The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Meet the 2017 Fleet Hall of Fame Nominees

July 2017, by Staff

The Fleet Hall of Fame was instituted in 2008. Three new members will be added in 2016. Photo by Vince Taroc.
The Fleet Hall of Fame was instituted in 2008. Three new members will be added in 2016. Photo by Vince Taroc.

Automotive Fleet and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce the 2017 nominees for the annuall Fleet Hall of Fame award.

The Hall of Fame recognizes fleet industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession. Inductees are selected by their peers via an online ballot, which is currently open to public. Voting closes Monday, August 7.

Three honorees are inducted into the Hall of Fame annually. This year’s list of industry veteran nominees are as follows:

Tom Callahan

Ford, GE Commercial Finance, Donlen

Dates in Fleet: 1987-Present

Callahan
Callahan

Callahan is currently president of Donlen, setting the strategic direction and driving the execution of key growth initiatives. He began his career at Ford Motor Company where he held various sales and management positions. Additionally, Callahan held global leadership positions in general management, sales management, product development, quality, and operations in North America, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australasia with GE Commercial Finance – Fleet Services and GE Consumer Finance.

Callahan also serves as AALA VP of energy & environmental affairs. Under Callahan’s guidance, Donlen has received numerous awards for its customer service, employee satisfaction & engagement, product development and technology platforms. Callahan is a member of the Hertz Executive Committee and served as president of AFLA from 2012 to 2013.

Warren Feirer (deceased)

Standard Brands/Nabisco

Feirer
Feirer

Feirer served as NAFA president from 1979 to 1981, is a past president of the NAFA Foundation, and is a recipient of NAFA’s Distinguished Service Award. During his career, he accepted an award on behalf of NAFA from President Jimmy Carter for NAFA’s efforts in planning fuel conservation during the height of the 1970s fuel crisis.

Dave Hansen

GM Fleet & Commercial Operations

Dates in Fleet: 1998-2008 (Retired)

Hansen
Hansen

Hansen joined General Motors in 1965 after graduating from high school, working in a GM assembly plant while attending college. After graduating from college with an engineering degree, he worked in several roles, including chief engineer for the Chevrolet Division.

Hansen often comments that the highlight of his career was leading the turnaround while serving as general manager of GM Fleet & Commercial Operations in the late 1990s and into the next century. After leaving GM, Hansen became COO for Tecstar, a second-stage manufacturer for GM, then assisted SCT with its fleet fuel economy software device. He is now retired, but provides pro-bono support of the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research.

Ron Mawaka Sr.

Fleet Response

Dates in Fleet: 1986-2016

Mawaka
Mawaka

Mawaka Sr. founded Rental Concepts, Inc. in February 1986. A unique rental consortium and first of its kind, it provided temporary cars, trucks, and specialty vehicles to fleets nationwide. His vision was a centralized service for fleet managers to eliminate unnecessary insurance requirements, multiple vendors, and invoices.

Today, Ron’s vision has become Fleet Response — a fully customized accident management, maintenance management, claims adjustment, salvage, subrogation, and safety service provider. Mawaka’s sons, Scott and Ron Jr., carry on his work at Fleet Response. Ron has been a member of NAFA since 1984, and would like to recognize his initial partners for their contributions to the company’s success.

Kevin McGrath

Fleet Street Remarketing

Dates in Fleet: 1980-Present

McGrath
McGrath

McGrath entered the auto business in 1980, working for a multi-line dealership in St. Petersburg, Fla. After selling used cars, working in the finance department, and buying autos and trucks at wholesale for the dealership, McGrath struck out on his own in 1985 and formed a wholesale auto business, called RAM Auto Leasing, with friend Bob McDevitt.

