Photo by Vince Taroc.

Photo by Vince Taroc. 

Automotive Fleet magazine and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce the 2015 nominees for the Fleet Hall of Fame.

Instituted to recognize fleet industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession, Hall of Fame inductees must have fleet careers spanning 10 years or more. They are selected by their peers via an online ballot.

Established in 2008 with 20 founding members, the number of annual inductees has decreased by one each year, until only three are installed this year and each year hereafter. The honorees will be inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame at AFLA’s annual conference.

There are currently 69 members of the Fleet Hall of Fame to date. This year’s list of industry veteran nominees are as follows:

Michael Braude
Emkay, Inc.
Dates in Fleet: ca. 1946-1973 (Deceased)
Braude was the founder and first president of Emkay, Inc. After moving from Russia to the U.S. in 1920 and graduating from the University of Denver in 1930, Braude eventually joined his brother-in-law Sam Katzin, and Katzin’s business partner Morton Weiss, who operated Mid-City Chevrolet and founded Midway Chevrolet in 1939. In 1946, Braude was informed that he was being made president of a new venture startup in his office at Midway Chevrolet Dealership, named Emkay Car Leasing Co., Inc. In just two years, Braude grew the car leasing business, requiring a move out of Midway down the street to Emkay’s own building. Braude grew the business from Chevrolet cars to leasing multiple automobile brands. He helped grow the company through the 1950s with steady growth and saw Emkay buying out the accounts from Chicago-based Wilson Leasing. He oversaw the leasing of Cessna private airplanes in the 1960s and set up billing on an IBM punch card system, as well as venturing into leasing vehicles in Europe and South America. By 1970, Braude helped grow Emkay’s customer list to some of the major companies of that time. In 1973, Braude and Katzin (Weiss passed away in 1963) sold Emkay to Indiana Capital Corp., in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Tom Callahan
Ford, GE Commercial Finance, Donlen
Dates in Fleet: 1987-Present
Callahan is currently president of Donlen, setting the strategic focus and driving the execution of key initiatives. He began his career at Ford Motor Company where he held various sales and management positions. Additionally, Callahan held global leadership positions in general management, sales management, product development, quality, and operations in North America, the U.K., Japan, and Australasia with GE Commercial Finance – Fleet Services and GE Consumer Finance. Callahan was recently named AALA VP of environmental affairs. Under Callahan’s guidance, Donlen has received numerous awards for its customer service and technology platforms. Callahan is a member of the Hertz Executive Committee and served as president of AFLA from 2012 to 2013.

Jim Christiano
Buick, PARS
Dates in Fleet: 1969-Present
Christiano joined Buick in 1971, serving as director of fleet sales, among other positions. He led Buick’s Olympics project, placing 10,000 Buicks on the ground in Los Angeles. After leaving Buick, he opened a dealership for a time, managed sales for a drive-away business, and founded PARS in 1998. He led PARS until 2006 (when his daughter, Lori, took over), but remains active in the business.

Mark Conroy
LMV Leasing, LeasePlan USA, Union Leasing
Dates in Fleet: 1978-Present
Conroy has been in the fleet management industry funding and managing fleets of vehicles to companies since 1978. His experience has included duties in direct B2B sales, sales management, marketing, and international marketing/coordination. He has managed national sales forces for both large- and medium-sized fleet management lessors during his 34-year career. As VP of sales & marketing for Union Leasing, he manages a sales force that assists companies seeking solutions to reduce costs and keep their fleets innovative. He was also president of AFLA from 2007 to 2008.

Dave Dahm
LeasePlan USA
Dates in Fleet: 1981-Present
Dahm is executive vice president and CFO for LeasePlan USA. A 34-year industry veteran, he began at LeasePlan as controller in 1988, worked his way up to CFO, and became president and CEO in 2000. During that time, Dahm oversaw three successful acquisitions for LeasePlan, including Consolidated Service Corporation (CSC), which more than tripled LeasePlan’s market share at the time. Dahm has also served on the AALA Board of Directors and as treasurer of the Association since 2000. Dahm’s returned to his former position as CFO in late 2008. Dahm was named a CFO of the Year Award finalist in 2011 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle for his contributions in improving processes and profitability for LeasePlan.

Warren Feirer
Standard Brands/Nabisco (Deceased)
Feirer served as NAFA president from 1979 to 1981, is a past president of the NAFA Foundation, and is a recipient of NAFA’s Distinguished Service Award. During his career, he accepted an award on behalf of NAFA from President Jimmy Carter for NAFA’s efforts in planning fuel conservation during the height of the 1970s fuel crisis.

