There are 22 nominees for the 2019 Fleet Hall of Fame.
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There are 22 nominees for the 2019 Fleet Hall of Fame.

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Automotive Fleet magazine and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce the 2019 nominees for the Fleet Hall of Fame.

These nominees all have over 10 years of industry experience and through the years have impacted the fleet management profession.

Honorees inducted into the Hall of Fame will be announced at the 2019 AFLA conference which will be held at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa this year on Sept.16-18.

Inductions into the Hall of Fame happen once a year. Entering the Hall of Fame recognizes industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession.

Inductees are selected by their peers through an online ballot. This ballot will be available on Automotive-Fleet.com in July.

The nominees include: 

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John Dmochowsky
Mondelez International/Kraft Food Groups
John Dmochowsky serves as the senior global fleet manager for Mondelez International and previously as the fleet manager for Kraft Foods Group. He has been in the fleet industry for more than 17 years. He has also served as an AFLA president, and received Automotive Fleet’s Professional Fleet Manager of the Year Award in 2017.

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Irving Singer (Deceased) 
Merchants Fleet
Irving Singer believed that client service was the cornerstone of the fleet business. In 1962 he founded Merchants Automotive Group and since then the company has grown into two separate business units: Merchants Fleet and Merchants Auto. Merchants Fleet is staple of the fleet business and operates as the eighth largest fleet management company. Alongside growing his company, Singer also dedicated much of his life to philanthropic efforts in his community

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Theresa Ragozine 
Johnson & Johnson
Theresa Ragozine, who previously served as VP global procurement for Johnson & Johnson, has been in the industry for more than 20 years. In 1997 she was named worldwide commodity manager for fleet at Johnson & Johnson, the first person to have overall global fleet responsibility. Johnson & Johnson’s global fleet totaled 33,000 vehicles at the time. 

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Carolyn Edwards
LeasePlan USA
Carolyn Edwards has spent her 28 years in fleet with LeasePlan USA. In that time, she has served as director of strategic accounts for client services; director of operations for vehicle acquisition; VP of manufacturer relations and business solutions for client relations; and now serves as SVP, client success. In 2012 she helped found the Women in Fleet Management  (WIFM)Task Force, an avenue to provide women in fleet leadership with resources and opportunities for personal and career development. WIFM is now aligned with AFLA.  

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Joe LaRosa
Bristol-Myers Squibb/Merck & Co. Inc. 
Joe LaRosa, served as the director, global fleet services for Merck & Co. Inc. was a pre-2000 pioneering manager with global fleet management responsibilities. In 1999 he was named associate director global fleet for Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he managed a global fleet of approximately 14,000 vehicles. 

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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.

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Arthur Liggio
The CEI Group / First Advantage / Driving Dynamics
Arthur Liggio has dedicated more than 30 years to the fleet industry. He began his career in insurance and risk management and now serves as the CEO and president of Driving Dynamics. He has been guided by a passion for elevating awareness and improving the capabilities of all drivers on the road and with a focused commitment to helping organizations greatly improve their fleet safety performance.

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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.

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Russ Cass
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 up it’s new national fleet department.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kevin McGrath
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.

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Bob Berke (Deceased)
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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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 a fleet and travel manager. Croze served as  The CEI Group’s western region sales manager from 1991 to June 2018.

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Jim Piccoli
Chapman Auto 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 salesperson. 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.

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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.

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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.

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