S. Lester Landau, one of the founding members of the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA), passed away on Sept. 28, 2004 in Philadelphia.
Landau helped found NAFA in 1957 while working as the budget director for Picker X-Ray in White Plains, NY. While working as budget director at Picker X-Ray, Landau also assumed responsibility for the management of the company’s fleet. He worked at Picker X-Ray from 1949-1974. Landau was also one of the founders of the NAFA Foundation and was elected its first president in 1976. He held this post until 1986. In addition, he served as NAFA’s treasurer for the first 17 years.
During his years with the NAFA Foundation, Landau spearheaded an effort to have fleet management become part of the curriculum at major universities. He established strong ties with educational institutions such as the schools of business at Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Michigan, and the University of Pittsburgh.
Landau worked closely with the administrators and faculty of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to create the Wharton Certified Automotive Fleet Manager program. NAFA honored Landau for his service with Honorary Lifetime Membership and the Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.
Upon graduating with a business degree from Brooklyn College in 1942, he joined the War Assets Administration, where he worked in an office in the Empire State Building until 1949. Landau attempted to enlist in the military during World War II but was rejected due to poor eyesight.
“He was dedicated to NAFA until the end,” said Dave Lefever, NAFA’s executive director. “He called me at least every month to ask about the Association after closely reading our publications.”
After leaving Picker X-Ray, Landau worked for English Electric from 1974-1979 in the finance department, He retired in 1979 to start an independent real estate consulting company, where he worked until just prior to his death. Landau was born on July 3, 1920 in Bell Harbor, NY.
Landau was married to his wife Helaine for 58 years, who passed away on Aug. 17, 2004. Two daughters, Jackie and Lisa; a son, Don; and five grandchildren survive Landau The NAFA Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution memorializing many of Landau’s contributions to the fleet management profession over the years, and a copy will be sent to each of his three surviving children.
Landau’s son Donald, a successful sail maker in Virginia, said that his father frequently told him that his work with NAFA was his proudest accomplishment, and that the special recognition he received at the Philadelphia FMI a couple of years ago was a highlight of his life. If you wish to express condolences or share a few memories with Landau’s children Donald, Jacqueline, and Lisa, you can write to them via Donald Landau, P.O. Box 1454, Saluda, VA 23149 or call him at his home (804-758-2444) or office (804-776-6151).