-year productivity (maintenance, fuel, sales, etc.).

Kamanns implemented a fleet succession plan and immediately brought talent to the organization to ensure fleet continues to deliver value across the organization, including, but not limited to, safety, sustainability, ergonomics, employee engagement/recruitment, and productivity. Additionally, he developed a supplier relationship management (SRM) function for developing, maintaining, and investing in supplier relationships that drive organizational improvements (fleet management, collision and safety, upfitting, branding, remarketing, vehicle logistics, etc.).

Jann Panzer, Manager, Corporate Fleet, Albertsons Safeway

  • Total vehicles: 1,300
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 7
  • Years in industry: 14
  • Replacement policy: Varies

Primary responsibilities: Panzer manages and directs all aspects of Albertsons Safeway’s light-duty vehicle fleet — from acquisition to disposal — including initiating, enforcing, and adjusting fleet policy to maximize efficiencies and safety as well as reduce liability exposure and overall expense. She is also responsible for managing FMC and OEM relationships and contracts as well as internal department relationships to ensure that driver safety and productivity is kept at the highest priority.

Notable achievements: Panzer has developed and implemented a new Fleet Policy and Guidebook, which was distributed to 12 divisions and more than 1,600 drivers, to include enhanced driving record profiles and safety training programs. She implemented online driver tools — including new-vehicle ordering, policy understanding, compliance sign-off, monthly mileage reporting, and an end-of-year true-up program — as well as implemented a monthly personal-use charge that resulted in savings of $4.3 million since 2011.

In 2013-2014, fleet reduced overall depreciation by 8.3 percent due to taking advantage of strong resale numbers and strategically shortcycling some vehicles. The resulting reduction in cost per vehicle, per month, resulted in savings of $550,000 in 2014, in part due to the negotiation of increased manufacturer incentives averaging $1,000 per vehicle and the addition of higher mpg vehicles to the fleet. Panzer was elected to the Director of Fleet position on the AFLA Board and served on the planning committee for the 2014 and 2015 AFLA annual conferences.

Phil Samuelson, Fleet & Capital Asset Manager, USIC Locating Services, LLC

  • Total vehicles: 8,095
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 11
  • Years in industry: 26
  • Replacement policy: 60 months/120,000 miles

Primary responsibilities: Samueslon provides innovative and cost-effective fleet solutions for USIC’s U.S. & Canadian operations. He is responsible for overseeing all fleet activities, procurement, budgeting, establishment of fleet policies, and DOT compliance, and manages all aspects of vehicle lifecycling from acquisition to disposal by partnering with USIC’s fleet management company, suppliers, and service providers.

Notable achievements: In 2014-2015, USIC and Samuelson grew the fleet by nearly 35 percent through increased business volume and two major acquisitions. Additional fleet strategies resulted in an approximately 28-percent increase in total miles and a decrease of 7 percent in total operating costs (a CPM decrease of $0.05). He implemented new, more aggressive cycling programs, contributing to the overall decrease in CPM while increasing gains on vehicle sales.

Samuelson improved selector options and rightsized the fleet’s compact pickups to recognize an estimated savings of $500,000 with an average increase of 0.82 mpg. He implemented both hardware and software updates in the fleet’s telematics program for 2015 for an estimated savings of $1.2 million through improved routing and job ticket management, lower miles per ticket, improved productivity, lower engine idle hours, and improved cellular billing rates. He worked to customize technology enhancements with USIC’s fleet management company, streamlining and nearly eliminating manual driver assignments/updates, while also automating mileage verifications for monthly IRP reporting.

Jeremy Sperling, Fleet Manager, Consolidated Communications

  • Total vehicles: 850
  • Staff supervised: 0
  • Years with current fleet: 12
  • Years in industry: 17
  • Replacement policy: Varies

Primary responsibilities: Sperling is responsible for fleet administration, including acquisition; fleet optimization; fuel management; repair and maintenance program oversight; vehicle remarketing; developing policy, DOT, and ARB compliance; and other fleet-related tasks. He is also responsible for all of the company’s environmental reporting in California as well as company-wide GPS/telematics deployment and reporting.

Notable achievements: Sperling successfully planned and implemented the company’s transition from a locally managed in-house fleet repair and maintenance program to an outsourced solution, which resulted in cost savings during the transition that created meaningful shareholder value and enhanced operational flexibility company-wide. He championed an exhaustive comparative pricing and service, offering an overview of several industry leaders in fleet repair and maintenance, which afforded the deeper volume discounts, a more robust service menu, and regionally consistent policies/procedures.

Sperling is committed to continually researching and exploring alternative-fueling options as well as fuel-efficiency technologies for practicality and cost effectiveness. He has also increased driver safety by developing performance scorecards that increase awareness of driver behaviors, resulting in positive trends. He maintains Master ASE Certified status with certifications in 28 different disciplines.

