As a group, their combined active fleet experience totals a remarkable 300-plus years. They worked, guided, and shaped the industry in a wide range of functions. For their pioneering and innovating leadership, this outstanding group of 10 will be formally inducted in the Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) 2008 annual conference September 11 in Phoenix.

The 2008 Hall of Fame inaugural class joins 20 founding members, announced in May. Sponsored by AFLA, the Hall of Fame will annually recognize notable fleet leaders with at least 10 years industry experience whose contributions have significantly impacted fleet.

The 2008 AF Hall of Fame inductees include:

Emil Ames

Ames began his automotive industry career as service manager for a Packard Dealership in New York City. He joined Universal CIT Credit Corp. in the early 1940s , remaining there until retiring in 1963. He served as manager of the car control department, overseeing repossession sales and a 2,200-vehicle company-owned car fleet.

From the early days of fleet, Ames was involved in industry groups. He was a member of the Round Table Group, the forerunner of the National Association of Fleet Administrators (now NAFA Fleet Management Association). Representing fleet managers from various commercial entities and public utilities, primarily in the Northeast, the Group met monthly to discuss issues and factors affecting early corporate fleet operations and increased fleet ­exposure.

A founding NAFA member — loaning $5 to start the treasury in 1957 — Ames was actively involved in the organization throughout his career. He served as 1960-1961 NAFA president and was instrumental in hiring Howard DaSilva for the organization’s first legal counsel. Ames passed away in the late 1960s.

Gene Arbaugh

Arbaugh was hired by Peterson, Howell & Heather (now PHH Arval) in 1964 as manager of the Title and Tax Department. After serving in several management positions, he was named vice president of legal services in 1971 and appointed senior vice president, truck and equipment programs in 1974. Arbaugh became senior vice president of the Car Division in 1976 and was promoted to executive vice president in 1978.

Under Arbaugh’s leadership, Peterson, Howell & Heather continued its role as a fleet management industry innovator. While serving as senior vice president, he was responsible for expanding truck and equipment programs. As president of Peterson, Howell & Heather, he managed the acquisition of Avis Leasing’s domestic fleet operation. In 1987, Arbaugh was named vice president of PHH Corp. corporate marketing.

Ray Breault

Breault began his fleet career in 1959 at Hoffmann La Roche (now Roche) in Nutley, N.J. A Round Table Group member, Breault joined NAFA in 1960 and remains active today. He served at all New York chapter levels and on the National Governing Board, where he held all positions except treasurer, including president from 1977-1979.  An affiliate member of four Eastern Region chapters, Breault received the Outstanding Chapter Service award in 2004.

In 1977, Breault joined Revlon Cosmetics Inc. as national director of fleet operations. After retiring from Revlon in 1990, he joined Rental Concepts Inc. (now Fleet Response) as regional sales manager, He provided an innovative car rental program to corporate fleets in the Northeast territory. Officially retiring in 1998, he returned to Fleet Response as a part-time Northeast sales service representative, a position he still holds.

Al Cavalli

Cavalli’s fleet industry career began in 1948 at Universal CIT Credit Corp. (UCIT) working with mentor Emil Ames. He spent several years at UCIT, becoming VP client relations and director, retiring in 1981. He joined Avis Car Leasing as manager of sales and service, retiring in 1989. His several industry firsts include a national account repair and maintenance program, safe driving manual, and a computerized replacement schedule program. Cavalli was a Round Table Group member and served as 1963-1965 NAFA New York chapter chairman and NAFA president 1969-1971. He initiated the group’s Fleet Safety Manual, Fleet Manager’s Manual, and established a uniform Chapter Code of Regulations. His honors include NAFA’s honorary member award and Distinguished Service Award, and the 1968 Automotive Fleet Fleet Manager of the Year award. Cavalli serves as field editor for Automotive Fleet.

Dick Heather

Dick Heather was a founder of Peterson, Howell & Heather (currently PHH Arval) in 1946. The company’s three founding partners had worked together at Butler Brothers, a Chicago-based national wholesaler of general merchandise, prior to WWII. Heather served in the Navy during the war and following his discharge, decided to join Harley Howell and Duane Peterson in their proposed venture to find a better way for companies to manage their sales fleets. Heather brought a wealth of sales and marketing savvy to the new company. He was instrumental selling this new concept and helping the idea of fleet management take root within corporate offices.

