Automotive Fleet’s Fleet Manager of the Year award, co-sponsored by Wheels Inc. and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), is presented annually at the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Fleet Management Institute (FMI) conference. The 2007 award will mark 23 years of recognizing an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies. A panel of judges consisting of past award recipients, manufacturers, auctions, fleet management companies, and dealers select the winner.

So, just how does winning one of fleet’s most prestigious awards influence the careers of those honored?

Name: Josie Sharp

Title: Director, Bureau of Vehicle Management

Company: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Location: Harrisburg, Pa.

Years in Fleet: 20

Total Vehicles: 16,400

Year Won: 2003

“My career did a ‘180’ after winning the award. At the time, I was manager, fleet and safety, for Aventis Pharmaceuticals, based in Bridgewater, N.J. I had no thoughts of going to the public sector. As soon as I returned home from NAFA, I was offered a job in state government. My first response was ‘no, thank you;’ my second response was ‘no, thank you.’

“After many discussions with change leaders in Harrisburg, I realized this was an opportunity to broaden my background and make a contribution. Even though I thought I understood the public sector, I didn’t truly understand it until I was able to actually live it. The public and private sectors are similar in their goals to manage the fleet efficiently and at the lowest possible cost, but each sector has its method of reaching the goal.

“Part of the reason I decided to accept the job was because the governor of Pennsylvania wanted to run the state like a business. He was recruiting people from the private sector, and I felt I could make a contribution to my home state.

“This experience has given me a different perspective on how state government fleets operate, and I’m able to contribute through my experience in the private sector. I’ve also learned about processes, such as RFPs, which I didn’t experience before.”

Name: Sue Miller

Title: Fleet Manager

Company: McDonald’s Corp.

Location: Oakbrook, Ill.

Years in Fleet: 20

Total Vehicles: 3,453

Year Won: 1998

“I had been the fleet manager for McDonald’s Corp. for 12 years when I won the Fleet Manager of the Year award. This past September, I celebrated my 20th year in fleet management services with the company, 15 years as manager.

“The award drew attention to the scope and impact of our work and the many ‘customers’— both internally and externally — the fleet department touches. It also brought new attention to our vendor partnerships and how those partnerships could benefit the entire organization.

 “Personally, it elevated my influence and recognition as the subject matter expert for fleet and auto industry matters. When people visit me and see the trophy on my desk, they are visibly impressed! It is a symbol of the professionalism that exists in our industry and of those who work to maintain it.

“I could not have been more proud and excited to receive the award. It ranks right up there with getting married and having my kids! My career has always been an important and fun part of my life. Being named Fleet Manager of the Year was absolutely fantastic. Receiving recognition from your peers is the best honor.”

Name: Jim McCarthy

Title: Director

Company: Siemens Shared Services

Location: Iselin, N.J.

Years in Fleet: 13

Total Vehicles: 14,408

Year Won: 2005

            “I can honestly say that for Siemens, this award has influenced, in some way, everyone in the department — and rightfully so, since each team member was directly responsible for bringing this recognition to Shared Services. Overall, as a department, our market share went from 87 to 100 percent, almost overnight. Many customers became more responsive to recommendations and others became more aggressive in seeking consultations. The increase in respect for not only what we do, but also how we do it and, for everyone in the department who makes it happen, was extremely noticeable.

“In recognition of their participation in making this award a reality, two of our team members have been promoted to more visible, key account manager positions within the procurement & logistics department, and two others have been promoted internally to fleet account executive positions.

“Personally, I must admit I was afforded a few other opportunities, but I chose to stay right here. For me, winning this award was both a beginning and an end. First, it was the culmination of many years of hard work by a very dedicated and loyal fleet team; but on the other hand, it was the beginning of a whole new series of challenges I wanted to be a part of. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to get to the top than it is to stay on top, and that’s the challenge we are currently facing.”

Name: Debbie Mize

Title: Corporate Services Manager, Fleet & Relocations

Company: Hallmark Cards

Location: Kansas City, Mo.

Years in Fleet: 30

Total Vehicles: 1,000

Year Won: 1995

            “In addition to the honor of being recognized by my peers, winning the award gave me an awareness of my role in fleet management with Hallmark. Receiving national recognition also elevates the importance of the department and my position.

            “The award also increased my visibility within the fleet industry and provided me a larger networking base, recognition as a respected source of information for new employees, credibility, and the opportunity to hold advisory board nominations. Winning this award was far more important to me in terms of the impression I can make in the industry rather than in Hallmark.” 

Name: Jim Anselmi

Title: Director of Fleet & Travel

Company: Lorillard Tobacco Co.

Location: Greensboro, N.C.

Years in Fleet: 41

Total Vehicles: 1,350

Year Won: 2002

 “I very much appreciated and was honored by the recognition. I’ve been involved in some aspect of the automotive industry since 1965. Receiving the Fleet Manager of the Year award from respected industry leaders and peers is one the highlights of my career. It validated what I was doing and encouraged me to do more of the same.”

Name: Scott Mayo

Title: Director of Fleet

Company: Wendy’s International, Inc.

Location: Dublin, Ohio

Years in Fleet: 22

Total Vehicles: 1,000

Year Won: 2006

“Winning the Fleet Manager of the Year award helped to open doors and give me exposure in the industry. It pushed me to want to remain in the fleet business after my current position with Wendy’s was eliminated. It was an honor to be recognized by my peers for my job efforts.”

Anonymous Author

Anonymous Author

Public Fleet Manager

The anonymous public fleet manager is a current working fleet manager who oversees a public fleet in the U.S. He writes about controversial and stimulating topics and expresses candid opinions about some of the challenges and demands of running a fleet operation day-to-day, as well as topics that affect the industry. More than one author can contribute under the "anonymous" name, leading to a diversity of voices and opinions.