Celebrating new voices in fleet management, the Fleet Visionary Award, sponsored by Merchants Fleet,industry leaders who have brought a new perspective to running a commercial fleet resulting in a more efficient, cost-effective, safer fleet ioperation by introducing new methods, efficiencies, and/or technologies.
The Fleet Visionary may or may not be a fleet manager but has taken an active leadership role as a new voice in the company's fleet organization to promote and champion innovation even in the face of internal or external opposition. The visionary isn't just someone with a good idea. He or she is part salesman, part number-cruncher, part coach, part quarterback — able to both inspire and get things done.
Click on the link below to vote who should receive the Fleet Vionary Award for 2023:
Global Pharm Fleet Manager, Genentech
Years in Fleet: 8
Aleece Beaulieu has created groundbreaking integrated sustainability and technology programs to support her 1,800-vehicle fleet. Her programs display visionary leadership in fleet management. She has boldly committed to convert the fleet to 100% electric by 2030. Her initiatives include vehicle selectors offering hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric options; top electric drivers are recognized with annual sustainability awards; and a subsidized home charger program with more than 400 home chargers installed. Electricity is reimbursement based on kWh usage via automation directly linked to payroll. Beaulieu also developed a driver support and education program that includes personalized driver dash boards, a digit hub and webinars and a newsletter. She expanded a site fleet depot center to support EV charging, maintenance and washing services. This on-site depot vision is designed to enable vehicle sharing and improve vehicle utilization, saving hundreds of thousands in operating costs annually. Furthermore, Beaulieu instituted greater software integration with her FMC and HR for time-saving and speedy internal approval for ERGO and family vehicle exceptions, home charger installation approvals, and ongoing vehicle acquisition and service requests.
Due to Beaulieu’s initiatives, 35% of the deployed fleet is plug-in electric (on track to hit 2030 electric goals). Electric miles (including PHEV % electric) tracked quarterly. She continues to uncover new aspects of scaling sustainability programs. She has shared her knowledge with the fleet community at multiple conferences, such as the ACT Fleet Forum, CEVA, EV-100, and the White House EV Acceleration Challenge.
EV Lead, Element Fleet Management Corporation
Years in Fleet: 8
Francisco Cabeza has led the fleet electrification strategy and is an opinion leader while developing electric mobility projects in the public and private sectors. He has served as an advisor to automakers, developers, managers and public and private entities in developing profitable projects. Additionally, he has developed and manages association agreements with the public and private sector.
Cabeza’s notable projects include developing and implementing the business strategy for electric vehicles charging infrastructure in Latin America (Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru) and developing B2B models focused on charging infrastructure, last mile vehicles, public transport (individual and collective). He has participated in developing first public charging network in Mexico and the first electric public transport system in Mexico City. Other projects include the first electric fleets for DHL, Grupo Modelo, Estafeta, Redpack, and Lala as well as the second- largest heavy electric truck fleet in the world outside of China.
Corporate Travel and Fleet Manager, Erie Insurance Group
Years in Fleet: 5+
Tiffany Duran is an emerging fleet superstar. In the past year, she has taken on responsibility for the entire Erie fleet, demonstrating a passion for continual improvement along with the savvy for strategy development. She combs the data for potential productivity improvements, focuses on those that are viable and vigorously promotes them within her organization. She holds herself to the same high accountability standards she asks of her staff. Her passion for fleet drives her to question not only how to make her own fleet better, but to also improve fleet in general. She sees the larger picture and the ways technology is changing fleet and how that change will accelerate into the future. She will not allow her organization to ignore the tools that they already have.
In a highly successful initiative, Duran leveraged the use of technology and the mobile assistant to reduce her fleet’s administrative burden by approximately 40% by pushing for increased driver technology usage. That usage adoption rate — 48.4% in 2021 — now stands at 86.4%, with the goal of reaching 90% adoption by the end of 2023. The current percentage represents 20,100 actions saved since the beginning of this year, translating to 460.2 employee hours saved for Erie Insurance Group. Drivers are now comfortable with in-app insurance and registration reviews, fuel, trip and mileage entries, and checking order status.
Active in NAFA, Duran holds three of the organization’s certifications: CAFM, Sustainable Fleet Management, and Automotive Fleet Specialist.
