Clockwise from top left: Brian Wielgosz of Sanofi with his family; Dave Tosh of Benco Dental with his wife and daughter; Clay Gaudet of AutoZone with his wife; and Lee Pierce of Weatherford posing with a Rolls-Royce hearse.

Clockwise from top left: Brian Wielgosz of Sanofi with his family; Dave Tosh of Benco Dental with his wife and daughter; Clay Gaudet of AutoZone with his wife; and Lee Pierce of Weatherford posing with a Rolls-Royce hearse.

The fleet industry is filled with many interesting personalities. Whether they are working for a pharmaceutical business or insurance company, these fleet professionals share more about their personal and professional lives. Get to know personal details about some veteran fleet professionals, as well as those new to the industry.

Clay Gaudet

Fleet Manager, AutoZone, Nashville, Tennessee

Automotive Fleet: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Gaudet: I teach people how to ride motorcycles for Harley-Davidson.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Gaudet: Working for the world’s largest shipping and logistics company, UPS.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Gaudet: Without a doubt, being married to my best friend, my wife.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Gaudet: Ralph Gallagher with UPS and Russ Musgrove with FedEx.

Gaudet with wife, Beth.

Gaudet with wife, Beth.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Gaudet: Make sure you understand negotiations with vendors and contracts with them. Fleet is very unique and misunderstood.

AF: What is your favorite book and/or movie?

Gaudet: "The Notebook."

Dave Tosh

Tosh with wife, Amber, and daughter, Delilah.

Tosh with wife, Amber, and daughter, Delilah.

Fleet Services Administrator, Benco Dental, Pittston, Pennsylvania

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Tosh: I’m a fan of all sports. I like golf and softball, pretty much anything competitive that gets me moving.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Tosh: I had some success creating efficiencies and cost savings on various IT projects. So one of our owners asked that I look into doing the same for our fleet. My background was in IT so I came into fleet blind.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Tosh: Well it certainly isn’t my golf handicap. The health and stability of my family is by far my top personal achievement. My top work achievement is definitely the success of our safety and accountability program, a win-win for our employee health and the company.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Tosh: I’ve met a lot of great fleet managers over the years at industry functions and
through business partners. They’ve all helped in some way shape my understanding
of the industry.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Tosh: Don’t just chase the dollars, find the right partnerships because great support and
service have tremendous value.

AF: What is your favorite book and/or movie?

Tosh: My favorite book is usually the one I’m reading, currently that’s "48 Laws of Power"
by Robert Greene.

Brett Switzky

Switzky with his fleet mentors. (l. to r.) Delwin Peacock, Switzky, Dave Oberholtz, and Joe Marcum.

Switzky with his fleet mentors. (l. to r.) Delwin Peacock, Switzky, Dave Oberholtz, and Joe Marcum.

Fleet, Trucking, & Records Retention Manager, American Family Mutual Insurance Company, Madison, Wisconsin

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Switzky: I really enjoy golfing. I’m also into snowmobiling, it definitely helps break-up the long Wisconsin winters. I’m really passionate about music, I love all genres. There’s something special about music that always seems to take me to a memory, a feeling, or emotion.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Switzky: While in high school I started delivering new fleet vehicles and picking up retired fleet vehicles all around the Midwest to make some extra money. I formed a good relationship with the fleet manager at that time. I started working full time for the same company after college, and the fleet manager approached me about a position opening up in fleet and he encouraged me to apply for it.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Switzky: There’s many things I’m proud of, and times and instances I can look back on and be proud of, but I’m still working toward that defining moment.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Switzky: Gray Perrett (who originally hired me in fleet) was a huge influence in my career, both as a friend and mentor who taught me the ins and outs of fleet.

After taking over for Gray, I met three fleet managers at my first product preview who took me under their wing and introduced me to countless people in the fleet industry. Dave Oberholtz, Joe Marcum, and Delwin Peacock, I will forever be grateful for their influence, insight, and most importantly their friendship.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Switzky: I think it’s important for someone just getting into fleet to get to know the company you’re working for, and really get to know the culture of the company before you set out to make your mark.

The fleet industry is a very welcoming and friendly industry with many people willing to help you, take advantage of that.

Lee Pierce

Pierce with a Rolls-Royce hearse at the Hollywood Cemetery.

Pierce with a Rolls-Royce hearse at the Hollywood Cemetery.

