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The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

12 Nominated for Fleet Manager of the Year

July 2016, by Staff

Automotive Fleet magazine has announced the nominees for the Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award, which recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas.

File photo
File photo

Qualified nominees are full-time commercial fleet managers, control a company-owned or leased fleet in excess of 100 cars and light trucks combined, and who are recognized nationally among their peers for their unique abilities and accomplishments are eligible.

This year’s group of highly qualified nominees share their accomplishments and compete for the annual recognition, to be presented at the AFLA 2016 Annual Conference in September.

The nominees are as follows: 

Brad Bohnen

Head of Fleet Management – North America
Ericsson Inc.

Bohnen
Bohnen

  • Total Vehicles: 1,510
  • Staff Supervised: 2
  • Years with Current Fleet: 7
  • Years in Industry: 23
  • Replacement Policy: 
  • 100,000-125,000 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, asset procurement, establishment and governance of fleet policies, operational oversight, DOT compliance, safety programs, driver training, and driver eligibility management.
Notable Achievements:
Through rightsizing, Bohnen has reduced the overall asset inventory count by more than 10%, resulting in fleet savings of over $2 million. He has implemented a company-wide safety initiative using collision avoidance technology in service vehicles along with developing a complementary employee reward and recognition program. The recognition program rewards employees for demonstrating good driving habits and crash-free driving. So far, the drivers of the equipped vehicles have resulted in 12.1% fewer crashes. In addition, Bohnen has focused on reducing idle time and improving fuel efficiency. He has developed a communication process, which reviews fuel use and idle time with regional stakeholders and actions from the reviews have resulted in an mpg improvement of  0.37 and a reduction in carbon output of 2.5 million pounds. On average, idle time dropped by 16,000 hours per month between mid-year to end-of-year 2015. Bohnen has been recognized with the Ericsson President’s Eagle Award for his implementation of fleet programs that have helped drive down significant costs, and he is very active in the automotive fleet industry. He is the current secretary for the Mid-America chapter of NAFA, has participated in the NAFA I&E as an educational session panelist/speaker and is an officer on the Board of Directors for the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA). He serves as the Treasurer for AFLA and is a member of  the Donlen Client Advisory Board. In addition, he serves on the Ericsson Global Advisory Committee.

Cindy Douglas

Fleet Manager
Tuff Shed

Douglas
Douglas

  • Total Vehicles: 381
  • Staff Supervised: 3
  • Years with Current Fleet: 5
  • Years in Industry: 5
  • Replacement Policy: None written. Looks at the age of the vehicle, mileage, years in service and total cost of maintenance on the unit. 

Primary Responsibilities:
Douglas works closely with accounting department and the company’s five regional managers to review the current fleet and the need for replacement units. She manages the user logins to the websites (fleet, fuel, and GPS) as well as setting up geofencing on the GPS tracking devices so all of the managers can better see their employees. In addition to managing the Tuff Shed fleet, Douglas manages the company’s subcontractor program from recruiting, onboarding, retention, and compliance of current installers in 32 states. She is also responsible for allocating all of the telecom and network service invoices for the corporation.
Notable Achievements:
Douglas’ use and application of fleet technology and optimization of Tuff Shed’s fleet have allowed her to make updates and changes to the fleet all while producing overall savings for the organization. Simultaneously, Douglas works very closely with all vendors and partners to ensure that decisions are made to benefit all parties. She has an unending drive to ensure that things are done well and correctly and never settles for “good enough.”

Chad Fay

Director – Fleet Operations
Centuri Construction Group

Fay
Fay

  • Total Vehicles: 3,575
  • Staff Supervised: 10
  • Years with Current 
  • Fleet: 4.5
  • Years in Industry: 23
  • Replacement Policy: Driven by several factors such as months in service, miles/hours operated, utilization, and current business needs/requirements.

