From left to right: Abe Stephenson, fleet and administration manager, DISH; Erin Gilchrist, director of fleet, Safelite AutoGlass; and Lee Jezek-Pierce, director of fleet and heavy equipment, Nutrien Ag Solutions.
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From left to right: Abe Stephenson, fleet and administration manager, DISH; Erin Gilchrist, director of fleet, Safelite AutoGlass; and Lee Jezek-Pierce, director of fleet and heavy equipment, Nutrien Ag Solutions.

The three finalists for the 2019 Edward J. Bobit Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award include Lee Jezek-Pierce, Abe Stephenson, and Erin Gilchrist, Automotive Fleet magazine has announced. A judging panel will decide the winner.

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

The winner of the award will be announced during the 2019 Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) Conference, which will be held Sept. 15 to 18 at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.The award is presented by Automotive Fleet and sponsored by Wheels Inc. and AFLA. 

Director of fleet, Safelite AutoGlass -

Director of fleet, Safelite AutoGlass

Erin Gilchrist, Director of Fleet, Safelite AutoGlass

  • Total vehicles: 8,505
  • Staff supervised: 4
  • Years with current fleet: 13 
  • Years in industry: 13 

Notable achievements

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 million in savings and reduced gallons consumption by more than 5 million.

The discovery, review, piloting, and implementation of a telematics program at Safelite has been one of Gilchrist’s top fleet successes. 

The program has been successful in the areas of reductions across all KPIs to include fleet cost per mile and mobile customer served, gallons, fleet cost per vehicle, and has improved discipline, innovation, and driver engagement in tangible ways. 

Director of fleet and heavy equipment, Nutrien Ag Solutions -

Director of fleet and heavy equipment, Nutrien Ag Solutions

Lee Jezek-Pierce, Director of Fleet and Heavy Equipment, Nutrien Ag Solutions

  • Total vehicles: 15,000
  • Staff supervised: 9
  • Years with current fleet: 1 
  • Years in industry: 19

Notable achievements

Pierce has managed the largest fleets in multiple industries and is now in charge of approximately 70,000 assets (vehicles and heavy equipment). In her new role, less than a year, she has already made an impact on the way her organization does business. 

She is restructuring fleet, moving from a decentralized model to centralized, demonstrating leadership and cost savings opportunities. She has identified millions in opportunities such as streamlining ordering and sales processes. In addition, she has worked on cleaning up the IRP processes and payment method for fuel and maintenance to achieve TCO. She is also leveraging size with vendors to establish strategic partnerships going forward.

In previous roles, she was able to leverage fuel and telematics data to create operational efficiencies and drive out excess cost. 

She is a member of the Commercial Sounding board for General Motors.

Fleet and administration manager, DISH -

Fleet and administration manager, DISH

Abe Stephenson, Fleet and Administration Manager, DISH

  • Total vehicles: 3,700
  • Staff supervised: 5
  • Years with current fleet: 12 
  • Years in industry: 12

Notable achievements

Stephenson finished 2018 with a 10-year downward trend in fleet costs per mile, representing over $100 million of cost avoidance over that period compared to peak cost per mile. 

Vehicles with after-market collision avoidance technology are now at 75% of the total fleet and have reduced total incident rates by almost 80% compared to vehicles without the technology. 

He worked with vehicle OEMs, upfitters, and transportation providers to address order-to-delivery issues removing weeks, to months, of delivery times while staying cost neutral.

Previously, 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. 

He also was named as one of Automotive Fleet’s Fleet Visionary Honorees in 2016.

2019 Fleet Manager of the Year Judging Panel

Active Past Winners (Below are their current positions)

Debbie Mize (1995), Hallmark
Susan Miller (1998), Geotab
Patsy Brownson (2001), Consultant
Jim McCarthy (2005), Siemens (Retired)
Lynda Dinwiddie (2007), LabCorp (Retired)
Joe LaRosa (2008), Consultant
Christy Coyte Meyer (2009), Adient (Retired)
Mike Sims (2010), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Theresa Belding (2011), Allergen
Lee Miller (2012), Boehringer Ingelheim
Gage Wagoner (2014), Philips Electronics
Brenda Davis (2015), Baker Hughes, a GE Company
George Survant (2016), NTEA
John Dmochowsky (2017), Mondeléz International
Phil Samuelson (2018), USIC

Dealers

Russ Cass, Hawk Fleet
Rick Nicoletti, Napleton Group

Manufacturers

Ed Peper, General Motors
John Ruppert, Ford 
Frank Dankovich, FCA US LLC

Fleet Management Companies

Dan Frank, Wheels Inc.
Bob White, ARI
Jay Forbes, Element Fleet Management
Greg DePace, EMKAY
Tom Callahan, Donlen
Matt Dyer, LeasePlan USA
Robert Singer, Merchants Fleet
John Wysseier, The CEI Group
Bob Martines, Corporate Claims Management (CCM)
Scott Mawaka, Fleet Response

Media

Sherb Brown. Fleet Financials
Mike Antich, Automotive Fleet

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