The award recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas of his or her field. - File photo

The award recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas of his or her field.

File photo

Automotive Fleet has announced the nominees for the Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award.

The award recognizes an experienced and proficient fleet manager who has demonstrated special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas of his or her field. The Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award is sponsored by Wheels Inc. and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA).

Qualified nominees are full-time commercial fleet managers, control a company-owned or leased fleet in excess of 100 cars and light trucks combined, and who are also recognized nationally among their peers for their unique abilities and accomplishments.

This year’s group of highly qualified nominees share their accomplishments and compete for the annual recognition, to be presented at the 2018 AFLA conference, which will be held Oct. 1 to 3 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes resort in Orlando, Fla.

The nominees are as follows:

Lee Jezek-Pierce, Global Fleet Manager, Weatherford International -

Lee Jezek-Pierce, Global Fleet Manager, Weatherford International

Lee Jezek-Pierce

Global Fleet Manager, Weatherford International

  • Total vehicles: 3,800
  • Staff supervised: 7
  • Years with current fleet: 2
  • Years in industry: 18

Notable achievements

In early 2016, Pierce implemented new programs to address, maintenance, fuel, tolls, registrations, and IFTA/IRP reporting. Created standardized vehicle specs, streamlined process and procedures while bridging the relationship between Fleet and Operations. In her first year, Pierce and her team sold 1,600 leased and company-owned assets resulting in a gain of $14M, and a global solution to sell heavy equipment.  

In addition, she implemented a maintenance program which provided cost savings/avoidance of $150K during its first two months of utilization. By creating  more transparency for Operations, the results have provided better management of their own P&L. She resides on the Commercial Sounding board for General Motors.

Phil Samuelson, Fleet and Captial Asset Manager, USIC -

Phil Samuelson, Fleet and Captial Asset Manager, USIC

Phil Samuelson

Fleet and Captial Asset Manager, USIC

  • Total vehicles: 9,350
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 14
  • Years in industry: 28

Notable achievements

Phil Samuelson utilizes the latest technologies, telematics offerings, and advanced safety features/programs to bring cost savings and improved safety to USIC’s fleet. The USIC fleet grew by over 4% in 2017 through acquisitions, new business contracts, and increased business volume.

USIC’s service fleet accumulates nearly 184 million miles annually, and has a consistently decreased or maintained an industry low operating cost-per-mile year over year. Deploying an optimal vehicle selection and cycling strategy has allowed USIC to operate below industry benchmarks. Samuelson has strategically overseen cost mitigation that exceeded $1.2 million over the last two years.  

Vic Stewart, Dir. Corporate Purchasing, Fisher Auto Parts -

Vic Stewart, Dir. Corporate Purchasing, Fisher Auto Parts

Vic Stewart    

Dir. Corporate Purchasing, Fisher Auto Parts 

  • Total vehicles: 2,361
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 3.5
  • Years in industry: 16    

Notable achievements

Vic Stewart replaced his fleet's old, fuel-inefficient, high maintenance vehicles with over 1,600 newer vehicles. He recommended and helped finalize the decision to lease fleet vehicles rather than purchase them, increasing Fisher’s cash flow by nearly $19 Million from 2016-2017.

This generated approximately $710,000 in downtime maintenance savings for the company. Through a bigger focus on safety, he has been able to help reduce preventable accidents from 2.7 to 1.5 per million miles. 

Blair Schober, U.S. Fleet, EH&S, and Telecom Manager, Red Hawk Fire & Security -

Blair Schober, U.S. Fleet, EH&S, and Telecom Manager, Red Hawk Fire & Security

Blair Schober

U.S. Fleet, EH&S, and Telecom Manager, Red Hawk Fire & Security

  • Total vehicles: 1,000
  • Staff supervised: 0 
  • Years with current fleet: 9
  • Years in industry: 15

Notable achievements

Blair Schober helped launch a two-pronged approach to driver safety at Red Hawk Fire & Security. Through this safety program, which involved mandatory driver training and a robust telematics program that identified and helped correct poor driver behavior, his fleet was able to achieve a 68% year-over-year drop in the number of reported accidents. This saved the fleet $1 million in liability costs. 

Abe Stephenson, Fleet and Administration Manager, DISH -

Abe Stephenson, Fleet and Administration Manager, DISH

Abe Stephenson

Fleet and Administration Manager, DISH

  • Total vehicles: 3,500
  • Staff supervised: 5
  • Years with current fleet: 11
  • Years in industry: 11

Notable achievements

Abe Stephenson Finished 2017 with a nine-year downward trend in fleet cost per mile, representing over $90M of cost avoidance over that period compared to peak cost per mile. In addition to on-roading all new vehicles with after-market collision avoidance technology since model year 2016,  he helped install 800 additional units on existing vehicles, with 60% of the fleet now covered with collision avoidance capabilities.

He also worked with supplier partners to provide vehicles for service recovery to existing and new customers as part of hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Additionally, he aided in reducing engine idling time an additional 20% through GPS tracking.