He served as PHH’s chairman of the Board from 1962-1971, and under his leadership, the company expanded and diversified the nature and scope of PHH’s outsourced services.

Jack Kolb

An accounting and MBA graduate of Drexel University, Kolb worked for the university for 11 years, the final four as controller. He joined Holman Enterprises in 1950 as a dealer salesman and subsequently joined the Holman subsidiary, Automotive Rentals, Inc., (now Automotive Resources International, ARI). From 1957-1970, Kolb was ARI executive vice-president and general manager. Before his retirement in 2001, he also served as Holman vice chairman of the board and ARI president, director, and board chairman. He is actively involved in various organizations, including United Way and Boy Scouts of America, serving as chairman of the Burlington County Council. Kolb received the Scout’s Silver Beaver Award. He is also a past chairman and past president of the American Automobile Leasing Association (AALA). In 1996, Kolb was named one of Drexel University’s 100 Outstanding Alumni.

Arno Neuber

Born in 1909 in Camden, N.J., Neuber began an automotive industry career with Rice & Holman Ford in 1950 as a sales representative. He transferred to Automotive Rentals, Inc., (now ARI) as a sales manager. In 1970, he succeeded James Deasy as president and CEO of ARI. Neuber also served as vice chairman of ARI’s parent company, Holman Enterprises and ARI chairman of the board. Following his retirement in 1977, he remained a director of ARI and Holman Enterprises.

An AALA president and board chairman, Neuber was also a director of the Highway Users Federation and member of the National Defense Executive Reserve Board. His philanthropic activities included board membership of both the Boy Scouts (Burlington County Chapter), and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.

Don Rappeport

A Chicago native and graduate of the University of Illinois, Rappeport, is a WWII Navy veteran. In 1965, after years in automotive sales and working for Greyhound, Rappeport, recognized the potential of the fleet leasing and management industry and founded the Donlen Corporation with partner Leonard Vine. Rappeport directed company sales, while Vine oversaw day-to-day operations. Throughout Rappeport’s tenure at Donlen and as president, he remained heavily involved in company sales. Retirement was a gradual process, and today he serves as chairman of the board.

An enthusiastic Chicago Cubs fan, Rappeport enjoys watching his home team play whenever possible. He is also involved with several philanthropic organizations, including the American Cancer Foundation, the American Diabetes Foundation, and the Jewish United Fund.

John Rock

Rock, former fleet director, divisional general manager, and vice president of General Motors, began his career with GM in 1960 as a district manager trainee with Buick. Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1959 with a degree in psychology, Rock’s father, a Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealer convinced him to work with GM. Rock was fleet director for Buick Motor Division. From 1970-1973, Rock was director, fleet and government sales for the GM Fleet Section. In 1979, he worked in Australia as an executive director of marketing for Holden’s Automotive Limited, a GM business unit. Rock relocated to Detroit to manage the GMC Truck Division. In 1991, Rock was named a GM vice president, a position he held until his retirement in 1997. His philanthropic activities included Senior Meals Program in Hot Springs, S.D. Rock passed away from cancer November 2007 at 71.

Gary Tepas

A former U.S. Army Ranger, Tepas’ early business career included positions with General Motors, Hertz Car Leasing Division, and Donlen Leasing. In 1978, Samuel Rea, chairman of Emkay Inc., recruited Tepas as executive VP of administration and finance. He was named president, CEO, and chairman, retiring in 2007, but remains chairman in a non-executive capacity.

Tepas played key roles in AALA, including 1990-1992 president and 1992-1994 chairman. As federal legislation chair, he represented AALA in discussions with the Treasury Department on fleet vehicle depreciation, with the House Ways & Means Committee regarding taxation, and with the Department of Commerce. He led industry efforts on odometer reform, standards that still apply. He initiated AALA’s first State Tax and Legislative Committee. He has also been effective in fleet-related state and local legislative efforts.

About the author
Lisajoyce Vergara

Lisajoyce Vergara

Former Assistant Editor

Lisajoyce Vergara is a former assistant editor with Bobit Business Media's AutoGroup.

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