North America Fleet Manager, Weatherford, Houston, Texas

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Pierce: Driving, cars, shooting, and shopping.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Pierce: I started out as an assistant to the procurement director of a company, fleet was under him. I was so excited, loved what the fleet manager did and after eight months told my boss I wanted to work in fleet.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Pierce: Supporting my family.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Pierce: Too many to name. Pete Silva, Lynda Dinwiddie, and Lee Miller.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Pierce: They must be a master of multitasking, fast paced and extreme problem solving.

AF: What is your favorite movie?

Pierce: "Animal House," "Bridesmaids," and "Wedding Crashers."

Phil Samuelson

Samuelson’s ‘67 Mustang convertible.

Samuelson’s ‘67 Mustang convertible.

Fleet and Capital Asset Manager, USIC, Indianapolis, Indiana

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work? 

Samuelson: I enjoy music (piano) and drawing. I also love tinkering with classic cars.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Samuelson

Samuelson

Samuelson: I went to work for a gas utility company out of college. I moved into the materials management/purchasing department, which included fleet. Over time, the fleet grew into its own department. Later, I joined USIC to basically manage the same process.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Samuelson: Hands down, marrying my wife and raising a family.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Samuelson: There are so many great managers out there. I learn something from someone almost daily.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Samuelson: Don’t try to figure out everything for yourself. The industry is full of peers who have “been there and done that.”

Melanie Pirylis

Pirylis

Pirylis

Fleet Specialist, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Morristown, New Jersey

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Pirylis: Soccer was my main passion, but movie nights with my fiancé have quickly taken first place on my list of passions.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Pirylis: I was previously a project coordinator with a lot of experience working with the field and constantly communicating new processes to them. With this experience, my boss reached out to provide me the opportunity of entering fleet. We have created a fleet process and I’ve been managing ever since!

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement so far?

Pirylis: My top achievement was winning the award of Fleet Visionary. Coming from knowing nothing about fleet, to winning an award two years later, it’s an amazing feeling.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Pirylis: My boss, Daniel Cannon. He also took on the fleet with no knowledge of fleet and we worked together to create a process. He certainly deserves an award of his own!

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Pirylis: Don’t be scared or intimidated. You’ll learn a lot as you grow in your position and talk to people! They can help you expand your knowledge base – for free.

Blair Schober

Schober with his wife, Narmina.

Schober with his wife, Narmina.

US Fleet, EH&S, and Telecommunications Manager, Red Hawk Fire & Security, Los Angeles, California

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Schober: Weight lifting and fitness, home improvement, gardening, cooking, and traveling.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Schober: I needed a job after I graduated in 2002 after the .com bubble burst. After searching for months, I came across the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Management trainee program.

Once becoming well versed on how to wash cars in a shirt and tie and how to rent out two compact cars instead of a minivan for those summer vacation reservations, I entered the repair side of Enterprise at the Burbank Airport and afterward the Los Angeles Airport.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Schober: Getting married to my amazing wife earlier this year.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself?

Schober: John Butler of Chubb Edwards.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Schober: Learn to take a breath at times. Fleet can be one of the fastest paced and most difficult roles in the company. Details are critical to success. The ability to forecast will turn you into the rain maker. Being flexible and able to adapt on the fly will save you a trip to your cardiologist.

Brian Wielgosz

From left to right, Wielgosz with sons Owen and Ethan, and wife, Georgette.

From left to right, Wielgosz with sons Owen and Ethan, and wife, Georgette.

Fleet Operations, Sanofi, Bridgewater, New Jersey

AF: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?

Wielgosz: I have two active boys and really enjoy spending time with them on the baseball field. I’ve been coaching youth sports for the past five year and absolutely love working with the kids. It’s a way to keep me feeling young.

AF: How did you get into the fleet industry?

Wielgosz: In 2005, I was promoted to a role in our sales operations department within our vaccines division. It included sales reporting, territory alignment, and fleet. Two years later I had an opportunity to move into a full-time fleet role in 2007 within at the time was our pharmaceutical division and the rest is history.

AF: What do you consider to be your top personal achievement?

Wielgosz: Becoming a father. There’s no better sense of purpose.

AF: Who do you consider to be the best fleet manager, other than yourself

Wielgosz: Being on various advisory boards, I have the privilege of working with some of the brightest minds in the industry. If I’d had to pick one it would be Erin Gilchrist from Safelite.

AF: What advice do you wish someone would have given you before entering fleet?

Wielgosz: Network, Network, Network. Early in my career, I was so focused on my job itself, I didn’t pay much attention to the outside fleet world.

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