Jeremy Muoio, Director of Fleet and Asset Management, MasTec -

Jeremy Muoio, Director of Fleet and Asset Management, MasTec

Jeremy Muoio

Director of Fleet and Asset Management, MasTec

  • Total vehicles: 4,000
  • Staff supervised: 10
  • Years with current fleet: 3
  • Years in industry: 4

Notable achievements 

Jeremy Muoio has helped MasTec transform fleet operations at MasTec by building business processes that leverage data from sources like telematics, fuel, FMC and HR systems to engage drivers directly with responsibility for their assigned vehicle.

Fleet management processes include a system to automatically assign drivers to vehicles, a system to eliminate theft and enforce proper fueling habits, as well as systems to limit idling and force adherence to maintenance schedules. Administrative accuracy, fleet utilization and maintenance compliance have improved dramatically, and fuel savings from theft and idle reduction have reached $5 million a year.  

Brad Bohnen, Head of Fleet Management - North America, Ericsson Inc. -

Brad Bohnen, Head of Fleet Management - North America, Ericsson Inc.

Brad Bohnen

Head of Fleet Management - North America, Ericsson Inc.

  • Total vehicles: 1,000
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 9
  • Years in industry: 25

Notable achievements

In 2009, Brad Bohnen joined Ericsson to develop and deploy a comprehensive fleet program in North America, a region of the company that never had fleet vehicles.  Over the next nine years, Bohnen developed many best-in-class programs which resulted in significant cost savings and process efficiencies.

Throughout his tenure, he introduced safety initiatives to managing driver risks that were identified through in-depth root cause analysis.  Bohnen implemented a series of measures to drive improvements which includes technology deployment, driver policy management, driver eligibility administration and safety training which reduced crashes by 10-12%. 

Dave Rush, Sr. Mgr. EHS & Fleet, Reynolds American, Inc.  -

Dave Rush, Sr. Mgr. EHS & Fleet, Reynolds American, Inc. 

Dave Rush

Sr. Mgr. EHS & Fleet, Reynolds American, Inc. 

  • Total vehicles: 2,700
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 6
  • Years in industry: 14 (14 in Safety / 6 in Fleet)

Notable achievements 

Dave Rush has spent more than 38 years working at R.J. Reynolds, serving as the company’s fleet manager for six years. He's recently added OnStar to his fleet, and to date, has been able to recover 21 stolen vehicles. He negotiated a deal that ultimately replaced R.J. Reynolds’ fleet with newer vehicles, complete with higher standard options.

He then shortcycled the fleet’s vehicles with its previous OEM with ones from its new one, replacing over 2,000 vehicles with a credit of $2.2 million in lease adjustments. Maintenance savings alone were over $1.8 million for the year, and R.J. Reynolds’ total fleet cost was down 37.6% in CY-2015 compared to CY-2014.

Erin Gilchrist, Director Fleet, Safelite AutoGlass -

Erin Gilchrist, Director Fleet, Safelite AutoGlass

Erin Gilchrist

Director Fleet, Safelite AutoGlass

  • Total vehicles: 8,200
  •  Staff supervised: 4
  •  Years with current fleet: 12
  •  Years in industry: 12

Notable achievements

Erin Gilchrist has been instrumental in leading Safelite’s long-term sustainability and innovation strategy with the company’s fleet of more than 8,000 vehicles.

She introduced telematics and driver safety/behavior management to Safelite in 2013 and has since implemented other initiatives like idle reduction, engine calibration technology, CNG and electric hybrid vehicle piloting, significant light-weighting of the box truck fleet which have together yielded more than $8,000,000 in savings and reduced gallons consumption by more than 5 million.     

Jim Petrillo, Manager Treasury Services and Fleet Management, Fujifilm -

Jim Petrillo, Manager Treasury Services and Fleet Management, Fujifilm

Jim Petrillo

Manager Treasury Services and Fleet Management, Fujifilm

  • Total vehicles: 1,500
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 8
  • Years in industry: 8

Notable achievements

Jim Petrillo has used his finance background to find many opportunities for overall savings in areas such as resale and cash flow, saving the company in excess of $1.5 million to date.  

In 2015 Petrillo along with the HR, risk management and legal departments developed a comprehensive safety policy that is measurable, which in turn makes the driver accountable for their actions. Drivers must now go through regular training, and are aware of Fujifilm’s increased MVR monitoring.

Raymond Jozwiak, Global Fleet Manager, Cunningham Lindsey -

Raymond Jozwiak, Global Fleet Manager, Cunningham Lindsey

Raymond Jozwiak

Global Fleet Manager, Cunningham Lindsey

  • Total vehicles: 2,000
  • Staff supervised: 1
  • Years with current fleet: 3
  • Years in industry: 4

Notable achievements

Raymond Jozwiak started running the North America fleet for Cunningham Lindsey in November 2015, and became Global Fleet Manager in August 2017. He is responsible for all fleet category management across a global fleet of 2,000 vehicles – including cost reduction, safety, and carbon emissions reduction. Jozwiak established new fleet programs where none existed in six countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, and Mexico.

