Gail Watson, CAFM, fleet and parking services manager for Nationwide Insurance Co., retired from the company on August 18, 2021. Watson began her career with Nationwide Insurance 40 years ago, with all but one of those years involved in fleet.
Her position at Nationwide Insurance included managing the fleet leasing contract for 3,000 nationally dispersed vehicles with an annual spend of $38 million. Watson was also responsible for employee parking services. As fleet manager, her job responsibilities included the development of policies and processes with an emphasis on the customer experience, the management and quality assurance of national suppliers, with an emphasis on vehicle selection, mileage requirements, personal use, maintenance management, and fuel.
Watson began her fleet career when the predecessor fleet manager needed a part-time administrator. In an earlier interview with Automotive Fleet, Watson described how she was hired at Nationwide Insurance Co.
“I applied and was hired to help my boss take insurance premium payments from our policyholders. My boss, I quickly learned, was passionate about fleet and it was quick to rub off on me. We worked together for 15 years and when he retired, I moved into his position. He was active in NAFA at both the chapter and national level, so I became familiar with the organization very early on,” she explained.
During her fleet career, Watson prided herself on her approach to working with her internal customers.
“I’ve always strived for consistency in administering fleet policies, making sure we’re making decisions that are able to be applied in all cases,” she said.
Motivation came easy for Watson. “This industry and the role of a fleet manager is unique, and I think because everything is always new and different, it keeps me intrigued. Many have asked me why I have stayed in my job so long. The answer is simple—there is always something new —new vehicles, new technology, new people. It’s never been boring!” Watson said.
Upon retirement from the fleet industry, Watson shared advice with those just starting their careers in the fleet industry: “I know and have known fleet professionals who excel in their jobs because they have the passion and have taken the initiative to educate them-selves and are heavily involved with organizations such as NAFA and AFLA. Learn all you can, stay close to your company’s values, and strive for originality. And most of all, remember your customers,” said Watson.