The Fleet Visionary will be presented at the 2022 Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) annual conference, which will be held in Tucson, Arizona, October 10-13 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.
This year’s theme is “Forward Together,” and the finalists below helped lead their teams through another year of global supply shortages, skyrocketing fuel costs, and more.
Sponsored exclusively by Merchants Fleet, the Fleet Visionary Award recognizes bold voices in fleet management. The Fleet Visionary Award is open to any fleet professional with 10 years or fewer in the industry with a commercial fleet of 50 vehicles or more.
A fleet visionary is someone who has brought a new perspective to running a commercial fleet resulting in a fleet that is more operationally efficient, cost-effective, safer, or any combination of these by introducing new methods, efficiencies, and/or technologies.
The visionary isn't just someone with a good idea. They are part salesman, part number cruncher, part coach, part quarterback — able to both inspire and get things done. A fleet visionary is passionate and practical.
Automotive Fleet and Merchants Fleet would like to extend a sincere congratulations to every person nominated this year.
The award is sponsored by Merchants Fleet and will be presented at the 2022 AFLA conference in in Tucson, Arizona, Oct. 10 – 13, 2022, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the award dinner held at the Marriott.
The finalists appear below in alphabetical order.
Senior fleet manager, Enel North America
Years in fleet: 6
Patrick Mitchell has played a significant role in executing Enel North America’s sustainability goals by being on the leading edge of creating a more sustainable fleet. He has played a key role in transitioning the fleet to hybrids and EVs. Today, hybrid and electric vehicles are provided for all leases (unless the required vehicle class is not available). Mitchell finds the best locations to deploy a significant order of BEVs for field operation teams and the expansion of EVs to their employee fleet. He is also working with the company's e-mobility business line, Enel X Way, to install smart charging infrastructure at Enel offices, plants, and employee homes and has even co‐written grant applications to support EV charger implementations.
Finally, Mitchell has worked on a company project regarding key performance indicators to plan how Enel can expand hybrid and EV implementations to help fulfill its sustainability goals. Integrating hybrids has yielded reductions in emissions and gains in fuel economy. To date in 2022, 15% of all miles travelled in the Enel fleet utilized a hybrid vehicle and the proportion is increasing. Of those hybrids, 87% of those miles were travelled by pickup trucks that have averaged 12% better fuel economy than their non‐electrified counterparts, reducing CO2 output of nearly six tons.
Since 2018, hybrid vehicles in the fleet have averaged 61% better fuel economy saving an estimated 6,100 gallons of gasoline - a 60‐ton decrease in carbon emissions overall. Enel’s sustainability successes provided the building blocks for incremental growth and poised for tremendous expansion just as advancements in hybrid vehicles, PHEVs, and EVs hit the market. Hybrid vehicles offered sustainable, safe, reliable, and efficient transportation for all regions and weather conditions. For EVs, common stereotypes and hesitations broke down once employees drove them. Further, employees that drive hybrids and EVs have a tremendous sense of pride in their vehicles. Certainly, battery range is a consideration, but any concerns are easily overcome through use of technological resources and proper planning.
Mitchell has been instrumental in transforming the Enel fleet, reducing emissions, and changing driver mindsets regarding hybrids and EVs.
Gary Prasad, City of New York – DCAS Fleet
Field Services Specialist
Years in fleet: 10
Gary Prasad has been directly involved in or managed many projects for the New York City Fleet that would be considered advanced or visionary. DCAS currently live tracks over 23,000 units through the Fleet Office of Real Time Tracking (FORT) - the largest public fleet telematics project in the United States. It was also an enormous installation and maintenance challenge. Prasad has spent much of the last two years coordinating these installs at 50 different city agencies and 40 separate school bus companies and has personally installed over 500 units.
In 2014, DCAS launched a truck side-guards safety initiative. This effort is now subject to two different local laws and the largest truck side-guard program in North America, with 4,300 side-guard installations completed so far. Prasad works with agencies and the vendors that DCAS and Volpe have qualified to install side-guards. He coordinates the retrofits, works with mechanic inspectors to ensure quality installation, and does the citywide side-guard tracking.
Prasad will soon play a new and equally critical role as the initiative is expanded from city fleet trucks to those working under private city contractors. Prasad also coordinated the city’s Fleet Share program. In 2021, DCAS was given one year to find, vet, and contract for a new service in this unique area. Prasad led a time-sensitive installation and training process for nearly 500 units shared across and within agencies.
Prasad has received multiple honors and awards during his time at DCAS. In 2017 he represented DCAS at an IIHS roundtable discussion on sideguards, and in 2019 he was invited to the mayor’s State of the City address due to his exemplary customer service and his work on sustainability.
Prasad follows a simple and powerful idea, “dedication makes dreams come true.” The projects he has advanced have all been quite successful and telematics reveals a decrease in serious collisions. The fleet is on track to finish sideguard and camera installs under his leadership and is working toward new projects that can help manage speed, vehicle utilization, and resource allocation.
Senior sourcing and merchandise category manager, Land O’Lakes
Years in fleet: 2
Two years ago, Darren Scott acquired responsibility for the Land O’Lakes, Inc. fleet category without having prior experience. He inherited a program that had experienced significant growth in a short period of time and as a result was fragmented with many opportunities for optimization and consolidation.
Scott began by surveying for all assets in place across business units and physical locations and conducting a comparison against third-party vendors to reconcile records with physical assets. From here he moved into reviewing fleet operations.
Within operations he identified opportunity in the purchasing processes and centralization of operation services. Scott saw the need for and implemented an expanded lease program, limiting the acquisition partnerships to two choices instead of the multiple and disparate options previously provided. Scott also established a new contract for medium- and heavy-duty acquisition with necessary upfitting.
To centralize operations, he consolidated all programs under one Sourcing role and primary FMC for full visibility of a centralized database, maintenance, fuel spend, registrations, and integrated reporting, all while negotiating a self-taught crash course in fleet.
The initiative was extremely successful and created a path to achieve improvement and efficiencies across multiple areas of the Land O’Lakes, Inc. fleet through a modern, streamlined fleet program. Beginning with the auditing and termination of over 900 antiquated or missing assets from multiple databases, he consolidated and continues to consolidate all vehicles into one FMC database, providing Land O’Lakes with full fleet visibility and control of all assets. The program now allows for over 30 medium- and heavy-duty acquisitions with upfitting annually.
Furthermore, Scott established a CMVC program to handle IFTA, IRP for look up, state taxes, road use, and DOT needs teamed with his EH&S plus Transportation partners. He implemented a fuel program consolidation plan for leased, pool, client-owned, and commercial vehicles, providing visibility for cost management and spend controls. The fleet program now has aggregated visibility for vehicle inventory, fuel, maintenance, commercial registrations, and plate renewals along with consolidated reporting. Scott’s organizational skills, passion, and vision has positioned the Land O’Lakes fleet for the future.
Congratulations to all the nominees and finalists!