Additionally, he executed a fleet leasing company RFP that covered 4 countries in Europe which resulted in annual savings of $480,000. In the U.S. he has reduced vehicle spend by at least 10% year-over-year since 2015 and reduced carbon emissions by over 5% YoY in the U.S. 

Adam Orth, Fleet Services Manager, General Mills -

Adam Orth, Fleet Services Manager, General Mills

Adam Orth

Fleet Services Manager, General Mills

  • Total vehicles: 1,600
  • Staff supervised: 4
  • Years with current fleet: 2.5
  • Years in industry: 14

Notable achievements

When Adam Orth became General Mills’ Fleet Services Manager he had an opportunity to make a dramatic and immediate change. In just a few years his innovative strategies for the U.S. and Canada have improved cash flow and driver satisfaction simultaneously.

Orth conducted a U.S. and Canada fleet replacement analysis that helped him create variable selectors and weigh the risks of replacing vehicles immediately. Based on his analysis, Orth capitalized on the high residuals of a strong resale markets and replaced all 1,725 sales vehicles to quickly produce a total one-time savings of $3,400,000 and reduced his annual spend by $2,800,000. 

Jennifer Vrmeer, Sr. Manager Operations Support / Sales Operations, Becton Dickinson -

Jennifer Vrmeer, Sr. Manager Operations Support / Sales Operations, Becton Dickinson

Jennifer Vrmeer

Sr. Manager Operations Support / Sales Operations, Becton Dickinson

  • Total vehicles: 2,300
  • Staff supervised: 8 ( 2 Handling Fleet)
  • Years with current fleet: 3
  • Years in industry: 10

Notable achievements

When Becton Dickinson acquired CareFusion, Senior Manager, Operations Support Jen VrMeer was faced with bringing together two fleets with two different cultures, policies, and fleet management companies & OEM suppliers. Both programs worked well but had different goals, so VrMeer set out to create a blended 1,500 vehicle fleet with processes that incorporated the best of both worlds, while reining in costs and keeping drivers productive and satisfied.

VrMeer and her team also implemented various initiatives such as a safety program; ran a reverse auction between manufacturers that helped drive down costs; right-sized vehicles for the job and territory; adjusted the fleets depreciation rate based on the used vehicle market; standardized personal use deductions, simplified vehicle selectors; and accelerated replacement cycles to speed up the timeline for merging fleets and implementing newly-combined processes. These efforts resulted in $1 million in synergy savings. 

Karla Guajardo, Fleet Manager, Honeywell International -

Karla Guajardo, Fleet Manager, Honeywell International

Karla Guajardo

Fleet Manager, Honeywell International

  • Total vehicles: 4,725
  • Staff supervised: 0
  • Years with current fleet: 2
  • Years in industry: 2

Notable achievements

In 2017, Honeywell’s fleet was tasked to focus on specific initiatives – operational effectiveness, productivity and cost savings/avoidance – for its multiple business units while maintaining and improving customer experience to its internal stakeholders. To address the challenge, Karla Guajardo and the Honeywell team developed three key components for the fleet strategy: operate as one North American team; simplify the ordering process, OEM, and upfitter negotiations; and focus on cost savings.

As a result, ordering timeframes have been reduced by three months, Honeywell saved $1.5 million through vehicle optimization and rightsizing, and saved an additional $4.8 million as a result of addressing opportunities within telematics, driver policy, replacement cycle, and vehicle utilization. 

Nikith Rajendran, Director, Fleet Operations, Tesla Energy -

Nikith Rajendran, Director, Fleet Operations, Tesla Energy

Nikith Rajendran

Director, Fleet Operations, Tesla Energy

  • Total vehicles:3,000
  • Staff supervised: 6
  • Years with current fleet: 5
  • Years in industry: 5

Notable achievements

Nikith Rajendran was appointed as the fleet manager of a rapidly growing startup in early 2013 having no prior fleet experience. The organization had a very aggressive growth target and fleet was a very critical component. Post SolarCity’s acquisition by Tesla, Rajendran manages the fleet team at Tesla Energy. Rajendran initiated a vehicle optimization project with the goal of analyzing vehicle payloads and redesigning the vehicle’s interior layouts. He also implemented a comprehensive fleet safety program.

Clay Gaudet

Clay Gaudet, Fleet Manager, AutoZone -

Clay Gaudet, Fleet Manager, AutoZone

Fleet Manager, AutoZone

  • Total vehicles: 15,600
  • Staff supervised: 2
  • Years with current fleet: 9
  • Years in industry: 40

Notable achievements

In 2017 Clay identified opportunities to trim significant cost from his fleet through telematics (risk reduction), moving and parking violations, and fuel cost through vendor negotiations. Clay has also recovered millions of dollars in positive equity through strict management of the remarketing/salvage process. He continues to search and utilize the right vehicles for his fleet that provide lost cost acquisition and manages his fleet's replacement cycle for large wins in the auctions lane.


Related: Meet the 2017 Fleet Manager of the Year

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