Dave Hansen
GM Fleet & Commercial Operations
Dates in Fleet: 1998-2008 (Retired)
Hansen joined General Motors in 1965 after graduating from high school, working in a GM assembly plant during the summer while attending college. After graduating from college with an engineering degree, he worked in several roles, including chief engineer for the Chevrolet Division. Hansen often comments that the highlight of his career was serving as general manager of GM Fleet & Commercial Operations in the late 1990s and into the next century. After leaving GM, Hansen became COO for Tecstar, a second-stage manufacturer for GM, then assisted SCT with its fleet fuel economy software device. He is now retired, but provides pro-bono support of the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR).

Ron Mawaka Sr.
Fleet Response
Dates in Fleet: 1986-Present
Mawaka Sr. created Rental Concepts, Inc. in February 1986. A unique rental consortium and first of its kind, it provided temporary cars, trucks, and specialty vehicles to fleets nationwide. His vision was a centralized service for fleet managers to eliminate multiple vendors and invoices. Today, Mawaka’s vision has become Fleet Response — a fully customized accident management, maintenance management, salvage, subrogation, and safety service provider (in addition to continuing to offer the rental services). Mawaka’s sons, Scott and Ron Jr., carry on his work at Fleet Response. He has been a member of NAFA since 1984. Mawaka gives credit for his success to his friend and mentor, Pat Starr, retired CEO of Consolidated Service Corporation (CSC).

Bob Mayfield
GELCO; GE Capital Fleet Services (Retired)
Mayfield was the only two-term AFLA president, serving from 1998 to 2000. Among his achievements, he handled the GELCO/GE Capital Fleet Services’ largest select accounts and received the GE Fleet Services Salesman of the Year award three times.

Jim McCallum
GM Fleet & Commercial Operations
Dates in Fleet: 1979-2008 (Retired)
McCallum was employed at General Motors for 37 years before retiring in November 2008. He began working in the Chevrolet Fleet Department in 1979 under the legendary George Frink. He served in a number of areas of GM Fleet, including fleet distribution, field operations, GM global fleet, and fleet dealer operations. He was a NAFA Affiliate and member of the Affiliates Committee and served on the NAFA Foundation Board of Directors. At GM, he helped to establish the first fleet secondary codes, convened the initial Chevrolet Fleet Sounding Board, expanded Chevrolet’s in-shop warranty presence, and guided its initial efforts in global fleet.

Kevin McGrath
Fleet Street Remarketing
Dates in Fleet: 1980-Present
McGrath entered the auto business in 1980, working for a multi-line dealership in St. Petersburg, Fla. After selling used cars, working in the finance department, and buying autos and trucks at wholesale for the dealership, McGrath struck out on his own in 1985 and formed a wholesale auto business, called RAM Auto Leasing, with friend Bob McDevitt. Along with one employee who handled administrative tasks, the three bought and sold 20-40 used corporate cars per month. RAM soon transitioned to Eastern Fleet Remarketing after McDevitt moved on to another venture, and ultimately the company was rebranded as Fleet Street Remarketing to better capture the company’s new remarketing focus and global reach. As owner of Fleet Street Remarketing, McGrath helps businesses achieve maximum returns on the resale of each vehicle. McGrath has also been a member of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) for more than 20 years and has served on the board of directors for the Association.

Henry Paetzel
General Mills
Dates in Fleet: 1970-2007 (Retired)
In charge of the General Mills fleet for 30 years, Paetzel was the winner of the 2004 AF Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award. In 1967, he accepted a position with General Mills. In 1968, Paetzel began his career in the corporation’s management-training program, which ultimately placed him in the transportation department to work on an automobile tracking system (which, at that time, used IBM cards). In 1970, the fleet supervisor left the company and Paetzel was offered the position. The fleet size was about 1,100 units and all vehicles were leased. In 1976, he was promoted to manager, automotive fleet services and was responsible for the purchase, administration, and sale of the growing fleet (about 1,400 vehicles). In 1985, supervision of the employee automotive service center was added to Paetzel’s responsibilities, and, in 1988, he assumed responsibility for the car rental program for the business traveler. In addition, Paetzel was instrumental in helping to merge the Pillsbury fleet into General Mills following the acquisition of the company in 2001.

Ron Pink
Xerox Corp.
Dates in Fleet: 1964-1994
Pink joined Xerox Corp. in June 1963 and entered the arena of fleet management in January of 1964. During a staff meeting, the company’s executive vice president noted that he moved the 700 service technicians into leased cars. Pink spoke up, took responsibility, and took over the fleet in addition to his other responsibilities. The 700-vehicle fleet grew to a fleet of 11,000-plus under his leadership. Additional fleet policies he created included a preventive maintenance coupon program in the late 1960s, a vehicle safety program, and the implementation of a computerized vehicle tracking system. Xerox also started the “mass-buy” concept in 1974, according to Pink. In addition, he was named the 1989 AF Professional Fleet Manager of the Year.

