Debbie Mize, the long-time corporate services manager, fleet and relocation for Hallmark Cards Inc., retired on Nov. 30, culminating a 43-year career with the company, where she managed the corporate fleet since 1987. Prior to her retirement, Mize was one of the longest reigning fleet managers in the industry.
During her career, Mize was recognized for her many contributions to the fleet industry. In 1995, she was named Automotive Fleet's Professional Fleet Manager of the Year.
"Winning the 1995 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award increased my credibility at my company and recognition within the industry," Mize said. "My career was greatly expanded with additional responsibilities; the largest of which was our corporate travel and relocation programs."
Mize began her fleet career in 1977 at Hallmark Cards working with Helen Bland, who was the fleet manager at the time. Bland was one of the early female pioneers in fleet management and was the first woman named president of National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) in 1985. When Bland retired from Hallmark in 1987, Mize assumed her fleet responsibilities.
Hallmark is a long-time company-owned fleet. Mize managed a fleet that varied in size over the years from 1,600 to its current 400 vehicles. Mize supervised a staff of four people.
Mize was heavily involved in NAFA, holding all NAFA chapter officer positions.
In addition to receiving the NAFA Outstanding Chapter Service Award in recognition from her work with the NAFA Mid-America Chapter, she also served on the national NAFA Board of Trustees and was the national NAFA Education chairperson. During her term as Education chairperson, the association’s educational seminars were completely restructured to better serve the educational needs of NAFA members.
In addition to her involvement with NAFA, Mize was very active with the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) and served on its Board of Directors and was the long-time AFLA treasurer. Besides being active in industry associations, Mize also served on the Ford Fleet Advisory Board and the Chrysler Fleet Advisory Board.
In 2012, Mize was inducted in Fleet Hall of Fame.
Mize said one of her proudest personal achievements during her career was earning an MBA degree maxima cum laude while working full-time at Hallmark.
When asked what advice she would give to newly appointed fleet managers, Mize said: "That is an ever-changing industry. I feel very fortunate to have had the national experiences and exposure which have greatly increased my knowledge and also resulted in many wonderful friendships. There were many opportunities both at the local and national levels.
"My advice to someone starting in fleet would be to join industry organizations and take advantage of any volunteer or learning opportunities," Mize said. "The knowledge and satisfaction you receive back is unbelievable."