Automotive Fleet magazine and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce the 2016 nominees for the Fleet Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame recognizes fleet industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession. Inductees must have fleet careers spanning 10 years or more, and are selected by their peers via an online ballot.
Three honorees are inducted into the Hall of Fame annually. The Hall of Fame began with 10 inductees when it was founded in 2008, a number that decreased each year by one. The honorees will be inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame at AFLA’s annual conference.
There are currently 72 members of the Fleet Hall of Fame to date. This year’s list of industry veteran nominees are as follows:
Dates in Fleet: 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.
Ford, GE Commercial Finance, Donlen
Dates in Fleet: 1987-Present
Callahan is currently president of Donlen, setting the strategic direction and driving the execution of key growth 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 energy & environmental affairs. Under Callahan’s guidance, Donlen has received numerous awards for its customer service, employee satisfaction & engagement, product development and technology platforms. Callahan is a member of the Hertz Executive Committee and served as president of AFLA from 2012 to 2013.
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.
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.
The CEI Group, Inc.
Dates in Fleet: 1972-present
Croze began her career in fleet management in 1972 as a division fleet administrator with Hughes Aircraft Company. During her time with the company, she created the first driver safety training program and van pool program. She joined Computer Sciences Corporation in 1981 as a fleet and travel manager, where she implemented a vanpool and ride share program, took the fleet from insured to self-insured and introduced open-end leasing. Croze serves as The CEI Group’s western region sales manager. In 1997 she received the NAFA Affiliate Outstanding Award and in 2013, she received the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators distinguished member award, which recognizes the member who exemplifies exceptional leadership skills in fleet management. She has also been a Club NAFA Honoree. In 2012, she was named as one of the most influential women in fleet by Automotive Fleet.
Dates in Fleet:1981-Present
Dahm is executive vice president and CFO for LeasePlan USA. A 35-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 was treasurer of the Association from 2000 to 2005. 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.
Standard Brands/Nabisco (Retired)
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.
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 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.
Mercury Associates, Inc.
Dates in Fleet: 1984-Present
Lauria is co-founder and president of Mercury Associates, Inc., a role he has held since 2002. Mercury is a provider of management consulting services for public and private sector clients to evaluate and identify ways to improve their fleet management and operating practices. Mercury provides service to numerous organizations globally, including companies such as Aramark, Cox Enterprises, and State Farm. Lauria began his career in fleet management with Ernst & Young’s transportation consulting group in 1984, where he worked until 1992. He then moved on to become vice president of Maximus, Inc., a position he held for 10 years.
Ron Mawaka Sr.
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).
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.
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.
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. 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.
Dates in Fleet: 1960-2005 (Retired)
Procida joined ARI in 1960 as a clerk in operations and administration,and then transferred to New York City in 1962 as part of its sales effort. Later, Procida transferred around the U.S., first moving back to ARI’s home office to handle major corporate accounts, then to Chicago to assist with the developing Midwest market in 1973, and later in charge of the office as a Regional Manager until 1982. He moved back to the home office in 1985 as a Zone Vice President for the western part of the U.S. In 1989, Procida took on responsibility for global operations, starting with Canada. In 1992, he scouted various automotive companies in Mexico to handle vehicle deliveries for ARI clients. There, he met the Zapata family, and fostered a relationship that led to the creation of ARIZA, the joint venture between ARI and Zapata, in 1993. For the remainder of his career, Procida traveled the globe to find fleet companies outside the U.S., helping ARI establish and introduce Global Fleet Services, 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, 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, and the National Conference of State Fleet Administrators.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Dates in Fleet: 1975-Present
Sims has been the Global Fleet Planning and Acquisitions Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints since 1983. A 41-year industry veteran, Sims is responsible for the vendor relations and acquisition of the Church’s global fleet, which contains a number of vehicles in 142 countries. His overall responsibilities include planning, sourcing vehicles, and manufacture relationships. He has led initiatives to increase the Church’s efficiencies and maximize operational cost effectiveness globally. Sims was named fleet manager of the year by Automotive Fleet in 2010, and he has been a member of NAFA, Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association, and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. He has also chaired GM’s U.S. and Global Fleet Sounding Boards.
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 later became GE Capital Fleet Services. In 1989, he joined Sprint and has worked for the company’s fleet for more than 27 years. He started as a fleet administrator, becoming a fleet manager a few years later. He operates a fleet of 2,950 vehicles with one direct report and many outsourced suppliers for additional support. Sprint had been with GELCO/GE Fleet before Watson joined Sprint. About 75% of Sprint’s fleet are cars and SUVs, with about 25% of the vehicles being medium- to heavy-duty trucks. Watson also served as Chapter chair of the NAFA Mid-America Chapter, chair of NAFA’s Editorial and Certification Committees, and served as AFLA treasurer. He serves on Element’s client advisory board and Fleet Response’s client advisory board.
Accenture, PHH Arval, Consultant
Dates in Fleet: 1981-2014
Throughout his career, 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 helped developed PHH InterActive and formally introduced the concept of customer experience in 2010, opening the industry’s first innovation center. 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 management actions.