Phil Procida
Dates in Fleet: 1960-2005 (Retired)
Procida joined ARI in 1960 as a clerk in operations and administration. He joined ARI’s sales team in 1979. In 1989, Procida went from overseeing various Midwestern sales offices to responsibility for all Canadian operations. In 1992, he scouted dealerships in Mexico to handle vehicle deliveries to ARI clients. There, he met the Zapata family, who operated their dealerships similarly to how the Holman family ran ARI and its dealership operations. Procida fostered that relationship, leading to ARIZA, the joint venture between ARI and Zapata, in 1993. The following year, Procida traveled the globe to find fleet companies outside of North America, helping ARI establish and introduce Global Fleet Services (GFS), the first alliance of leading global fleet companies. Procida retired from ARI in 2005 as VP, International Operations and GFS President and Chairman of the board.

Josie Sharp, CAFM
Bell & Howell Phillipsburg Co., Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Pharmaceutical Co., Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Commonwealth of PA, Shire Pharmaceuticals
Dates in Fleet: 1987-2012 (Retired)
Sharp began as fleet coordinator at Bell & Howell, managing around 500 vehicles in the U.S. She was then offered a position with Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (RPR) managing a 1,500-vehicle fleet, growing to around 3,500 vehicles, and adding fleet safety to her role. After a merger, RPR became Aventis, and Sharp became manager of fleet and safety with about 5,000-plus vehicles. In 2003, Sharp won AF’s Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award; later that year, she was offered the position of bureau director for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At Shire Pharmaceuticals, she handled fleet, fleet safety, and field-related programs. She held positions on fleet advisory boards including Ford, GM, and OnStar, and was a member of groups including AFLA, the NAFA Fleet Management Association, National Safety Council (NSC), and the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators (NCSFA).

Ron Shoemaker
Flexco Fleet Services (FFS), Innovative Funding Services (IFS), Hourglass Management Corp.
Dates in Fleet: 1989-Present
Shoemaker incorporated Flexco Fleet Services in 1992. Flexco’s services and cutting-edge technology have helped its clients better understand the importance of remarketing as a major part of fleet vehicle lifecycles. In 2009, Shoemaker co-founded Innovative Funding Services, a top-tier finance company working with Fortune 100 companies, banks, and OEM’s. He joined AFLA in 1992 and has served on AFLA’s board as director of Remarketing.

Bret Watson, CAFM
GE Capital Fleet Services, Sprint
Dates in Fleet: 1984-Present
Watson began working at GELCO in 1984, which became GE Capital Fleet Services in 1987. In 1989, he joined Sprint and has worked for the company for more than 26 years, all of which have been in fleet. He started first as a fleet administrator, then became fleet manager a few years later. He operates a fleet of 2,200 vehicles with one direct report and many outsourced suppliers for additional support. Sprint had been with GELCO/GE Fleet before Watson joined Sprint. About 90 percent of Sprint’s fleet are cars and SUVs, with about 10 percent of the vehicles being medium- to heavy-duty trucks. Sprint fleet has a personal-use program, safety program, and DOT program. Watson also served as Chapter chair of the NAFA Mid-America Chapter, chair of NAFA’s Editorial and Certification Committees, and served one year as AFLA treasurer. Currently he serves on GE’s client advisory board and Fleet Response’s client advisory board.

Harley Westfall
Adrian Steel
Dates in Fleet: 1976-2001 (Retired)
Westfall joined Adrian Steel in 1976 and took over after his father, Adrian Steel founder Bob Westfall, passed away in 1980. Westfall led Adrian Steel as president for 25 years, instilling team values. His decisions to create subsidiaries, expand distribution, expand the product line, and modernize the manufacturing line not only created growth at Adrian Steel, but positioned the company to become an industry leader in offering cargo management solutions for commercial vehicles.

David Zuidema
Accenture, PHH Arval, Consultant
Dates in Fleet: 1981-2014
Throughout his career in fleet, Zuidema has been a key leader in the development of new breakthroughs in fleet service and technology. In the 1980s, he led a project to create PHH FleetLine, the first PC-based system to manage a fleet, and led the PHH team that developed the first data warehouse in 1996. He also led the team that developed PHH InterActive and formally introduced the concept of customer experience in 2010, opening the industry’s first innovation center, according to PHH. Under his leadership, PHH launched Clarus, a platform for delivering fleet management information and functionality that uses an “app-like” approach for personalization and integrates guided analytics to identify and take management actions automatically.

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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