Fleet Manager, Freedom Forever
Years in Fleet: 6
A former schoolteacher, Sarah Hoskins’ insatiable curiosity and innate desire to learn have set her apart, even among her more tenured colleagues in the industry. Under her tenure beginning in 2021, the fleet has grown from 720 to more than 2,000 vehicles. In 2022, she faced a significant challenge when global supply chain restraints threatened to halt the company's remarkable growth. Fearlessly embraced the challenge, Hoskins quickly leveraged all available resources for guidance. Maintaining a aerial view rather than focusing on short-term solutions, Hoskins approached the supply chain obstacles as an opportunity to evaluate her company’s long-term fleet strategy as well.
At the time, OEM vehicle orders took 34-plus weeks to fulfill. Hoskins’ readiness to work with industry partners, exploring alternative avenues, led to a collaboration with Merchants Fleet, and a vehicle acquisition strategy through Merchants’ ReadyFleet program. With access to Merchants’ pool of near-new and pre-owned vehicles to meet Freedom Forever's urgent vehicle needs, Hoskins expedited the fulfillment timeframe to just 10-12 weeks. With access to extensive upfitting and telematics as well, Hoskins ensured the fleet’s seamless operations while positioning the company for a growth. Just six years into her fleet career, Sarah is already recognized as a valuable industry steward, and we are truly fortunate to have her contributing to the future of fleet.
Director of Fleet Operations, Bimbo Bakeries
Years in Fleet: 5
Eric McCann is a visionary and early adopter of fleet electrification. At Bimbo Bakeries USA, the U.S. business of Mexico City-based Grupo Bimbo, he runs more than 60 class 5/6 commercial vehicles, managing equipment specifications, fleet sustainability initiatives, and adoption of telematics. Sustainability is a chief company value, and McCann continuously seeks new ways to preserve the environment and reduce the corporate carbon footprint. In 2019, he introduced into the fleet Motiv’s all-electric medium-duty fleet chassis for buses and trucks. Today, he runs EVs daily, measuring more than 95% uptime. McCann has electrified at least four fleet depots Most recently, he launched a fully operational 30-vehicle EV depot, securing incentive funding from Pacific Gas & Electric and California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project to shave 75% off infrastructure costs at one site and 50% of costs at another.
McCann is the person everyone calls for advice and direction on fleet electrification. He has participated on industry panels, such as the EV-focused Fleet Forward series, and has hosted webinars on fleet electrification, including such topics as working with utilities and charging station infrastructure.
Senior Manager, Fleet Operations Engineering & Design, Verizon
Years in Fleet: 5
Jimmy Pang is a leader in fleet sustainability. He sits on the Fleet Advisory Council for NTEA, the Board of Governors for the Green Truck Association, and the board of the Future Electrified Fleet Solution Council for General Motors and Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance. Pang is a mobility stakeholder for the Advanced Energy Group. He has strategized and currently is implementing the conversion of Verizon’s Fleet to EVs of all vehicle classes at consolidated (depot) and off-site (home garaged) locations. He is also developing sustainable technology solutions for MD/HD mounted equipment — for example, the first of its kind Hybrid Fiber Splicing lab for fiber optic cable splicing operations in densely populated metropolitan areas.
The successful initiatives have exploited the inherent differences between ICE and EV. Fleet operators now can run all equipment on battery system without the need to idle an engine. This solution is not only the sustainability but also limits noise pollution, vibration and heat in vehicle working areas. The first round of transitioning Verizon’s fleet to EVs or hybrids address historical needs formerly thought impossible. Switching to a more sustainable product does not always equate to compromises. In terms of driving adoption, socializing the strengths of the EV/battery internally has positively influenced the mindset of Verizon operators who now advocate for these solutions that make their day to day operations safer, more efficient, and more comfortable.
Senior Operations Manager, The Home Depot
Years in Fleet: 6
A dynamic, agile leader, Bryan Partridge identified a growing risk related to the company’s truck rental program. A large number of vehicles across stores were not being rented even though demand for the vehicles was significant. Situation was concerning for three major reasons: first, associates were spending a significant amounts of time across stores determining why vehicles couldn’t be rented – a major drain on employee productivity; second, the Home Depot customer experience was impacted by the inability to deliver services needed – and marketed – as part of their value proposition; and third, unrented vehicles meant the rental program lost potential – ultimately impacting unit’s big-picture profitability and viability. Partridge engaged his internal team members and FMC partner to investigate. Partridge and his leadership team recognized persistent trends that more easily identified unrented vehicles versus one-off situational issues related to a particular unit. Relevant issues were specific to certain stores (e.g., staffing, training needs, softer markets) and specific models and vehicle types. In response, Partridge established a white-glove service team of eight fleet coaches — each assigned to a specific region – and implemented a new weekly report capturing details on vehicles not rented for at least seven days.
