The award recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas of his or her field.  -  File Photo

The award recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas of his or her field.

File Photo

Ten fleet management professionals have been nominated for the 2020 Edward J. Bobit Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award. The nominees have diverse experience, but share the common qualities of passion and drive for excellence.

The Fleet Manager of the Year award recognizes a proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas. The award is sponsored by Wheels, Inc. and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA).

Qualified nominees who 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.

The winner of the Edward J. Bobit Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award will be announced at the 2020 AFLA Conference, which will be hosted virtually this October 5 – 7, 2020, and will also be profiled in an issue of Automotive Fleet later this year.

Lee Pierce, Director of Fleet, Nutrien Ag Solutions

  • Total vehicles: 18,000               
  • Staff supervised: 9
  • Years with current fleet: 2
  • Years in industry: 20

Notable achievements: Pierce has managed several of the largest fleets across multiple industries and is now responsible for approximately 70,000 assets (vehicles and heavy equipment). While at Nutrien, she worked on moving a very decentralized fleet to centralized, across 1,200 individual branch locations. 

Some of her many accomplishments include integrating disparate systems such as billing, accounting, and fixed assets along with the SAP integration that would affect their current fleet management environment. Reassessing how fuel, maintenance, and the International Registration Plan are managed are a select few. She has implemented processes and procedures to free up time for field personnel to focus on their core responsibilities, rather than sourcing and selling assets. 

She has recovered over $500,000 in credits by auditing all vendors. She is transforming the landscape by connecting systems and leveraging vendors to identify further opportunities and savings across the organization. Pierce resides on General Motors Commercial Sounding Board and Wheels Steering Council.

Abe Stephenson, Fleet and Administration Manager, DISH

  • Total vehicles: 4,100
  • Staff supervised: 3
  • Years with current fleet: 14
  • Years in industry: 14

Notable achievements: As part of expanding lines of business, Stephenson helped stand-up multiple new fleets at DISH over the past year. This included OnTech Smart Services which provides in-home installation and training of smart home products and is also Google’s exclusive installation partner for customers that buy Nest products directly from Google Store. 

Also, as part of DISH’s 5G build-out and entrance into the wireless space, a fleet of pickup trucks was on-roaded for use by the new cell tower teams. Most recently, Stephenson enjoyed the opportunity to team-up with a career-long fleet colleague and mentor to transition a sedan fleet to DISH as part of an acquisition. 

These efforts required new partnerships with fleet management companies, vehicle types, upfitters and upfitting, along with navigating competitor relationships and the addition of new and expanded responsibilities with unbranded sales vehicles while managing a reduction in direct reports.  

Jim Petrillo, Manager of  Fleet and Treasury Services, FujiFilm Holdings America Corp.

  • Total vehicles: 1,502
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 10
  • Years in industry: 10

Notable achievements: Petrillo has consistently demonstrated his ability to expertly manage his company’s fleet. There are numerous examples of his ability to develop and execute key management policies, including his creation and implementation of a comprehensive safety program. 

In 2017, Petrillo recognized a need for increased safety initiative within FujiFilm’s fleet. He elected to develop a customized safety program from scratch. In 2019, Petrillo extended this initiative to include a virtual risk manager program that was designed to work to measurably reduce collisions and incidents caused by risky driving.

Since the implementation of the safety program he brought to fruition in 2016, FujiFilm has seen a more than 25% decrease in annualized incident rate. The impacts of the program are far-reaching and can be directly attributed back to Petrillo and the insight and initiative he took to make the program a reality.

Sharon Etherington, Senior Manager, Regional Administrative Services, Credit Card, Fleet, and Travel, Roche Diagnostics

  • Total vehicles: 1,500  
  • Staff supervised: 1 in Fleet
  • Years with current fleet: 4
  • Years in industry: 16 with Roche Diagnostics

Notable achievements: Upon taking the fleet role in 2016, Etherington’s focus was around creating a more fuel efficiency fleet. The focus was also due to a fleet goal of 36.7 mpg was met for the U.S. fleet. Ultimately, she was tasked with finding new fuel-efficient vehicles while keeping drivers safe and satisfied. She designed a selector that gave drivers choices to ensure fit for purpose for the drivers were also met: four popular midsize hybrid sedans, a diesel SUV and an SUV Hybrid. Not only did their choices fit well and functioned with all their fleet stakeholders, the mpg goal was met and surpassed.  

In the end, her strategy helped deliver a 37.1 mpg for sales and service fleet and the fleet is now 88% hybrids. From 2018 to 2019, the fleet increased by 72 vehicles, yet total fuel costs went down, with one primary reason being a fuel economy improvement.

In 2019, an overhaul to the fleet’s safety program began. A comprehensive fleet safety program designed to provide more insights to keep drivers safer on the road. She helped do this by adding continuous MVR monitoring, a variety of training programs, proactive vehicle driving lessons, leadership involvement, and an approach that help identify high and severe risk drivers.

Marie McGraw, Manager of Fleet Administration, Supernus Pharmaceuticals

  • Total vehicles: 232
  • Staff supervised: Currently 0 direct reports and 232 drivers indirectly
  • Years with current fleet: 8 1/2 years
  • Years in industry: 13 years

Notable achievements: In 2012, McGraw started out with zero vehicles and has gone on to build a successful corporate fleet program from the ground up. Under her direct leadership, she’s managed to grow the size of her fleet from zero to 232 units with an additional 51 units being added by the end of year 2020. 

McGraw’s fleet management strategy has brought measurable savings, accident reductions, and overall fleet enhancements to her company. Some testaments to her  performance include ordering 100% of her vehicles through the factory, which saved over $3,000 per order, saving almost $30,000 in maintenance costs by steering her drivers to stay in network, and producing more than $130,600 in programing savings. She also led her fleet to 93% preventative maintenance compliance. 