Abe Stephenson, Fleet & Administration Manager, DISH

  • Total vehicles: 4,600
  • Staff supervised: 7
  • Years with current fleet: 8
  • Years in industry: 8
  • Replacement policy: Up to 8 years or 185,000 miles.

Primary responsibilities: Stephenson manages supply chain relationships, fleet procurement, and vehicle selection, as well as bailment pool management. He is also responsible for fleet financial analysis and planning, reporting, and billing processes, as well as day-to-day management of fleet processes and policies, repair and maintenance, vehicle damage, and the support of field customers/drivers. Stephenson develops and executes the fleet’s alternative-fuels strategy and leads cross-functional fleet council including managers across regions, corporate fleet team, IT/telematics, safety, inventory, and engineering. He is also a member of the GE Capital Fleet Services Customer Advisory Board and Fleet Response Advisory Board.

Notable achievements: In 2014, Stephenson achieved the lowest cost per mile and lowest cost per job, to date, exceeding 2014 corporate cost per mile goals by $1.3 million. Additional alternative-fuel deployments within the past year include 52 additional propane autogas vans — with on-site fueling infrastructure —across three offices in California, plus 20 hybrid-electric vans across three offices in Massachusetts. He also worked to achieve 1.25 million alternative-fuel miles driven in 2014. Stephenson worked extensively with all levels of field employees and executives to develop upfitting packages for new Euro vans and 4x4 service capsule prototypes, which are expected to result in considerable impacts to productivity, comfort, safety, and ergonomics for fleet technicians and warehouse staff and significant reductions in fuel usage and emissions.

He implemented a centralized third-party process for license plate and transponder tolling, resulting in a 50-percent reduction in administrative fees, reduced exposure to unpaid tolls and toll violations, and reduced administrative burden at local offices. He reduced the high-cost R&M approval turnaround times by 70 percent while maintaining an average percentage saved per negotiated repair. He also reduced average accident repair downtime by three days while also reducing average accident repair cost. Other industry involvement includes participation in panel discussions at the 2014 Green Fleet Conference & Expo and 2015 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo and being named a 2014 Sustainability All-Star by Green Fleet magazine.

Mark Walters, CPCU, CLU, Vice President, FIG Leasing Co., Inc.

  • Total vehicles: 5,400
  • Staff supervised: 8
  • Years with current fleet: 10
  • Years in industry: 10
  • Replacement policy: 3 years/70,000 miles

Primary responsibilities: Walters manages the in-house leasing company for the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. This includes comprehensive business operations, vendor sourcing, procurement, manufacturer agreements, financial reporting, billing operations, business licensing, fleet policy, safety programs, registrations, titling, and comprehensive customer support.

Notable achievements: Walters has provided consistent annual contributions to business operating income, reduced business expenses and rightsized the North American corporate fleet. He works to negoatiate manufacturer agreements to benefit affiliate organizations and increase overall corporate expense reduction. Walters implementated a comprehensive employee vehicle purchase program, worked to optimize underutilized vehicles, initiated like-kind trades to reduce overall corporate sales taxes, and expanded leasing operations into additional operating states. He also designed and implemented comprehensive bulk vehicle ordering, billing, imaging, and mileage recording systems to streamline operations and simplify processes. Finally, he designed and launched a self-service intranet to allow employees to access up to date fleet policies, information, and tools.

Bret Watson, CAFM, Manager, Corporate Fleet, Sprint

  • Total vehicles: 2,200 
  • Staff supervised: 1 direct, multiple indirect
  • Years with current fleet: 26
  • Years in industry: 31
  • Replacement policy: Varies

Primary responsibilities: Watson is responsible for all aspects of fleet management and driver safety management. In addition to managing the fleet, Watson manages 4,000 employee drivers that are part of Sprint’s safety program.

Notable achievements: Annually, Watson’s processes save Sprint $7 million over the IRS reimbursement rate in the sales division alone. In addition to running MVRs, the safety program provides annual safety training courses plus additional safety training courses based on the driver’s profile. The profile looks at an employee’s driving and accident history to determine what additional safety training is required. Sprint’s annual MVR failure rate was reduced to 0.001 percent (from 2 percent) through safety/MVR program. He has blended multiple fleets into one standardized process.

Watson has also repurposed out-of-service vehicles for a new group of 200 employees when time to order new vehicles was not possible. In addition, Watson has worked to blend relationships with Sprint’s FMC, car dealers, remarketing brokers, equipment companies, and accident management and safety companies into one process to achieve the best result for Sprint. Watson has also been a member of the NAFA Fleet Management Association for 25 years.

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