The unrented vehicle initiative has been a major success. Key performance indicators YTD include: a 2% decrease in slow rent vehicles; 12% increase in rental renewals; and a reduction of repair cycles from 8.3 days to 1.9 days. Together, these early results indicate a more productive fleet that will increase revenue for the rental program and enable Home Depot to deliver on their customer experience brand promise.
Sourcing Manager, Distribution, Linde Inc.
Years in Fleet: 3+
Last December, Nasya Puntoriero assumed responsibility for management of Linde’s 5,500-vehicles fleet, a decentralized operation running under regional guidance for decades. Each region managed its own profit and loss, limiting the fleet department’s effective management. Puntoriero was tasked work with the FMC to generate multiple business/operational improvements and cost savings. Puntoriero took immediate action with a formal business planning session, analyses and specific action items. She spearheaded communication efforts to garner leadership and field support for a clear, concise change management plan. Her initiatives included measures to improve data reporting maintenance spend and driver and vehicle location; a new vehicle ordering program; and a new plan to identify under- and unutilized assets. Puntoriero developed fleet optimization strategies that provide employees more vehicle control and flexibility. Even as they continue, the initiatives have seen success, identifying actionable insights for improvement.
Puntoriero has developed relationships within OEMs to fill the gaps of reduced allocations and/or manufacturer cancellations. With the help of internal partners and the FMC, she built a more streamlined and safe Single Sign On (SSO) method. In process is incorporating a Personal Use Contribution program, with annual organizational savings expected to eclipse nearly $1 million. To enhance field satisfaction during organization changes, Puntoriero’s team continually polls drivers and field leaders to gain their trust and cooperation.
Regional Fleet Manager, Lewis Tree Service
Years in Fleet: 10
Erik Sorenson applies innovative, continuous improvement, and solutions-based approaches to challenges that require thinking beyond the status quo. He led the fleet’s ECM Enhancement Initiative, a project created to reduce risk by reprogramming asset ECMs (Engine Control Module) to set speed limiting settings across the enterprise. He also found other ways to improve that led to reducing the fleet’s carbon footprint, cutting engine wear and tear, decreasing high-cost repairs related to diesel particulate filter issues, and extending the truck lifecycle while lowering total cost of ownership.
Th 65-mph speed limit initiative touched more than 4,500 assets to reprogram the ECM, and resulted in fewer accidents, increased miles per gallon on fuel, and increased on-road compliance.
The successful project employed multiple metrics to track progress and outcomes. The ECM was also reprogrammed to control nonproductive idle time, shutting off the engine after a specific number of minutes of idle time. Sorenson factored in safety concerns to mitigate risk for vehicles in extreme weather conditions or if the PTO was engaged powering ancillary equipment. Sorenson’s approach made Lewis Tree Service a “greener” fleet, emitting far fewer emissions and cutting fuel consumption. Further, Sorenson ensured that if the truck PTO was engaged and the diesel particulate filter system went into degeneration mode, the engine allowed for RPM to increase, alleviating possible issues with clogged DPF filters that can cost thousands to repair. Sorenson’s forward, innovative actions produced reduced fuel consumption, increased maintenance intervals through fewer idling hours, led to a substantial decrease in general wear and tear on the engine and components and substantially cut total cost of ownership.
Chief Vision Officer, Work Truck Solutions
Years in Fleet: 10
Kathryn Schifferle founded Work Truck Solutions in the male dominated commercial vehicle industry and successfully led the tech company prior to her current CVO role. In that time, the organization has grown from a startup to more than 80 employees, and today serves over 1,200 dealerships. Schifferle’s drive to create solutions is at the heart of all she does. Recent buyer-focused product examples include the Vehicle Acquisition Search Tool (VAST), a one-stop shop offering access to the work truck commercial buyers need, and Comvoy.com, a national online marketplace for commercial vehicles featuring data buyers require to efficiently find what they’re looking for. To date, more than 1,200 dealers have become customers, with prospects logging nearly 28 million views on their web pages. Since its launch, Comvoy.com has grown 42% year-over-year with 30-plus vehicle search filters and more than 1 million page views per month.
Schifferle recognizes business success depends on identifying gaps in current product/service offerings; gathering key partners and motivating them with a vision; and action and iteration. With this success path in mind, Comvoy and VAST were built upon Schifferle and her team’s knowledge of the space as a foundation and coupled with continuous improvements and modifications based on buyer/user behaviors, to ultimately provide functionally efficient solutions that exceed customer needs.