Primary Responsibilities:
As director of Fleet Operations for Centuri Construction Group, Fay utilizes a highly collaborative/team-centered approach. In his current role he is responsible for $340 million in assets and manages budgets in excess of $100 million.
Notable Achievements:
Over the past four years, Fay has built Centuri Construction Group’s fleet department from the ground up. His initiatives have included a number of safety and quality-related initiatives, including implementing a standardized vehicle maintenance program and rolling out a company-wide telematics program. He has created subcommittees to focus on other important areas, including sustainability. One of the main subsidiaries under the Centuri Construction umbrella — NPL Construction Co. — has won numerous awards over the past two years, including the 2015 Fleet Excellence in Corporate Fleet Safety (FLEXY) award for North America by the NAFA Fleet Management Association; 2015 Northeast Diesel Collaborative Breathe Easy Leadership Award; Fleet Tech Expo Light- & Medium-Duty Efficient Fleet Award, and the AALA and HDT magazine 2015 Heavy Duty Truck Fleet Safety Award. Fay has had zero turnover in his staff since founding the department four years ago.

Monica Gregerson

Fleet/Operations Manager
Haynes Mechanical Systems

Gregerson
Gregerson

  • Total Vehicles: 124
  • Staff Supervised: 0
  • Years with Current Fleet: 1
  • Years in Industry: 5
  • Replacement Policy: 
  • Typically four years/80,000 miles

Primary Responsibilities:
Gregerson’s responsibilities include creating a system of fleet vehicle organization and monthly inspection forms for fleet maintenance. She has built relationships with 12 vendors that help maintain her company’s fleet and improve driver productivity. She works with the leasing company to determine the vehicle needs and coordinate any lease returns, as well as the company safety manager to handle vehicular incidents. She works with the intention to maintain a high quality fleet, encompass better company image, and increase morale of the company’s drivers.
Notable Achievements:
When Gregerson came on board, Haynes was in the middle of swapping out GPS devices on 60 current vehicles and adding 30 additional devices to new vehicles. Not only has she handled the technical side of things as far as getting the devices installed and registered, but also has worked to optimize fleet efficiency over this past year, utilizing the system to its fullest in order to ensure the fleet is being as efficient as possible. Gregerson analyzes reports daily and has also been a main contributor to the growth that the Haynes Mechanical fleet has seen this year. Starting with 60 vehicles when she came onboard, the company has almost doubled its fleet size over the past year.

Demond Hammond

Fleet Manager
Service Corporation International (SCI)

Hammond
Hammond

  • Total Vehicles: 7,015
  • Staff Supervised: 5
  • Years with Current Fleet: 3
  • Years in Industry: 17
  • 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.
Notable Achievements:
Hammond is always looking for ways to improve the SCI fleet’s efficiency and cost. After an in-depth analysis and negotiations with manufacturers, SCI recently replaced over 200 vehicles in its fleet that were less than two years old with comparable vehicles. This analysis determined the “sweet spot” of when a vehicle is at an optimum advantage for replacement. In addition to having a newer vehicle with incremental costs, SCI could turn in vehicles that had lower MPG and older technology and still see positive resale results. Hammond also has to think of the implications when replacing vehicles in the fleet. As a funeral and cremation corporation, SCI’s specialized fleet is diverse, consisting of hearse and limousine vehicles. Putting a new $90,000 hearses in smaller rural towns was sending the wrong message. To resolve this challenge, Hammond removed older vehicles out of major markets, such as Chicago, Houston, etc., refurbished them, and moved them to smaller markets. As a result, Hammond was able achieve an overall monthly decrease of 1% to SCI’s operating cost, even though the capitalized cost of new vehicles increased by 3%. Hammond and his team have developed an automated vehicle ordering system that is hosted on the existing procurement P2P software. This new process, streamlines the order process, is auditable, and allows end users to see the status of their orders. In an effort to keep the fleet rightsized, Hammond and his team continue to monitor vehicles with limited use and underutilized vehicles. Through this process, underutilized vehicles are often moved between field locations/markets and others retired without being replaced. Sales of these vehicles have netted about $900,000.