Additionally, she increased her fleet’s recall completion rate by 9%. By ensuring her fleet’s vehicles were well maintained and replaced in a timely manner, McGraw also led her fleet to a 98% national auction index, which ultimately demonstrates better results in the auction lanes. Since McGraw is on top of her drivers to maintain their vehicles regularly and has an optimal replacement schedule, she is able to see some impressive results. 

Brian Wielgosz, North American Fleet Operations Leader, Sanofi

  • Total vehicles: 3,200
  • Staff supervised: 3 (1 with fleet responsibilities)
  • Years with current fleet: 13
  • Years in industry: 13

Notable achievements: Wielgosz is involved in the Sanofi fleet in many areas and has effectively pulled through global policies and strategies that has positively impacted the region’s performance. 

Some highlights from his work managing the Sanofi fleet include: implementing a harmonized vehicle selector across four business units reducing company expenses and promoting a “One Sanofi” mindset; aligning fleet and procurement teams to provide total cost of ownership (TCO) insights as well as CO2 performance for global consolidation; partnering with his FMC to implement a U.S. and Canada fleet service platform alignment program in Q3 2019; and managing a monthly review of driver buying behavior that impacts fuel spend and has significantly improved compliance. 

He also helped implement a financial scorecard that provides fixed/variable fleet costs used for budget forecasting, assisted in the transition of a global ERP system by seamlessly updating relevant financial data, and developed complex reporting to meet internal International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) requirements.

Kimberly Fisher, Global Manager, Fleet and Travel Services, National Oilwell Varco

  • Total vehicles: 2,596
  • Staff supervised: 6
  • Years with current fleet: 9
  • Years in industry: 19

Notable achievements: Being a member of the fleet industry for more than 19 years, Fisher has spent more than nine years at National Oilwell Varco. She currently manages the company’s global fleet, which consists of the U.S., Canada, United Arab Emirates, U.K. and Brazil, which continued to expand in 2020. 

She manages the relationships with fleet suppliers as well as works with internal customers to make sure they are providing the vehicles and service they need to make business successful. Fisher is most proud of her ability to find solutions for fleet, particularly with upfitting.

Fisher has been recognized as always working to find new and inventive ways to provide value to the company and her drivers. She is also seen as a mentor to many others in the industry.

Dozie Okeleke, Senior Program Manager, Peak Planning, Amazon

  • Staff supervised: 3
  • Years in industry: 11 years of experience in total (3 years in Last Mile Logistics)

Notable achievements: Okeleke is one of the many silent forces that ensures Amazon’s last mile fleet for Delivery Service Partners (DSPs) is as expansive and efficient as it is today. In 2019, Okeleke took on the lead role of managing Amazon’s rental program for DSPs and helped expand it five times, from the end of 2018, to a fully developed, variable fleet structure that is expected to swell to over 23,000 vehicles on the road during the end of year holiday season in 2020. 

Okeleke collaborated with industry partners and company stakeholders to develop, cultivate, and construct fleet programs and services that both streamlined operations and enabled rapid growth to meet seasonal vehicle demand. He helped scale an entirely new business model, which has become a critical part of Amazon’s current variable fleet program, which included more formalized vehicle acquisitions. 

Through the development of a variable fleet program, Okeleke played a key role in supporting Amazon’s DSP operations during a time when home delivery is more critical than ever.

Kate E. Tooley, Director of Fleet Strategy & Operations, Terminix

  • Total vehicles: 11,620           
  • Staff supervised: 3
  • Years with current fleet: 1
  • Years in industry: 18

Notable achievements: Tooley has used a combination of identifying and targeting both hard and soft cost savings to streamline operations and reduce fleet spend at Terminix, and she has made significant gains in only a year. 

She led a concerted effort to consolidate fleet management operations, integrate processes, and use data to drive efficiency. She began by restructuring the fleet team and redefining the way they managed the fleet. 

Strategies she leveraged included the opportunity to use bailment pools for additional efficiencies; developing a personal use charge program; targeted driver fuel cost reduction programs and optimizing lease amortization terms; and more. Tooley also led reporting improvements that added clarity and data integrity for vehicle enrollment and lease records, and she implemented employee record improvements that reduced the company’s data risk. It is estimated that combined, these efforts, along with their resulting fuel and maintenance savings, have saved its parent company, ServiceMaster, over $6.5 million across the fleet.  

She is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, Logistics Corps.

Dan Baker, Global Commodity Manager, Kennametal 

  • Total vehicles: 400+             
  • Staff supervised: 0
  • Years with current fleet: 1
  • Years in industry: 1

Notable achievements: Baker joined the Kennametal team in July of 2019 while previously with US Steel for eight years. His two main responsibilities were procuring one of the top three raw materials in steel and managing logistics fleet tariff pricing and allocations. 

Coming from a supply chain and logistics background, this was Baker’s first experience with fleet. Though Baker was new to fleet, he applied his abilities and strengths to make such a big impact in a short period of time with Kennametal. The biggest transformation he has brought so far was rightsizing fleet asset while procuring a bid which resulted in a projected savings of over $2.1 million over the life of the vehicles being exchanged. 

While cost savings is admirable, Baker prides himself in creating a safer environment for Kennametal’s sales employee while also standardizing and simplifying the process. Baker’s drive comes from his pleasure to assist internal customer service requests. These then turn into establishing meaningful relationships to help drive the companies needs through cross functional collaboration efforts.  

About the author
Andy Lundin

Andy Lundin

Former Senior Editor

Andy Lundin was a senior editor on Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, and Green Fleet.

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