Along with one employee who handled administrative tasks, the three bought and sold 20-40 used corporate cars per month. RAM soon transitioned to Eastern Fleet Remarketing after McDevitt moved on to another venture, and ultimately the company was rebranded as Fleet Street Remarketing to better capture the company’s new remarketing focus and global reach. McGrath helps businesses achieve maximum returns on the resale of each vehicle. McGrath has also been a member of AFLA for more than 20 years, and served on the board of directors for the association.

Bret Watson, CAFM

GE Capital Fleet Services, Sprint

Dates in Fleet: 1984-Present

Watson
Watson

Watson began working at GELCO in 1984, which later became GE Capital Fleet Services. In 1989, he joined Sprint and has worked for the company’s fleet for more than 28 years. He operates a fleet of 2,700 vehicles with one direct report and many outsourced suppliers for additional support. He has served as Chapter chair of the NAFA Mid-America Chapter, Chair of NAFA’s Editorial and Certification Committees, and served as AFLA treasurer. He currently serves on client advisory boards for Element Fleet Management and Fleet Response.

Watson takes an unbundled approach to outsourcing using many suppliers to support his Fleet. He works directly with the OEM’s, Car Dealerships, Accident/Safety Management Companies, FMCs, and more to achieve best in class results. In 2012 Watson received a Sustainability All-Star award for Innovative Accomplishments in Green Fleet Sustainability. He has numerous published articles over his career and Ed Bobit listed Watson as part of the top-end group in his editorial, “Who Are the Real Fleet Managers?” Watson is currently a member of both the NAFA and AFLA organizations.

Bob Miesen

D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group/GE Capital Fleet Services

Dates in Fleet: 1969-2000 (Retired)

Miesen
Miesen

Miesen began his fleet career in 1969 as a salesman for fleet leasing and management company Gambles C&M Leasing. Miesen was elected president of the company in 1972 following the untimely passing of its president at the time. During this time with the company, he helped introduce floating rate lease financing utilizing commercial paper as well as lease rate financing based on the London Interbank exchange rates (LIBOR).

In 1981, the company was sold to Wickes Corporation, and he eventually served as president of Wickes Leasing Group, which contained Gambles C&M and Wickes Equipment Leasing Group until 1982, when Wickes Leasing was sold to D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group. In the same year, he helped introduce the client advisory board concept to fleet. From there, he served as president of D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group until 1987 when the company was sold to General Electric Capital Corp. GE Capital acquired Gelco Corp. the same year, and the combined entity was renamed GE Capital Fleet Services, where Miesen served as a senior VP of the company for most of his tenure. After 12 years of service he retired in 2000. He was also a member of AFLA, AALA, and NAFA of which he is an honorary lifetime member.

Sal Giacchi, CAFM, CFM (deceased)

Former fleet manager and president of Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd.

Dates in Fleet: 1971-2001

Giacchi
Giacchi

Giacchi started his business career with Borden Inc., working as a cost accountant. In 1971, Giacchi became assistant fleet administrator with GAF, working with 12 business groups, running more than 1,500 cars. When the gasoline crisis of 1972 resulted in the sharp dive of the price of full-size cars, Giacchi began investigating the company’s used-car marketing program.

In 1974, he was selected to head the used-car operation and implement a used-car marketing network. After being promoted to manager of Automobile Fleet Administration in 1977, Giacchi worked closely with information systems’ staff to plan and implement a vehicle management system, which aided in controlling vehicles and related costs. He was named Professional Fleet Manager of the Year in 1996, and served as the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) president from 1987 to 1988 and NAFA president from 1999 to 2001. He resigned as NAFA president in February 2001to join Anthony L. Violi Sr. in forming a new company, Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd. Giacchi later became president of this new venture while Violi became CEO.

Steve Bloom

Enterprise Fleet Management

Years in Fleet: 1983-2016 (Retired)

Bloom
Bloom

Steve Bloom began his career with Enterprise in 1983 as a management trainee at an Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch in Southern California. After working his way up through the company’s rental operations in Southern California, Bloom moved over to the retail leasing division in 1987.