Lee Jezek-Pierce

Global Fleet Manager
Weatherford International

Jezek-Pierce
Jezek-Pierce

  • Total Vehicles: 4,600
  • Staff Supervised: 4
  • Years with Current Fleet: 5 months
  • Years in Industry: 18
  • Replacement Policy: In process of developing process. In prior years was on an “as needed” basis.

Primary Responsibilities:
Pierce serves as the Global Fleet Manager for Weatherford International — a multinational oilfield service company — and is responsible for establishing a sustainable Fleet Management Program. She is responsible for providing cost-effective and customer-friendly maintenance and fuel programs. Pierce also oversees collision response and management and proper vehicle permitting and registration, including IRP and IFTA.
Notable Achievements:
In early 2016, Pierce joined Weatherford in the midst of the worst downturn in the oil and gas industry’s history, and was faced with a shrinking budget, limited resources, and a company-wide directive to better utilize assets and reduce expenses. With a fresh perspective, she went to work, leveraging her more than 18 years of experience to manage Weatherford’s 10,000-assets and set the company on the path of establishing a best-in-class Fleet Management Program. In the first half of 2016, Pierce and her team sold 500 leased and company-owned assets, while doing a balancing act of time versus return to receive optimal sale proceeds, resulting in an estimated operating cost savings of $5 million. With this achievement complete, Pierce has her eye on other process improvements to further enhance Weatherford’s Fleet Management Program, which includes reducing maintenance costs through a standardized fleet maintenance program and streamlining the company’s fleet billing procedures.

Nikith Rajendran

Director, Fleet Operations
SolarCity

Rajendran
Rajendran
  • Total Vehicles: 4,356
  • Staff Supervised: 3
  • Years with Current Fleet: 2
  • Years in Industry: 2
  • Replacement Policy: 5 years or 100,000 miles

Primary Responsibilities:
Rajendran is responsible for fleet operations, fleet supply chain and planning, and cost and lead-time reduction.
Notable Achievements:
Besides helping to raise $92 million in lease financing from different sources, and rolling out the relationship with a major FMC, Rajendran has tackled four major challenges since taking on the role of fleet manager for SolarCity. First, vehicle lead times: Rajendran worked with OEMs, upfitters, and the company’s FMC to establish regional pools of pre-built, ready-to-deliver vehicles. His efforts resulted in median lead time of that vehicle type drastically reducing from 14 weeks to three weeks, a reduction of more than 75%. Second, vehicle optimization and sustainability: Rajendran led vehicle optimization projects with result of a transition from a two van/operations-crew model to a one box truck/operations-crew model. The net savings to organization was $18.48 million, and CO2 emissions were reduced by 117 million tons/month. The third challenge was onsite maintenance: Rajendran implemented a nationwide onsite maintenance program that performed repairs and PMs overnight at the organization’s locations. In November 2015 alone, the fleet realized savings of $131,000 worth of labor hours. The fourth challenge was fleet safety and compliance: Rajendran rolled out an enhanced driver policy to around 7,500 drivers in the company. These efforts have improved safe driving behavior, reduced incident rates and SolarCity’s DOT crash indicator was 0.02 (4th percentile) as of April 5, 2016.

Erika Romada

Fleet Manager
Smith & Nephew

Romada
Romada

  • Total Vehicles: 472
  • Staff Supervised: 0
  • Years with Current Fleet: 5
  • Years in Industry: 5
  • Replacement Policy: 32 months/80,000 miles

