The honor was inaugurated in 2008 with 20 founding honorees; three more will be selected for the 2018 award. - Photo by Vince Taroc.

The honor was inaugurated in 2008 with 20 founding honorees; three more will be selected for the 2018 award.

Photo by Vince Taroc.

Automotive Fleet magazine and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce the 2018 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. Voting closes Monday, August 6.

Three honorees are inducted into the Hall of Fame annually. Inductees will be announced at the 2018 AFLA conference, which will be held Oct. 1 to 3 at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes resort in Orlando, Fla. This year’s list of industry veteran nominees are as follows:

Bob Miesen, D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group/GE Capital Fleet Services -

Bob Miesen, D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group/GE Capital Fleet Services

Bob Miesen

D&K Financial Vehicle Management Group/GE Capital Fleet Services        

Miesen began his fleet career at Gambles C&M Leasing, where he introduced floating rate lease financing utilizing commercial paper as well as lease rate financing based on the London Interbank Offered Rates (LIBOR). He later served as a senior VP of GE Capital Fleet Services for most of his tenure and retired in 2000. He is also an honorary lifetime member of AFLA, AALA, and NAFA.

Sal Giacchi, CAFM, CFM, GAF/Lorillard/Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd. -

Sal Giacchi, CAFM, CFM, GAF/Lorillard/Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd.

Sal Giacchi, CAFM, CFM (Deceased)

GAF/Lorillard/Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd.

In 1971, Giacchi became assistant fleet administrator with GAF. In 1974, he was selected to head the used-car operation and used-car marketing network. In 1981, Giacchi moved to Lorillard Tobacco, a division of Loew’s Corp. He was named AF Fleet Manager of the Year in 1996, and also previously served as AFLA president and NAFA president. In 2001, he joined Anthony L. Violi Sr. in forming Giacchi & Violi Transport Ltd. 

Tom Callahan, Ford/GE Commercial Finance/Donlen -

Tom Callahan, Ford/GE Commercial Finance/Donlen

Tom Callahan

Ford/GE Commercial Finance/Donlen

Callahan is currently president of Donlen, spearheading strategic direction and growth initiatives. He began his career at Ford where he held various sales and management positions. Additionally, Callahan held global leadership positions with GE Commercial Finance – Fleet Services and GE Consumer Finance. Callahan served as AFLA president from 2012 to 2013.

Warren Feirer, Standard Brands/Nabisco  -

Warren Feirer, Standard Brands/Nabisco 

Warren Feirer (Deceased)

Standard Brands/Nabisco 

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.

 

Bob Berke (Deceased)

Bob Berke, NAFA  -

Bob Berke, NAFA 

NAFA 

Berke took over full-time management of NAFA as the association’s founding executive director in March 1965. He spent his entire career with the Association during its growth years until retiring from NAFA in 1985. 

Bud Morrison, Don Allen Chevrolet/J.M. Leasing  -

Bud Morrison, Don Allen Chevrolet/J.M. Leasing 


Bud Morrison (Deceased)

Don Allen Chevrolet/J.M. Leasing 

Morrison was AFLA’s first president and one of the most successful fleet salesmen of all time. He entered the industry in the early 1950s with Don Allen Chevrolet in New York. Twenty years later, he moved to Florida and worked as director of fleet for J.M. Pontiac in Hollywood, Fla., the largest Pontiac dealership in the world.

 

Jim Christiano, Buick/PARS -

Jim Christiano, Buick/PARS

Jim Christiano

Buick/PARS

Christiano joined Buick in 1971, serving as director of fleet sales, among other positions. He led Buick’s 1984 Olympics project, placing 10,000 Buicks on the ground in Los Angeles. He later  founded PARS in 1998, which he led until 2006 (his daughter, Lori, took over), but remains active in the business.

    
Kathy Croze, Hughes Aircraft Company/Computer Sciences Corp./The CEI Group -

Kathy Croze, Hughes Aircraft Company/Computer Sciences Corp./The CEI Group

Kathy Croze

Hughes Aircraft Company/Computer Sciences Corp./The CEI Group

Croze began her career in fleet 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 later joined Computer Sciences Corporation in 1981 as fleet and travel manager. Croze served as CEI’s western region sales manager from 1991 to June 2018. 

Paul Lauria, Ernst & Young/Mercury Associates, Inc. -

Paul Lauria, Ernst & Young/Mercury Associates, Inc.

Paul Lauria

Ernst & Young/Mercury Associates, Inc.

Lauria is co-founder and president of Mercury Associates, Inc., a role he has held since 2002. Mercury’s consultants have assisted more than 500 organizations in improving their fleet management and operating practices. Lauria began his career in fleet management with Ernst & Young’s transportation consulting group in 1984.