By 1993, Bloom had been promoted to vice president of fleet management in Southern California. In 2001, Bloom was named senior vice president overseeing Enterprise Fleet Management, and in 2012, he was promoted to president of Enterprise Fleet Management. Bloom retired in 2016.

Under Bloom’s leadership, Enterprise Fleet Management grew into a network of more than 50 fully-staffed offices across the United States and Canada. The business also invested more than $100 million into information technology (IT) solutions, resulting in its recognition as a finalist on the 2016 InformationWeek “Elite 100” list for setting the bar on innovative and creative IT programs that improve business operations. Bloom also served as the President of the American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA).

Russ Cass

Piemonte National Fleet

Years in Fleet: 1979-Present

Cass
Cass

Cass first started at Piemonte National Fleet (formerly Al Piemonte Ford) in 1976, working with his father in the retail side of the business. After working three years in retail, with a stint working as the retail truck manager, Cass was recruited into the fleet side of the business by Milo Matick, former VP of fleet for Piemonte National Fleet who founded the fleet department at Piemonte National Fleet and is also a Hall of Fame inductee.

Matick’s fleet truck manager at the time abruptly left his position, which opened the opportunity for Cass to fill the role. Cass held this position for 26 years until 2003 when he assumed the position of fleet director following the untimely passing of Matick and Don Fenton, former VP sales and marketing at Piemonte and a Hall of Fame inductee.

Bob Brown

Bobit Business Media

Years in Fleet: 1967-2010 (Retired)

Brown
Brown

Brown, former vice president and later Great Lakes sales manager for Bobit Business Media, was a long-time member of AFLA and NAFA and served as a great resource for OEM fleet managers in Detroit for over three decades.

Brown was a creative force and had a hand in launching several fleet publications, including Fleet Financials, Business Cars and Trucks, and Business Vehicle Management. He also sold the first-ever VHS tape magazine insert in the September 1988 issue of Automotive Fleet to the Pontiac Fleet Department.

Paul Youngpeter

Orkin

Youngpeter
Youngpeter

Years in Fleet: 2010-2016

Prior to his promotion to assistant division vice president, Southeast Division for Orkin, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc. Paul Youngpeter served as managing director, Fleet & Corporate Services for Rollins fleet of 8,400 vehicles.

In this capacity Youngpeter oversaw fleet department activities for all Rollins U.S. brands and served as the primary contract negotiator for fleet services and OEM pricing. Leading a team of four, Youngpeter forged internal partnerships with procurement, risk, brand fleet managers and the executive Steering Committee to garner support for fleet initiatives that balanced service with fiscal responsibility.

During Youngpeter’s tenure he led the fleet’s transition from closed-end to open-end leasing and implemented co-sourced fleet management services, saving Rollins $8-10 million over 6 years. He also led the critical transition from the Ford Ranger, Rollins’ primary vehicle for 20+ years, to the Toyota Tacoma.

The change required working with several new suppliers, redesigning key upfitting components, and addressing the cultural impact the vehicle had in the Rollins business. To ensure a successful transition, he held joint work sessions with all key suppliers as well as the Fleet Management Company and internal stakeholders, before beginning the ordering process.

Youngpeter also began the fleet’s first managed maintenance and managed registration programs. Throughout the transition, Youngpeter maintained close communication with Rollin’s internal operations team and senior management. He also implemented regular vehicle cycling as a best practice which helped keep downtime to a minimum with a cost of maintenance per vehicle month consistently under $60. He and his team used annual business reviews to anticipate changing vehicle needs. This included an extended review of vehicle options and meeting with supply chain vendors to ensure that the right vehicle for the job is put on the road across all 8 Rollins brands as business needs and market conditions change.

Under his direction the Rollins fleet earned recognition as a high performer at Wheels 2014 Results+ Fleet Summit Performance Awards. Youngpeter has been active at industry events including AFLA, NTEA and manufacturer previews. Youngpeter has also served on the Wheels Steering Council and WEX client advisory board.

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