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.  -  Photo: Bobit

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.

Photo: Bobit

Three finalists for the 2023 Edward J. Bobit Fleet Manager of the Year award have been announced.

The accolade recognizes a proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas.

The award, sponsored by Wheels and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), will be presented at the 2023 AFLA Corporate Fleet Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 2-5, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa.

An early adopter of fleet electrification, Sharon Etherington’s goal is a 100% electric Roche Diagnostics fleet by 2030.  -  Photo: S. Etherington

An early adopter of fleet electrification, Sharon Etherington’s goal is a 100% electric Roche Diagnostics fleet by 2030.

Photo: S. Etherington

Sharon Etherington

Senior Manager, Regional Administrative Services, Roche Diagnostics

Total Vehicles: 1,731

Number of Staff Supervised: 2

Years with Current Fleet: 8

Years in Fleet Industry: 17 

A promoter of industry excellence and a fleet innovator, Sharon Etherington was an early adopter in 2005 of fleet electrification. The Roche Diagnostics fleet currently is 82.8% hybrid and 12.22% PHEV/BEV, with the goal of being fully electric by 2030.

Etherington’s change management program to guide drivers in the EV transition includes assessing driver readiness, identifying adaptable drivers, vehicle training, communicating updated company policies, driver EV experience surveys, and bimonthly conference calls.

In 2022, Etherington achieved more than $3.4 million in savings through OEM incentives, contractual rebates, and other initiatives.

Her driver satisfaction program resulted in a positive response rate of 88%.

Etheridge’s safety program, which emphasizes driver engagement, has consistently reduced accident rates with preventable accidents down 23.8% YOY.

She also promotes efficiency-producing electronic driver tools to access documents, check registrations and new vehicle status, trace fuel usage and complete monthly mileage reporting. Current driver use rate of these tools measures 79%.

Etherington shares her electrification experience and knowledge throughout the industry. Active in NAFA, AFLA and Fleet Forward, she received the 2019 Fleet Visionary of the Year Award, 2020 AALA Fleet Safety Award, and 2022 AFLA President’s Award.

Kimberly Fisher successfully implemented the concept of cycling services bodies onto new chassis to extend the life of the service body, a change- management process for her field.  -  Photo: K. Fisher

Kimberly Fisher successfully implemented the concept of cycling services bodies onto new chassis to extend the life of the service body, a change- management process for her field.

Photo: K. Fisher

Kimberly Fisher

Director, Global Gleet and Travel Services, NOV

Vehicles managed: 3,000

Staff supervised: 6

Years with current fleet: 11

Years in industry: 21

Kimberly Fisher has been in the fleet industry for more than 20 years and with National Oilwell Varco for more than 10 years. She and her team have effectively managed the fleet as it continuously fluctuates in size to accommodate industry demands.

She currently manages the company’s expanding global fleet and travel programs. Being flexible and agile to shift as the company’s needs change is one of Fisher’s strengths. She and her team’s ability to meet the needs of their field is key to their success as a department.

Fisher successfully implemented the concept of cycling service bodies onto new chassis to extend the life of the service body, a change-management process for her field. Historically, the field has viewed the service body as part of a single chassis, therefore good for only one cycle. Moving to a multi-chassis cycle will save $2 million by 2024.

Fisher is active in industry events and serves on the GM Commercial Sounding Board, the Element Customer Advisory Board and the recipient of the 2021 Global Fleet Visionary Award.

Abe Stephenson manages several fleets totaling 3,800 vehicles across the DISH business lines,  -  Photo: A. Stephenson

Abe Stephenson manages several fleets totaling 3,800 vehicles across the DISH business lines,

Photo: A. Stephenson

Abe Stephenson

Senior Business Operations Manager, DISH

Total vehicles: 3,800

Staff supervised: 4

Years with current fleet: 16

Years in industry: 16

According to colleagues, Abe Stephenson is one of the few fleet managers who directs all aspects of fleet. An out-of-the box thinker, he manages several fleets totaling 3,800 vehicles across the DISH business lines, including DISH and OnTech branded vans, Boost Mobile sedans, 4x4 trucks for Tower Climbers and Drone Pilots, and most recently the 4x4 trucks and AWD SUVs used by the 5G Deployment teams.

Notably, he and his team built the 5G Deployment fleet by requiring negotiation of new factory orders across OEMs, dealer stock purchases, new rental truck partners, and transfers from other areas of the business to support the company's buildout plans and timelines.

Stephenson worked with one of his FMCs to transfer vehicles from another client, enabling DISH to retire older vehicles on schedule and participate at scale in today's elevated resale environment. He continues to maintain loyal relationships with vehicle OEMs, allowing the required flow of new vans and trucks to maintain normal business operations and minimize overspend in other areas.

Finally, the DISH team negotiated favorable terms with a GPS provider to enable use of vehicle OEM options that don't require aftermarket devices, plus solutions for new asset types such as trailer-mounted generators.

2023 Award Judges

A 20-member judging panel of industry professionals will determine the winner of the 2023 Fleet Manager of the Year award.

Active Past Winners

  • 2022 – Jonathan Kamanns
  • 2021 – Jim Petrillo
  • 2020 – Lee Pierce
  • 2019 – Erin Gilchrist-Rugg
  • 2001 – Susan Miller

Fleet Manaement Companies

  • Brice Adamson, Enterprise Fleet Management
  • Brad Burgess, Merchants
  • Shlomo Crandus, Wheels
  • Matt Dyer, Wheels
  • Frank Dankovich, Stellantis
  • David Madrigal, Element
  • Bob Martines, Corporate Claims Corporation
  • Gary Tepas, Emkay
  • Bob White, Holman

Manufacturers

  • Ted Cannis, Ford
  • Peter Hanley, Nissan
  • Mark Oldenburg, Toyota
  • Ed Peper, GM Envolve

Dealer

  • Rick Nicoletti, Napleton Fleet

Media

  • Mike Antich, Automotive Fleet
About the author
Cindy Brauer

Cindy Brauer

Former Managing Editor

Cindy Brauer is a former managing editor for Bobit Business Media’s AutoGroup. A native of Chicago but resident of Southern California since her teens, Brauer studied journalism and earned a communications degree at California State University Fullerton. Over her career, she has written and edited content for a variety of publishing venues in a disparate range of fields.

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