Mike Sims, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -

Mike Sims, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Mike Sims

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Sims has been the Global Fleet Planning and Acquisitions Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints since 1983. Sims is responsible for the vendor relations and acquisition of the Church’s global fleet, which covers 142 countries. Sims was named Fleet Manager of the Year by Automotive Fleet in 2010. 

 

Bob Brown

Bob Brown, Bobit Business Media -

Bob Brown, Bobit Business Media

Bobit Business Media (BBM)

Brown, former VP and later Great Lakes sales manager for BBM, was a member of AFLA and NAFA. He served as a resource for OEM fleet managers in Detroit for more than three decades, and had a hand in launching several fleet publications, including Fleet Financials, Business Cars and Trucks, and Business Vehicle Management. Brown sold the first ever VHS tape insert for a B2B magazine for a project with Buick that appeared in Automotive Fleet in 1984.  He was also the first person to ever sell a CD insert as well  in 1992.   

David Lighthall, CFM/CAFM, Siemens/The Kraft Heinz Company -

David Lighthall, CFM/CAFM, Siemens/The Kraft Heinz Company

David Lighthall, CFM/CAFM

Siemens/The Kraft Heinz Company

Dave Lighthall CFM/CAFM was an active participant in the fleet management industry for more than 35 years. He managed large corporate sales and service fleets for Moore Business Forms, Johnson Diversey, and Kraft Heinz Foods before retiring in 2017. 

 

 

Russ Cass
Russ Cass, The Hawk Group/Piemonte National Fleet -

Russ Cass, The Hawk Group/Piemonte National Fleet

The Hawk Group/Piemonte National Fleet

Cass first started at Piemonte National Fleet (formerly Al Piemonte Ford) in 1976. He was later recruited into the fleet side of the business by Milo Matick, former VP of fleet for Piemonte National Fleet. Cass held this position for 26 years until 2003 when he assumed the position of fleet director. In 2018, he joined The Hawk Group (a Chicago area dealer group with 12 dealerships) to head off it’s new national fleet department.

Don Esmond, Ford/Toyota Motor Sales USA -

Don Esmond, Ford/Toyota Motor Sales USA

Don Esmond 

Ford/Toyota Motor Sales USA

Esmond joined Toyota in 1982 and served as corporate fleet and truck manager, and national fleet manager. He later served as VP of the large car sales team where he launched the new Camry. Esmond retired in 2016 as senior VP for Toyota Motor Sales after serving with the company for more than 30 years. Prior to joining Toyota, Esmond had a 12-year career with Ford. Additionally, Esmond spent five years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as captain, naval aviator, and helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

Kevin McGrath

Kevin McGrath, Fleet Street Remarketing -

Kevin McGrath, Fleet Street Remarketing

Fleet Street Remarketing

McGrath entered the auto business in 1980, but struck out on his own in 1985 and formed a wholesale auto business, called RAM Auto Leasing, with friend Bob McDevitt. 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. McGrath has also been a member of AFLA for more than 20 years, and served on the board of directors for the association.    

Mike Laporta, Chrysler/ARI -

Mike Laporta, Chrysler/ARI

Mike Laporta (Deceased)

Chrysler/ARI

Laporta left Chrysler Motors Corp. in 1976  and joined Holman as the marketing manager at Reconditioned Motors and Parts and transferred to ARI in 1981 as VP of sales and marketing. In 1984, Laporta became president. During his tenure, ARI experienced a four-fold increase in the number of vehicles under management. The company’s acquisition of Lend Lease in 1989 allowed ARI to enter the Canadian market, and Laporta also took the company into Mexico, permitting ARI to establish the most comprehensive North American presence. Laporta’s leadership led to ARI’s global alliance concept in 1994.

Jim Piccoli, Chapman Auo Group -

Jim Piccoli, Chapman Auo Group

Jim Piccoli 

Chapman Auo Group

Piccoli’s career in fleet began in 1974 as a leasing rep for Holman Leasing, and he later moved to Potamkin Chevrolet as a Truck/Fleet sales person. In 1985, he had a brief stint as GM for Pacifico Fleet Group. He then returned to Potamkin to bring them to a national presence in 1989, and in 2008 he joined Chapman Auto Group as director of fleet operations.

Patrick (Pat) O’Connor, NAFA -

Patrick (Pat) O’Connor, NAFA

Patrick (Pat) O’Connor

NAFA

As U.S. Legislative Counsel for the NAFA Fleet Management Association, O’Connor has been the voice for fleet management in Washington, D.C. for more than two decades. In testimony before Congress and federal agencies or in face-to-face meetings with lawmakers, O’Connor provides a fleet manager’s perspective on a diverse range of issues. O’Connor is leading NAFA’s efforts to shape federal requirements for autonomous and connected vehicles. 


Related: 2017 Fleet Hall of Fame Inductees Revealed

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