Ray Breault, a recognized fleet manager and sales representative, approaches 45 years as a member of NAFA.
In 1959, Breault joined NAFA after becoming a member of an influential roundtable group consisting primarily of food, pharmaceutical, and insurance industry fleet members. The group met 2-3 times a year to discuss issues and factors affecting early corporate fleet operations and increased fleet exposure. As a fleet manager for Hoffmann La Roche in Nutley, NJ from 1959-1977, Breault saw his fleet increase from 180 to 2,700 vehicles.
When Breault began fleet, computers were non-existent and all information and records were recorded manually. All recordkeeping, from vehicle ordering, driver territorial assignments, relocations, accident information etc, were retained in individual notebooks. Fleet vehicles were leased/purchased primarily through American manufacturers and, compared to today’s standards, the vehicles were huge, heavy four-door sedans with large trunks for professional samples and displays. White wall tires, AM radios, two-speed wipers, and vinyl seats were considered optional equipment at the driver’s expense.
“The fleet industry and typical fleet vehicles have come a long way since the 1960s,” said Breault. “Vehicle colors are unlimited today and vary dramatically. Important areas such as accident management (risk reduction), maintenance scheduling, and the many types of vehicle assignments are easily analyzed and retrieved thanks to the manufacturers’ cooperation and computerization.”
Breault became involved in the New York NAFA chapter as the chairperson in 1964 and served on all local chapter level positions. As a chapter officer, Breault was a member of NAFA’s National Governing Board where he also served in all national posts except treasurer. Breault was the president of NAFA from 1977-1979.
In 1978, Breault was named corporate fleet manager for Revlon, Inc., in NYC. The company’s fleet program was in disarray, estimating it had 1,200 vehicles in its fleet when in fact, it had 2000-plus vehicles. From 1977-1990, Breault was responsible for Revlon’s domestic fleet program, eventually totaling 2,800 units. He also became involved in coordinating an international fleet operation of several hundred vehicles with the assistance of his lessors.
He joined Rental Concepts, Inc., in 1991 as the regional sales manager for the Northeast and gained accounts such as AstraZeneca, Organon, J&J International, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bic, Datascope, and CR Bard. Breault officially retired in 1996 but three months later decided to return to Fleet Response as a part-time customer service representative in the Northeast. He is currently with Fleet Response (formerly known as Rental Concepts). He is also a Board member of NAFA’s Inter-County Chapter (CT).
“It’s a unique occupation; fleet gets in your blood! I just can’t seem to stay away,” laughed Breault.