Primary Responsibilities:
Romada is the primary point of contact for all fleet and reimbursement drivers. She confers with various departments regarding the needs and issues of vehicles that need to be addressed, and ensures timely resolution of relevant conflicts and makes sure that the vehicles are maintained and are operating properly.
Notable Achievements:
When Healthpoint was acquired by Smith & Nephew, Romada was in charge of successfully implementing a fleet program that met the needs of both companies. Smith & Nephew had a reimbursement program in place at the time of the acquisition, and Healthpoint had a successful fleet management program in place that included only leased vehicles. After an in-depth evaluation and by leveraging her deep understanding of both fleet programs, she was able to make a case to keep both. And by doing so, she was able bring parity to the cost of operating both programs. In addition, Romada implemented a personal-use charge in order to reduce fleet spend, and also adjusted the selector to save another $0.02 per mile overall. The new reimbursement program saved Smith & Nephew another $75 per month per unit vs. the prior reimbursement program. Having both programs on the same platform makes it easier for the fleet office to manage, and all of the changes saved Smith & Nephew more than $750,000 annually. Romada was the primary driving force for Smith & Nephew to maintain its fleet management program and supplement it with a new Reimbursement Program from its fleet management company.

Dave Rush

Sr. Mgr. EHS & Fleet
R.J. Reynolds

Rush
Rush

  • Total Vehicles: 3,182
  • Staff Supervised: 1
  • Years with Current Fleet: 4
  • Years in Industry: 4
  • Replacement Policy: 
  • 48 months/90,000 miles

Primary Responsibilities:
Rush manages the fleets for the three subsidiaries of Reynolds American (RJ Reynolds, American Snuff, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco), and is also responsible for all safety-related training (new and refresher), accident investigation (personal injury and auto), new hire orientation training, and manages vendor relationships.
Notable Achievements:
Rush has spent more than 35 years working at R.J. Reynolds, serving as the company’s fleet manager for four years. Wanting to ensure his fleet was operating as efficiently as possible, while achieving driver satisfaction, Rush connected with colleagues in several regions. His research and communication uncovered the need to supply drivers with higher quality vehicles to help boost overall satisfaction, but he also knew total cost of ownership must remain low. He negotiated a deal that ultimately replaced R.J. Reynolds’ fleet with newer vehicles, complete with higher standard options. He then short cycled the fleet’s vehicles with its previous OEM with ones from its new one, replacing over 2,000 vehicles with a credit of $2.2 million in lease adjustments. Maintenance savings alone were over $1.8 million for the year, and R.J. Reynolds’ total fleet cost was down 37.6% in CY-2015 compared to CY-2014. Additional benefits to R.J. Reynolds as a result of Rush’s move to the new OEM was an acquisition savings of more than $3.8 million. Rush moved forward with an aggressive short-cycle strategy to maximize a strong used vehicle market and take advantage of the financial benefits of the new OEM contract. Rush is also responsible for developing and initiating R.J. Reynolds’ New-Driver Safety Program. The program was unveiled to industry peers at an FMC roundtable in 2012 and positively embraced by fleet managers from other companies. Rush’s program was so well-received it is now being replicated by other companies and their fleet operations. He provided expertise on the program at both NAFA 2015 and the Fleet Safety Conference in 2015.

Phil Samuelson

Fleet and Capital Asset Manager
USIC

Samuelson
Samuelson

  • Total Vehicles: 8,750
  • Staff Supervised: 2
  • Years with Current Fleet: 12
  • Years in Industry: 27
  • Replacement Policy: 
  • 60 months/120,000 miles

Primary Responsibilities:
Samuelson provides innovative and cost-effective fleet solutions for USIC’s U.S. and Canadian operations. He is responsible for overseeing all fleet activities, procurement, budgeting, establishment of fleet policies, and DOT compliance. He manages all aspects of vehicle lifecycling from acquisition to disposal by partnering with USIC’s fleet management company, suppliers, and service providers.
Notable Achievements:
Samuelson strives to bring value to the USIC fleet through his analytic skills, and attention to new fleet industry technology. Automation, telematics, and aggressive safety programs (partnering with their EHS & IS Departments) continue to bring cost savings and improved safety to USIC’s fleet. The USIC fleet continues to average 12.7% year-over-year growth, through acquisitions and new business contracts. USIC’s service fleet drives nearly 170 million miles annually, and has maintained a consistent operating cost per mile year over year, trending down for the last three years. Maintenance costs per mile continue to decline, despite mileage accumulation growth of 16%. Deploying an optimal vehicle selection and cycling strategy has allowed USIC to operate below industry benchmarks. Samuelson has overseen cost mitigation that has exceeded $2.2 million. USIC recently adjusted its cycling policy, resulting in more than $1.8 million in lifecycle savings. Samuelson has managed fleet growth through various partners to optimize order-to-delivery lead times and to meet business needs. By adjusting cycling of vehicles based on the review of historical performance data, USIC has been able to avoid an estimated $390,000 associated with drivetrain services alone. Samuelson holds a seat on USIC’s fleet management company’s Client Advisory Board as well as several OEM Commercial Sounding Boards. He has been involved with both AFLA and NAFA.

