The Women in Fleet profile series introduces fleet managers to some of the most influential women in fleet. Every month, we get to know another positive force in the fleet industry.
This month, we spoke with Marty Betagole, CEO of Mike Albert Fleet Solutions.
Getting into Fleet
Betagole has been involved in the fleet industry since the late 1970s via her family business Mike Albert Fleet Solutions.
“I spent one college summer helping with accounts receivable. After graduation, I was unhappily working at a plastic injection molding company when the controller at Mike Albert asked me to join the company as her assistant, and I accepted. Then, a few years later, when she fell ill, I became the controller,” Betagole explained.
Over the past 43 years, Betagole has done just about everything at the company except service vehicles.
“As CEO, I deal with the enjoyable things and the challenging things. My current responsibilities primarily involve strategy and direction, board relations, management oversight, and some community relations,” she said.
While she did not realize it at the time, Betagole noted that being a woman in a highly male-dominated industry may have presented challenges.
“Today, there are hundreds of women involved in fleet and dozens involved in fleet management. But during fleet meetings in the 20th century, there were only a dozen or so women in attendance. I don’t think that being a woman affected my actions, but suspect it may have affected the perception that peers had of me and my abilities,” she explained.
Another obstacle has been technology. As we know, the fleet business involves some unique technology requirements.
“The relatively small number of players in our industry isn’t enough to entice tech companies to develop software products designed specifically for fleet. So, while you’ll see software programs developed for the car dealership industry due to its large number of potential buyers, you don’t see that happening for the smaller-sized fleet industry. We must develop original software or modify our processes to work within over-the-counter options. This can be very challenging, as well as expensive,” she said.
Through her fleet experience, Betagole has also learned the value of teams.
“A group empowered to share their opinions on a topic almost always comes up with a better solution than an individual does on their own,” she said. “And, since there were usually individuals out there with more expertise in certain areas than I had, I learned how important it was to ‘get the right people on the bus,’ as Jim Collins advises in his book ‘Good to Great.’ I’d add to that advice that you also need to get the right people in the right seats on the bus.”
Get to Know Me
Past experiences in fleet are only part of our story as individuals in the industry. Here is a little more about Betagole:
Vision of the Future: “My current responsibilities slant heavily towards strategy development rather than operations management and I see that continuing. The transportation industry is experiencing major disruption and I think that fleet companies can play a significant role in the evolved transportation world – whatever that comes to look like. For now, I find myself reading, listening, brainstorming and discussing how we position Mike Albert Fleet Solutions for continued success in the mobility industry,” she said.
You May Not Know: “I took the LSAT during my last semester of college but didn’t have the confidence to apply to law school at that time. Fifteen years later, when I was a divorced mother of two small children, I returned to law school, graduated, and passed the bar,” Betagole shared.