After 20 years in fleet, I realize I still have so much more to learn — but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  -  Photo: Chris Brown

After 20 years in fleet, I realize I still have so much more to learn — but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photo: Chris Brown

Careers tend to have inauspicious starts. 

I had been temping with Bobit for a couple of years, working in the classified ad department (remember classified ads?) and writing business profiles for Bobit’s erstwhile aftermarket magazines. Ed Bobit, the company’s founder and The Coach, took me out to lunch one day. He asked me what I knew about publishing, fleets, and the automotive business in general. “Not much,” I told him. “But I’m willing to learn.” 

Coach’s succinct reply: “Good answer, you’re hired.”

That was 20 years ago. My career at Bobit began with Business Fleet, which serves the vast, dispersed market of small companies operating various types of commercial vehicles. We joke that without a dedicated fleet manager, those readers don’t even know the word fleet — but they need a lot of help to manage their assets. 

Two years later I assumed editorial responsibility for Auto Rental News, the polar opposite of Business Fleet — a consumer-facing industry of local mom-and-pops on up to multinational corporations running hundreds of thousands of vehicles. 

From there I learned the intricacies of fleets of all types in between. I shook as many hands, kicked as many tires, interviewed as many people, and wrote as many articles as I could. I dove into the industry events, went on to manage events, and even founded one

And yet, I realized the more I learned, the more I had to learn. 

This path brings me to today. With Mike Antich’s departure in 2023, I assumed the head editorial and associate publisher role of Automotive Fleet. Mike is, and always will be, an icon in fleet. I can’t fill those shoes, and I’m not about to try! But as Mike did, I recognize my duty to the brand and its fleet manager constituency. 

As I see it, AF’s prime directive is to help make fleets more efficient, productive, safe, and sustainable. Simple enough, right? 

It’s not so simple considering the fleet managers reading this now: You oversee commercial and corporate fleets of one hundred to tens of thousands of units. You manage sales fleets of passenger cars, regional fleets in Class 6 box trucks, vocational fleets with intricate upfits, delivery fleets in cargo and step vans, agricultural fleets in refrigerator trucks, and off-road fleets in oil and gas — to name just a few fleet types — along with global fleets in vehicle models from around the world. 

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for any fleet type. The methods by which each of you achieves your goals are as varied as the hundreds of thousands of units you collectively manage. 

With this diverse readership in mind, my commitment is to help you run efficient, productive, safe, and sustainable fleets. I’ll: 

  • Understand your needs by learning from you.
  • Share my perspective on current trends through articles, blogs, webinars, and face-to-face. 
  • Interpret systems, products, and processes and communicate them to you.
  • Connect you with vendors with the right solutions for your fleet.
  • Create community through events, associations, digital forums, and individual communication. 

They say you don’t seek out a fleet manager’s job when you’re starting your career, but here you are with the immense responsibility of managing dispersed, constantly moving assets. Nor did I expect to be managing an automotive trade media brand. Here we are together in a dynamic, complex, and fascinating industry that we all embrace.

I still have so much more to learn, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to working with all of you to achieve your goals. Reach out to me any time at [email protected], 310-533-2499, or LinkedIn.

About the author
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Associate Publisher

As associate publisher of Automotive Fleet, Auto Rental News, and Fleet Forward, Chris Brown covers all aspects of fleets, transportation, and mobility.

View Bio