George Survant

Senior Fleet Director
Time Warner Cable

Survant
Survant

  • Total Vehicles: 20,483
  • Staff Supervised: Nine 
  • direct reports and a total 
  • team of 42
  • Years with Current Fleet: 4
  • Years in Industry: 40
  • Replacement Policy: 175,000 miles and seven years for cars, pickups, vans, and SUVS. Nine years for aerial trucks and warehouse material delivery trucks.

Primary Responsibilities:
Survant is responsible for all elements of fleet strategy, including alt fuels, vehicle selection, disposition processes, performance management, metrics development and deployment, team building, and change management.
Notable Achievements:
Survant continuously looks for new advances in technology to improve his fleet. He is not afraid to step outside the familiar to try something new and innovative. He is passionate about the industry and his job. He has a hands-on approach to managing Time Warner’s fleet, using benchmarking to take the fleet to the next level. Survant has been active in fleet organizations, including as the past chair for the FPL PAC Trustees, EUFMC, and the CalStart Board of Directors. He has served as a member of several OEM advisory boards. He is the past chair of the HTUF Utility Fleet Hybrid Development Team. Survant has been recognized numerous times by the fleet industry for his accomplishments, particularly for pursuing sustainable fleet alternatives. He has been awarded the National Safety Council Fleet Award, the NAFA Green Fleet Award, the Sustainable Florida Award, the Blue Sky Award for Leadership, the Vocational Fleet of the Year award, the Eye for Innovation Award from the Biodiesel Board, and most recently a NAFA Fleet Excellence Award for Fleet Sustainability. He also is a co-inventor on two industry patents.

Brian Wielgosz

Manager of Fleet and Travel Operations
Sanofi

Wielgosz
Wielgosz

  • Total Vehicles: 5,500
  • Staff Supervised: 5 (1 with fleet responsibilities)
  • Years with Current Fleet: 10
  • Years in Industry: 10
  • Replacement Policy: Flexible (typically 80,000 miles/36 months in service)

Primary Responsibilities:
Wielgosz leads the North American Fleet and Travel programs, which include strategy development and execution, stakeholder management and business partnering, policy administration, overall accountability for the customer experience and operations, and people development.
Notable Achievements:
Wielgosz helps Sanofi drivers be safe and keeps fleet costs down is by focusing on data and mobility. A new pilot feature “Contact Us” allows drivers to have access to immediate contact numbers based on the category of help they need directly from their mobile phone. Wielgosz worked with Sanofi’s fleet management company to build a custom driver portal that was well-received and exceeded the expectations of executives and drivers alike. In 2015, he successfully reduced Sanofi’s total fleet spend by more than 25% from 2014. Wielgosz also managed accelerated replacement of ¾ of the fleet to provide gains on sale to support ongoing business development. This resulted in $14.1 million in remarketing gains, and a $4.2 million cash flow benefit that was $1.7 million higher than the operating plan. Other successes under Wielgosz’s leadership include: fuel savings driven by a 28% reduction in cost per gallon and a 3% improvement in fuel economy, an 18% decrease in maintenance cost per mile, and increased depreciation expense due to execution of the accelerated replacement strategy. As part of successfully running Sanofi’s fleet, Wielgosz oversees relationships with key stakeholders in global, finance, and sourcing.

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